Tis the season for the home food event of the year. Guests enter a stunning scene of almost-like-magic food and gifts before them. Here are two simple but handy tips we learned over 2020 Christmas!
It’s the mantelpiece in between tall, slow burning candles. You want a bold, heavy statement to hold down your table. Two words: whole, and stuffing.
Let it be whole
Whether it be a whole turkey, big fish, or ham , leave ends untouched for show. For Christmas this year, I did a whole baked pumpkin as a vegan option. I cut a few inches off the top with the stem, so I could get inside the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and membrane. But I kept & cooked both parts, body and head, so that I could piece them back together for the grandiose picture.
There’s the main protein - the whole turkey, big fish, ham or veg. And then there’s the main protein with stuffing. It’s the adult version of a kinder surprise, or a piñata. As we wind down from work and duties, add awe to the festive feast by cracking the main open with creative stuffing inside. Think back to your favourite flavours, textures and memories of Christmas, and layer it with filling carbohydrates.
For the whole pumpkin, I made a stuffing of sticky-sweet dried cranberries and flaky roasted pistachios, mixed with red quinoa and baby spinach. Make it personal. Pistachios remind me of Christmas because there’s always a bowl of them going back to my parents for dinner, but replace these with ingredients that personally make you excited for that time of the year. Quinoa comes in an array of colours but the red brightens up the theme, along with the greenness of the baby spinach.
What are your gift-giving habits like? Try and make it more personal - you’re more likely to spend less and have more fun doing it.
Write a meaningful note
Take the time to sit down, think, and write (good) things you would like to say to this person. Often beautiful snippets of thought or moments are left unsaid in our heads, so say them out to the person they’re about.
Throughout the year, keep notes on your phone when a personal gift idea comes to mind for someone special. Or buy throughout the year and save it. A handmade ceramic plate or artisan food jar from an out-of-town market is much better than a panic-driven shop a week before Christmas.
Ask yourself, what can I give to make this person happy? What can I give especially to this person? Each relationship is unique, and from knowing a person differently to others, you have the power to give a unique trinket of thought and appreciation for this person.