With the festive season just around the corner (the Christmas lights are already on people!), it's time to start planning your Christmas throw-down.
While everyone loves a hefty chunk of holiday cheer, some parties around this time can fall into a repetitive rut when it comes to celebration ideas. In the third installment of a four-part series, we'll be talking with entertainment experts on how to switch update tired Christmas trends top create a fun and festive soiree your friends will be begging you to host annually.
Now that we've given your home a Christmas look with a natural twist and ensured your drinks reception goes down a treat, we now turn to what we consider the main event - the food. Gareth Mullins, executive chef at The Marker Hotel shares his culinary cheats to make for a calm Christmas Day and what are the food trends for this winter.
My Favourite Seasonal Starter
A delicious starter is the Glendalough ?Gin and Tonic? Salmon, cucumber, Radish, Grapefruit, and Irish Crumb. It's simple, packed full of flavour and light enough to be the perfect introduction to your Christmas meal. I'll be'serving this dish on the 19th of November at the Contemporary Christmas?and talking guests through the very easy preparation stage.
Perfecting the Big Christmas Feast
The real key to a successful Christmas dinner - is being prepared, having what we call in the chef's world, your 'mise en place?, which translated means putting in place. Put together a food and shopping plan. You should start preparing your Christmas dinner a few days beforehand so that Christmas day does not become all about cooking all day long, Christmas day should be about putting the finishing touches in place.
Some tips for managing the mammoth cooking process:
?- Parboil your potatoes before roasting, the key is to then leave them cool on a wire rack and then roast in duck fat and rosemary, guaranteed to be the ultimate roast potatoes
?- Separate the legs of the turkey from the breast as these cook at different times
Making fresh cranberry sauce will really transform your Christmas dinner
?- Making fresh cranberry sauce will really transform your Christmas dinner - this can be done at any stage as it's essentially a jam, it's a preserve, so you could make it now and have one less job for Christmas day!
?- If you are making mash potatoes, always mash them first and then finish with cream and butter, and nutmeg if you want to be really festive! Adding cream and butter and then mashing is how you get lumpy mash!
Trends for Christmas 2015
Old school classics - we see this coming across more and more in menus, chefs are going back to a more simplistic approach but putting a lot of focus on the ingredients they use to make them. Everyone looks forward to their Christmas dinner so you want to make sure that you are not serving something people are going to be afraid of or hesitant to eat, you want everyone to enjoy their dinner but at the same time, make it that extra special so it's memorable because it is Christmas after all and you can do that with the old school classics.
Without giving away the menu, what will Gareth be focusing on Nov 19th? What can attendees expect?
What I will be sticking with this year are the classics, they are classics for a reason. What's nice about them is that they are so familiar - there is a certain comfort to them and if we use better quality ingredients and have a better understanding of how they are made, then we can make them more what would be classed as contemporary but still keeping with tradition, which is really what Christmas is all about.
So are you officially in the festive spirit now? Join Gareth, along with Sandra Murphy, food and drinks expert at The Marker Hotel, Ruth Monahan of Apassionata Flowers and?Alison Banton, Fragrance Designer, Brooke and Shoals, for an evening of seasonal celebrations with cocktails, a five-course meal and the inside track on how to make Christmas extra special this year.?You'll leave with notes, know-how and a luxury gift bag worth €200!