Christmas is the time for enjoying friends and family, not stressing over whether your pavlova will crumble or the ham will burn. Culinary whiz Simmone Logue, offers up her top tips and recipes for a stress-free Christmas lunch!
If anyone knows how to whip up a fabulous meal in next to no time, it's Simmone Logue! With over 20 years in the culinary industry, and a food philosophy that centres around fresh, homemade and spontaneous produce, Simmone is an expert on the art of entertaining - whether it's an intimate meal with family and friends, or catering for a corporate cocktail party of 500.
Here are her top tips and recipes for a stress-free Christmas lunch!
1. Be realistic
The first thing you need to do to make Christmas a breeze is to be realistic about what you can achieve – and not leave everything to the last minute. After deciding your menu, try and do as much as possible before the day. “Taking the heart-ache out of Christmas entertaining is easy really,” says Simmone. “Make your lists and start getting organised a week in advance."
2. Keep it simple
Don’t be tempted to try new recipes or get over ambitious. “Never try and perform culinary acrobatics at Christmas time as it's stressful enough.” Instead, keep it simple so you can actually enjoy the time with your family and friends.
3. Recruit help
Don’t be scared of putting your guests to work! “Recruit a few friends or family members to spread the workload. Many hands make light work."
If you start to get stressed, Simmone suggests remembering the real reason everyone is there. “Take time to stop and remember Christmas holidays is about relaxing and spending time with the people you love.”
“Have a couple of pass-around goodies that you can prepare well in advance - say a couple of days before - then just throw them together at the last minute,” says Simmone. “My trout rillettes on toasts with pickles, onion and capers are great, because all the components can be done and you just pop the rillettes on the toast and serve.
Another great canapé of mine is my seared scallops with green mango salad and nam jim."
For a fresh tasty salad, try Simmone's kale, green pea, faro, mint and feta salad.
6. Set the scene
Don't forget about your table. “Dress your table a day or two ahead. It’s so lovely to take the time to make it beautiful with all your lovely glassware and napery, and then all you have to do is place some fresh flowers in the centre and you're done.”
7. No fuss mains
For a no fuss Christmas main, choose something you can prepare well ahead of time. For this, a ham is perfect. “My orange, seeded mustard and thyme glazed ham is a cracker, as you can score and prepare the ham and glaze days ahead. Then on the morning before your Christmas lunch, you can just pop it in the oven and your home will have the aromas of Christmas wafting through. It's so delicious warm out of the oven."
8. Get creative
If you’re entertaining guests in the days after, then get creative with your leftovers. "There are great things you can do with leftover ham in the holidays, so I always order a bigger ham than what I require on the day, as late night toasties, carbonara, and quiche lorraine is a great way to roll for a week or two after the event," says Simmone. “Just soak a cotton pillow case in vinegar and water and put your ham inside and refrigerate. It will last for a good two weeks.”