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Entertaining Tips

christmas-table

Bring the outdoors in for Christmas

October 20, 2016

I take inspiration from the seasons when I’m setting a table, and Christmas is my favourite time of year for this! I gather greenery, acorns, chestnuts, and holly, then buy pomegranates and citrus. Rather than a formal centrepiece on the table, I create a setting tablescape, with greens spilling across the table, interspersed with the fruit, baubles and other accents. It’s fun to do and not difficult, so go ahead and experiment a little. But remember to give yourself enough time – don’t start 20 minutes before guests arrive. When I do want to have...

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Smoked trout 0018

a word about hors d’oeuvres

October 15, 2016

My philosophy on starters (if you can call it that) is that they should set the tone for what follows but not upstage everything else. If you are having a sit-down dinner with lots of courses, it’s probably best to keep the hors d’oeuvre offerings down to a dull roar, unless you are going to have drinks for more than an hour before sitting down at the table. I suggest some fabulous olives, perhaps something a little different such as Arbequina, Niçoise, or Picholino olives to add some extra interest. Match these with a bowl of warm toasted almonds...

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The Essentials

September 20, 2016

If you want to make interesting variations on your old standbys without constantly running to the grocery store every time you pick up a cookbook, it’s essential to have a well-stocked pantry. If you do, you can be more spontaneous and adventuresome more often. Of course, not everyone has enough cupboard, fridge and freezer space to stock everything I’ve listed here. So you make the call according to your preferences and cooking style. I also encourage you to seek out vendors who specialize in particular ingredients and offer better, fresher and, possibly, more local product than...

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Party Tips: planning, prep & presentation

September 1, 2016

Entertaining at home is such a great way to connect with family and friends and slow down our frenzied world. For a meal that’s memorable, take the time to add some special touches, not only to your cooking but also to your table. Place cards, napkin rings and knife rests are extras that are often forgotten or just skipped. But I love arranging place cards on the table; it’s a chance to stop and think about where to seat guests in order to stimulate the best conversation. Also, place cards prevent that awkward moment when everyone arrives at the table and...

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