dining, entertaining

Whatever you’re planning in the kitchen this Christmas – whether it’s a casual lunch or an all-out family feast – HelloFresh Australia Founder and CEO, Tom Rutledge dishes out his top tips for foolproof and stress-free entertaining this silly season.

1. Plan ahead
Before you do anything, spend a little time coming up with a menu and a plan of attack.  Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself, make a note of what can be pre-prepared, delegated or outsourced.

2. Question tradition
Don’t be afraid to mix things up a little, perhaps you could trade in the turkey for seafood or swap the traditional pudding for panettone. Whatever you decide, it’s always a nice idea to put your own twist when crafting a Christmas feast to keep things interesting.

3. Place your orders early
While it is always nice to waft about the local shops a couple of days before you’re due to entertain, to see what inspiration comes your way – chances are you simply won’t get what you need!  If you’re after a turkey or a particular type of ham, order one from your local butcher early. The same rules apply when ordering large quantities of seafood or even baked goods. Simply ring ahead a week or two earlier to make sure you don’t miss out!

4. Hamming it up
It may sound strange, but when you’re buying a ham, be sure to request the left leg. The muscle tonality, predominant right-footedness, and the scratching habits of pigs’ right leg means that the idle left leg has a better fat distribution and flavour than the active right one. You heard it here first!

5. Divide and conquer
If you’ve got a hoard of relatives coming over for a meal, take them up on their offer to bring something along.   Rather than leaving the choice up to them, politely offer something they could bring from your pre-planned menu.  A well planned menu will be easy to divvy up and will leave more time for enjoying some well earned catch up time with your guests.

6. Assemble, don’t cook!
There’s no point being tethered to the stove while your guests are emptying stockings and glasses of Pimms with equal vigour. Do as much of your preparation the day before as possible.  There is so much that can be done prior, from the glazing of the ham to marinading of the prawns, leaving you with more time on the day to celebrate.

7. Outsource
If it all seems like more hassle than it’s worth, outsource!  You can buy things in all stages of preparedness or even in kits that take much of the legwork out of the planning and shopping. Naturally, in a shamelessly gratuitous plug, I can recommend you to www.hellofresh.com.au for our gorgeous gourmet Christmas Box!