Food For Festive Entertaining
WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh
PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson
Sharing food is one of the most enjoyable parts of the festive season.
Sitting down with friends and family on the big day is very much the icing on the cake, but what about all those events that lead up to the big day? The catch up with friends, the after-work drinks and the one last champagne with the book club girls; all these small gatherings call for festive snacks. Now you know I am all about keeping within a theme, so all my snacks are wreath inspired! One savory and one sweet is enough for the pop in, so let’s get started!
Savoury Olive Wreath
Creating a shape for your antipasto is such a cute way of serving a savory platter to your guests. It is something that everyone can dig into, and you don’t have to clean a hundred plates! You can mix up the ingredients by including or omitting any items you like, the aim of the platter is to keep it all in a wreath shape. Accompany this tray with a selection of side plates, napkins and a gorgeous glass of bubbles.
What you’ll need…
- Parmesan Crisps
- Fresh chunks of parmesan
Using a circular tray to guide the way for making this wreath. Start with layering your rosemary, then evenly spread your ingredients through the wreath. Light crack some pepper over your wreath and serve.
Sweet Pavlova Wreath
A simple Aussie pavlova always hits the spot on a warm December day, and by using my stock standard recipe, you really can shape the base as creatively as you like. With lashings of whipped cream and raspberries
- 6 (59g) eggs, separated
- 1 1/4 cups (270g) caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 300ml thickened cream
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar mixture, sifted
- Finely shredded rind and juice of 2 limes
- 2 Ladyfinger bananas, thinly sliced diagonally
- 3 golden kiwifruit, peeled, thinly sliced
- 2 starfruit, thinly sliced
- Pulp of 2-3 passionfruit
- Preheat oven to 120°C. Line an oven tray with foil. Brush with melted butter and dust with cornflour, shaking off excess. Mark a 24cm-diameter circle on foil.
- Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, until meringue is thick and glossy and sugar dissolved. Rub a little meringue between fingers. If still "gritty" with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar dissolves. Add cornflour, vinegar, and vanilla and whisk until just combined. Spoon meringue onto the foil, using the marked circle as a guide. Smooth sides and top of pavlova. Use a small spatula to forms little peaks around the edge of pavlova. Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until pavlova is dry to the touch. Turn off oven. Leave pavlova in oven with the door ajar to cool completely. When completely cold, transfer to serving plate or store in an airtight container until required.
- Use an electric mixer to whisk the cream and icing sugar in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. Spoon cream onto the top of pavlova. Pour lime juice into a ceramic or glass bowl. Add banana slices and toss to coat with juice. Drain. Decorate pavlova with banana, kiwifruit, starfruit, passionfruit and lime rind.
But what about Santa?
It’s that last little job, right before bedtime, the one that could not warm your heart anymore if it tried. It’s putting the treats out for Santa! I loved watching my children do this; they took their job so seriously, really trying to work out what kind of snack Santa would like and how he had room for it all (he does eat at every home after all). It is such a beautiful tradition, so let’s make sure it looks as impressive as the rest of your Christmas decorations. But rather than leave out the carrot and glass of milk, go a little gourmet for old St Nick. A cake, a gingerbread house and some mince tarts will definitely spoil him.