I love this time of year.
Here in Oz, Summer is just around the corner and the lure of long lazy days on the horizon. Yay for holidays.
Even though we don’t officially celebrate Thanksgiving here, I love the concept of this holiday.
When I lived in California, I really embraced it. Taking the time to get together with your loved ones and give thanks with a big feast thrown in.
What’s not to love about that?
But the holidays can come with their fair share of stress.
So I thought I’d talk about the 2 biggest mistakes most people make when it comes to entertaining. And of course my tips for avoiding them…
Mistake 1: Trying to do too much
It’s so easy to get carried away when planning a feast. Even though I’m a big fan of keeping things as simple as possible, especially in the kitchen, I still fall for this rookie mistake from time to time.
So what’s the solution?
Easy. Write down your menu. Leave it aside for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
Then read through and cut out anything that feels like too much effort. Be ruthless!
Mistake:2 Not allowing enough time
Things in the kitchen always take longer than you expect. Even for experienced cooks like me.
Again the solution comes down to planning. And being realistic and honest with yourself and realistic.
If you think you could do with some help in the planning department, I have something you might find helpful over here.
Here are some of my favourite recipes for entertaining…
1. Roast Butternut ‘Hummus’ – serve with flat bread or crusty bread or celery sticks.
Broad Bean Pesto – If it’s not broad bean season make it with frozen peas. Either way serve with crusty bread.
Succulent Slow Roast Lamb with Spicy Beet Sauce I love slow roasting meat because you end up with super tender meat AND it can be done ahead so there’s no stress about getting the timing right.
Amazing Glazed Ham – if you’re in charge of the main protein forget about turkey and focus on the ham. A glazed ham is super forgiving and you don’t need to stress about getting it cooked through because it’s already cooked. You just need to focus on getting it looking gorgeous and glazed. I make this every year and this year we’ve even cured and smoked our own ham but you don’t need to go to that much trouble. The other great thing about ham is that is tends not to be ridiculously expensive.
Pecan Crusted Sweet Potato – if you need to keep the vegetarians happy, this is the main course for you! If you have any carnivore guests I can guarantee they’ll want to try this too.
Onion & White Bean Bake – This will double as a side if needed.
Green Chickpea Salad – chickpeas are still one of my all time favourite foods. And this salad is no exception. Kale makes a brilliant ‘pot luck’ salad green because it tastes better after a bit of time marinating in the dressing, more than you can say for most regular salad greens.
Burnt Carrot Salad – This is still on high rotation in our house. It’s best if you toss everything just before it’s time to eat, so it is a little bit higher maintenance. But worth it!
Preserved Lemon Potato Salad – the preserved lemon makes this salad far more exciting than a regular mayonnaise-heavy potato salad. There are 2 other delicious potato salad recipes to choose from on this page as well. If there’s an Irish person among the guests you may have them pledging their undying love for you… don’t say I didn’t warn you ;)
Warm Salad of Roasted Cauliflower & Quinoa – also great served at room temp. Just keep the cheese in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Quinoa always gets loads of questions and compliments.
Rolls Royce ‘Slaw – One of those salads that can sit in the fridge as long as needed. Especially good at barbeques.
Roast Beets, Lentil & Balsamic Onion Salad – this one takes a little bit of effort to prepare but is super low maintenance after that. Great if you aren’t sure how long it will be before you eat.
Toblerone Ice Cream Cake – only make this if you know there will be plenty of freezer space. Guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Croissant Surprise Cake – I can’t tell you how many readers have contacted me telling me of all the compliments they’ve had after making this cake. Great because it will sit at room temperature for hours or is equally happy straight from the fridge.
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake – This cake is super easy and super rich. And it’s better if you make it the day before. Get ready for the recipe requests!
Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies – the salt makes them slightly unusual but apart from that they’re as good as cookies get. I love taking these to parties because they’re easy to serve and don’t create any washing up.
Like to overcome your entertaining mistakes?
To celebrate the Holidays this year, I’ve bundled together 4 quick online cooking classes.
* Stress-Free Entertaining
* Thanksgiving, Made Easy
* Make Your Christmas Merry
* Made with Love (Delicious Gifts Made Easy).
AND if you join today you’ll get access to all 4 quick classes for LESS THAN the price of 1.
To get all the details and make sure you don’t miss out on this LIMITED TIME offer go to:
ps. And if you’re interested in simplifying your life in 2015, the early-bird pricing for ‘A Simple Year’ ends 15th November!.
To make sure you don’t miss out on this really great program go to: