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10 Christmas Essentials To Impress Your Guests! Christmas would not be Christmas without these taste bud tantalizing festive foods.

Forgetting to bring them to the table during the festive season would be like forgetting to pick up your kids from school – inexcusable! Make sure your home is fully stocked with as much of these treats as possible.

1.Turkey – traditionally eaten as the main

course of Christmas dinner in much of the world, since appearing in England in the 16th century. Turkeys are vast in size so make sure you leave plenty of cooking time and slow roasting is best for maximum tenderness. My mother always used to be up at the crack of dawn to get that turkey in the oven and she would often go back to bed after! It is however not worldly recognized as the tastiest of birds. It depends how you stuff ’um. 2. Stuffing – realistically without the element of stuffing your turkey is going to score a very average score. Stuffing gives the flavour a totally new dimension and also gives moisture to your mouthfuls. The physical activity of stuffing can seem uninviting but laugh along the way and you’ll be without many problems. For turkey, pork, sage and onion are commonly used but if you want to be a little more adventurous something like, chestnut, walnut and fig is a delicious festive combination. Also apricot and sausage meat bide very well together. 3. Pigs in blankets. – to translate; mini

chipolata sausaged wrapped in bacon. This is such a simple accompaniment to a roast Christmas dinner but they never fail to please. The majority of us love sausages and we love bacon too but when you put them together people go into overdrive with excitement! 4. Christmas pudding – sometimes also known as plum pudding or plum duff. When presenting your Christmas pudding make sure you dramatize the whole process with the setting alight of the warm brandy dressing. Make sure you have sweet creamy options to serve your puddings with; these may include things like brandy or rum butter, cream, custard and sweetened béchamel. Some people find the taste of the pudding very bitter so it is important the creamy sides are on the table. ‘M&S’ Christmas puddings are the tastiest shop bought variety if you want to skip the many hours of steaming at home. They cost around £10. 5. Cheese – the options are endless. Everybody suddenly goes mad for cheese at Christmas. Why wouldn’t they? It is the perfect way to carry on impressing even

when pudding has been cleared away. Wensleydale with cranberries or apricots is very popular at Christmas and is a personal favourite of mine. Stilton is also a great festive choice and also sparks the opportunity to make a great winter warming soup of broccoli and stilton. See page 16 for recipe. 6. ham – Every Christmas my mother receives a Ham for Christmas from her father. We slowly eat away at it over the weeks of the festive period. It is perfect for cold lunches with friends and family, just plate it up with salads and/or baked potatoes. No need for anything fancy, the taste of that ham will be your show stopper. We always get our ham from ‘Dukeshill’. They undoubtedly produce the most incredible tasting hams. I have never tasted better in my life but admittedly they come with a hefty price tag. I would recommend getting the festive glazed ham £39. It really does taste like Christmas. 7. Cake – the perfect Christmas cake makes for a perfect Christmas afternoon tea on a wintry evening. We all know that Christmas cake is not everybody’s favourite and some would prefer chocolate to currents! If you are a traditional Christmas cake fan then at least you know you won’t have to share it with your youngsters amongst the family. If chocolate is really your thing then ….. Produce a scrumptious alternative. For once I would suggest not making it yourself, shop bought Christmas cakes somehow always manage to be the moistest.

8. Mince pies – I don’t think Father Christmas and all of his reindeer would be very impressed if you forgot these cheeky treats! Making your own will score you the most brownie points, decent mice meat is widely available and leftovers make for a great bread and butter pudding mixed with apricots. 9. Brussel sprouts - its about time we filled ourselves with something healthy amongst this calorie packed list. The one healthy traditionally ate christmas food is widely hated by many, especially by children. We suggest you try to disguse them as baby cabbages like my mother used to do to me when I was younger. It seldom worked but at least there was somehting green on our plates! 10. Mulled wine – nothing gets the crown merrier than this warm spiced beverage. It brings smiles to all faces because of its comforting abilities. You could say it tastes exactly like liquid Christmas and is such a lovely celebration of those traditional festive spices like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s a good idea to leave the mulled wine ticking over on a really low heat and just ladle some into glasses as and when your guests arrive. Jamie Oliver’s mulled wine recipe is ideal. And there you have your 10 things. Christmas is always a mad rush so remember to plan ahead with your cooking to avoid the dreaded burning of your food. Have a very merry Christmas and Bon Apetit!

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10 ways to impress guests as christmas