Second to the décor is the food! Always have something to nibble on when guests arrive. They have often been driving for hours….and I always feel a drink and some hors d’oeuvres put everyone at ease and make them feel truly welcome.
It’s the start of the Holiday season so why not have a few bottles of champagne ready to pop when everyone arrives - it always gives the party a special feel and really makes it a proper occasion. (Don't forget the wine charms!!) Again, you will probably be drinking wine with dinner so nice to have some variety. You could also do a special punch or signature drink. In England, a lovely holiday drink is mulled wine…my mum has a "secret" recipe that I will share with you. It’s a bit of this and a dash of that and always amazing!
I always love a wonderful cheese plate with special cured meats. It’s also very different to the turkey you are about to serve so doesn’t make you feel like you have been eating/overeating the same thing all day. It’s quite simple to arrange and make beautiful…and our cocktail picks will instantly up the sophistication of your plate! Try to cover all types of cheeses, a hard cheese, a blue cheese, a stinky one (as my family call them) and something mild and easy for the children. My daughter loves manchego. I also put some delicious jams and relishes with them – Stonewall Kitchens Maple Bacon Onion Jam is amazing with most cheeses and crackers. And always pop some lovely, juicy grapes on there – they will always get eaten to the end! Our place card holders make lovely cheese markers and will add a little glitz to your spread!
And once you’ve made it this far everyone should be settled in, merrily awaiting the arrival of the star of the show, Mr Turkey!
Take some spices...cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise… mix with sugar, lemon peel, orange peel and orange juice to start syrup, then add some wine... let cook till all dissolved, about 5 min... then add rest of wine and heat but do not boil. Add dash of brandy and heat more. Something like that. Or just get Jamie Oliver’s recipe and borow most of that!! Cheers!