I love the Festive Season! I love everything about it. The planning, preparing, gift buying and having my family and friends together.
In a recent post I wrote about 5 daily tips to take the stress out of the Festive Season, because this time of year can be stressful and overwhelming if you allow it to be that way. For me, I’ve learned to let go of perfection and enjoy the season.
As a blended family, I made the decision many years ago to have our family get together a week before Christmas. This allowed everyone to enjoy our time together and take the pressure off having to visit several places on Christmas Day.
On Sunday we hosted 10 adults and 7 children for the first time in four years. COVID and apartment living meant the last few years we had hosted Mike’s children and families and then spent Christmas Day with my side of the family. This year, we were able to host both sides and it was lovely for them to catch up as they don’t see each other much during the year.
I love entertaining and as a list girl, I’m usually pretty well organised. I find this helps take the stress out the process and also ensures I don’t forget anything.
We kept the menu simple and I tried some new ideas for nibbles and dessert that I had seen on Instagram and Facebook . They looked impressive but were so easy to put together that I wanted to share with you.
Easy entertaining for the Festive Season
This week, for the final Wednesday Words and Whimsey link up hosted by Min from Write of the Middle, I’m sharing two ideas for easy entertaining for the Festive Season. Be sure to visit Min’s site to say hello. The secret is planning and preparing as much before the event so that on the day it is just a matter of putting the finishing touches before the guests arrive.
A charcuterie board is a platter or board filled with a variety of cured meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, olives, bread, and other accompaniments. It is commonly served as an appetizer or a light meal, especially during gatherings or festive occasions. The board allows for a visually appealing and customizable arrangement, where individuals can create their own combinations of flavors and textures. A charcuterie board offers a delightful culinary experience, showcasing a balance of savory, salty, sweet, and tangy components. It is a versatile and elegant option for entertaining guests or indulging in a treat for yourself.
These boards appear to be the latest trend and a lovely way to present nibblies with pre-lunch or dinner drinks. This would also be ideal if you were having friends over for drinks only and so, so easy to put together.
What you need?
A board to create your masterpiece. I had been given a Christmas Tree shaped serving platter which was ideal but any serving platter will do.
You can use whatever you like. I’ve listed what I used below which included savoury items and fruit.
- Salami slices
- Cabanossi sliced
- Cheese – tasty cheese cut into cubes, a soft cheese like camembert or brie sliced
- Green olives
- Dried fruits – I used apricots
- Nuts – I used almonds and walnuts
- Fruit – I used grapes
- Something red for the festive season – I used roasted capsicum but you could use tiny tomatoes for example
- Rosemary for decoration
I made two – Christmas Tree shape and another just using a serving tray. This will give you an idea of how to put it together but you can use your creative flair and imagination to achieve your own look.
My time-saving Tip
The day before, I cut up the cheeses, cabanossi and made the salami slices and stored them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. This really saved me time and was just a matter of putting the boards together on the morning of the event. I then covered them with foil and stored in refrigerator until I needed them.
I had googled Salami Roses and found a YouTube video (several really) showing how to make the Roses which I found were quite easy to do. I’ve included the video for you and I can assure you they take no time to make, yet look impressive. I made them the day before and stored them in the refrigerator.
Make-your-own Pavlova Board
This was an idea suggested to me by my daughter, Rachel.
A pavlova board is a delightful and interactive dessert presentation where guests can create their own pavlova creations. Pavlova is a popular dessert that consists of a crisp meringue shell, tender on the inside, topped with whipped cream and a variety of fresh fruits.
With a pavlova board, you can create a stunning and interactive dessert display that allows everyone to customize their treat according to their preferences. It’s a fun and delicious way to enjoy the festive season with family and friends.
It was super easy to make and I took the pressure off by buying the pre-made meringue nests. You can make your own if you have time or inclination and here is a link to a recipe https://www.thefoodieaffair.com/individual-pavlova-nests/
The result looks impressive and everyone enjoyed putting this dessert together themselves.
What you will need
A presentation board or platter
Again you can use your imagination and creative flair. I used the following but really you do what you want and the ideas are endless.
- Meringue nests – I like the ones that have sides so you can add filling
- Fruit – I selected strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
- Flake chocolate sticks or any type of chocolate grated
- Whipped cream
- Thick custard
- Passionfruit sauce
- Chocolate fudge sauce
- Caramel sauce
You could also add some crushed nuts for example or sprinkles for the top.
Putting it together
Once you have all the ingredients ready, arrange them beautifully on the board, leaving space for guests to assemble their own pavlova creations. Provide serving utensils and let your guests enjoy the experience of building their personalized pavlova desserts.
I made two other desserts a baked Ricotta cheesecake which I will provide recipe for in a later post but you can try this Donna Hay recipe Lemon And Vanilla Ricotta Cheesecake | Donna Hay. I actually used light cream cheese and ricotta plus a sugar replacement so at least one dessert wouldn’t be too sugar laden!
Chocolate Gingerbread which I had made with my Book Club (yes a book club that bakes,) last week was also on the menu but would you believe I forgot to put it out!
Our Stunning Book Club has been meeting on line for a couple of years now and we read books from the Classics genre. Our discussions are always informative and lively and when we finish a book, we gather in our own individual kitchens, link up through Zoom and our resident baker and author Jo (Joanne Tracey) helps us make a recipe that would be relevant to the book we just finished. Be sure to check out Jo’s books – I highly recommend them!
So there you have some easy entertaining ideas for the Festive Season or for any event you are hosting throughout the year. You could do theme boards – the ideas are endless and are only limited by your imagination and creativity so go for it!