You have managed to avoid it for the past 3 years, but now the time has come, you couldn’t avoid it any longer. You tried, you really did. You had your excuses all lined up. But they just didn’t fly this year. Time to just accept it and get cracking, there is no getting out of it – you are catering for Christmas this year. Arrggghhh!
Well, fear not, while I can’t promise I will prevent the odd inappropriate present, or the argument with your sister that has been brewing all year, but the one thing I can do is give you some great tips to avoid a catering nightmare this Christmas.
So, here are my top 10 tips for a successfully catered family Christmas:
Christmas Catering Tip #1
Set the table the day before and forget about it. Any additional time you can buy yourself on the day will result in fewer meltdowns! You want to spend your morning focusing on the food, not running around looking for those Christmas napkins you had left over from last year.
Christmas Catering Tip #2
In the same vein as the first tip, consider making dessert one or even two days prior. Something like fresh summer berries or mangoes with a scoop of decent shop bought sorbet can be a very easy and refreshing way to finish on a scorching hot Perth afternoon. Otherwise a high quality Christmas pudding is very easy to find from a good retailer.
Christmas Catering Tip #3
For larger parties always put your drinks on ice at least 3 hours before guests arrive. Warm beer will ruin any party! You need to give the drinks plenty of time to get down to temperature. Another handy tip to note is that when spending over $1000 many liquor stores in Perth will allow you to return any unopened wine and champagne by prior arrangement. There is no harm in asking right?
Christmas Catering Tip #4
Consider purchasing your glassware from Ikea. The glasses are good quality, are often cheaper than hiring and the best part is you and your family can use them over and over again! And let’s face it, you aren’t going to make it through the day without a breakage or two, so use some glasses that you won’t be too worried about.
Christmas Catering Tip #5
Ok, this one might be more relevant for a big New Year’s Eve party, but if you really want to throw a blowout bash for Christmas then consider hiring a bar person or enlisting the help of a trusted friend, or family member who owes you a favour, to clear empties and wash glassware throughout the party. Nothing worse than seeing an endless sea of empty beer bottles and glasses!
Christmas Catering Tip #6
Everyone is gluten-free these days. While that may be a slight exaggeration it pays to find out before the day if any of your guests have allergies or dietary requirements. Good organisation prevents culinary disaster!
Christmas Catering Tip #7
If you follow just one tip from this blog, I urge you to remember this one. Don’t use this occasion to try that new recipe you’ve been pondering. Stick to what you know when entertaining. Always. Seriously, I know it looks easy when Jamie Oliver does it on TV, but he does have a touch more experience than you. So play it safe. Please.
Christmas Catering Tip #8
Want to really impress your guests? Add a touch of class to your Christmas party and consider some basic arrival drinks like Cham Chams and French Martinis. They are easy to make for less than 20 people and recipes are readily available online. And remember Christmas Catering Tip #7 – as always – try it on yourself before your guests!
Christmas Catering Tip #9
I am pretty sure if you watch any of the cooking based reality shows on TV you will know this one. Use the best produce you can afford. Seems obvious however the difference between good food and great food often comes down to using fresh fruit and vegetables as well as freshly caught seafood. By swapping products like tinned asparagus and beetroot for the real thing you will really lift the quality of your Christmas catering.
Christmas Catering Tip #10
Some final words of wisdom. Never let your ambitions outweigh your capabilities. Entertaining in the festive season should be about relaxing with friends and family rather than panicking in the kitchen! While anyone wants to impress when catering for their friends and family over Christmas, just remember, they have not come for the food. They have come for the company.
So see how it goes, and hey, if it doesn’t work out so well, just give me a call and book me in for next year!