Christmas is Coming Home
After almost 16 months, we are more than eager and ready to meet up with our loved ones around the Christmas tables once again, so let’s make it a Christmas to remember.
Celebrity Chef, author and TV personality Ken Hom knows a thing or two about entertaining, as he is used to cooking banquets, but he has some useful tips on how to make your Christmas fabulous and stress free.
Ken Hom says; ‘Let yourself enjoy life, entertainment, and do treat yourself. But don’t stress. Here are my tips for entertaining simply but elegantly’.
He continues: ‘Some 20 years ago I was much younger I entertained extravagantly. My dinner parties would have a minimum of 12 people, and often many more, and I would cook no less than 12 courses each time. I would spend days preparing elaborate, obscure Chinese dishes. I had much more time then, and preparing those meals gave me great pleasure. Now I am older and a little wiser, and in the last few years, with a heavy travel schedule before lockdown and the pressure of a modern busy life, my style of entertaining has changed radically.
Now when I entertain, I usually have around six guests and often just three courses. I discovered that my friends enjoy these intimate dinners as much as my lavish spreads of the past. Here is how I entertain today, simply but still elegantly’.
When entertaining keep the following tips in mind:
▸ Invite friends you really want to see. Spending 3-4 hours at the dinner table with good friends is my idea of bliss. Remember: the conversation and the mix is almost as important as the food and wine.
▸ Make sure you know your guests’ dietary preferences, and provide an alternative to a dish if necessary. It’s important that everyone feels comfortable at the dinner table.
▸ Don't skimp, buy the best ingredients you can find and have good wines. This is vital, especially when you are only serving three or four courses. Also your chances of success are greater if your dishes are memorable.
▸ Don't attempt new dishes, always entertain with tried-and-tested recipes or dishes which you feel comfortable with. You don't need the additional stress of knowing whether the dish will be good or not.
▸ Avoid trying to impress your guests. I always think it is grander to make delicious simple food than to present pretentious mediocre dishes.
▸ Although I rarely use a microwave to cook, I have discovered that it does wonders to fish. It is as good as steaming the fish in the wok.
Give your dinner a few moments of thought before you plan it. All too often, home cooks plunge into organizing a dinner party without thought to the balance of the meal, logistics, etc. Think about how you would feel as a guest at this dinner. If your instincts tell you that the dinner will be good, chances are it will be.
▸ Start the evening with champagne, bubbles are always a festive start to any meal. It immediately puts everyone in a good mood. An important factor that will determine how the rest of the evening will flow.
▸ Finally, never panic. If something doesn't turn out the way you thought it should, don't mention it to your guests. Just patch it up as best as you can, smile, have another glass of champagne, smile and enjoy yourself!