All posts in November 2019

The festive share table

Well, hello there Christmas! We knew you were coming but it’s always a bit of a surprise when December rolls around. Nonetheless, we love joining in the Christmas spirit here at Katering HQ. We’re like a team of Santa’s little helpers, but instead of lending old Saint Nic a hand, we’re here to make your festivities beautifully simple. Because, despite how much we all honestly intend to relax into the season, there is always a little bit of tension around the big day, particularly if you’re hosting.

Happily, there are plenty of little Christmas hacks that can limber up the merrymaking. As you’ll often hear us say, preparation goes a long way to relaxed entertaining. So, of course, the golden rules apply, such as to organise your menu well in advance, pre-make whatever you can (or leave that to us), and delegate tasks! Sure, you may be hosting, but that doesn’t mean you need to be cook, bar tender, and master of ceremonies all at once.

Actually one of our favourite ways to host Christmas is also one of the easiest. It’s the share table. Dispense with individual plating and fussing over portion sizes, and let everyone serve themselves. Not only does this style of entertaining look wonderfully abundant and generous, it also makes for a much more laid-back atmosphere – something that will always be appreciated when you have the entire family amassed in one room. The share table works as a relaxed sit-down affair, but you can even take it further and simply allow everyone to grab a plate and graze throughout the day. No need to set the table or worry about keeping Uncle Harry out of Nan’s earshot.

 

This long, grazing-style lunch is absolutely perfect for an Australian Christmas, especially if you’re dining outdoors. And because we love to eat like this ourselves, we’ve designed our special festive menus so they can be easily shared in this way. From a crisp-crackled roast pork loin to a show-stopping glazed ham and rustic tray-baked vegetables, everything can be sliced and arranged on a platter for guests to help themselves. In true Katering at Home style, each item on our savoury Christmas menu, Christmas seafood menu, and Christmas bakery and beverages menu are created to be hassle-free with minimal cooking, so you can actually spend the day with your loved ones, not with your oven.

We’re also big subscribers to the dessert table school of thought. Pile up a separate table with all your sugar-and-spiced goodies and let people graze until their sweet-tooths are sated. No second-helping shaming here! We have gorgeous little pudding bites, fruit mince pies, traditional pud, and a stunning trifle to help plump out the table. And why not continue the theme with a drinks station where guests can top up their own glasses, grab another beer or mix themselves a cocktail? We have four delicious cocktail (or make it mocktail) mixes that require no more than a shake, stir and splash of booze.

 

It’s all about minimal effort with maximum impact that everyone will love. And your guests will appreciate it all the more because they’ll get to share it with a relaxed version of you.

If we can flavour your festivities with a delicious shareable feast and a side order of simplicity, our job as Christmas helpers is done!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Kate and the Katering at Home team

Christmas cocktails

You just know it’s going to be a lovely get-together when you’re greeted by the host of the party with a delicious drink. This little entertaining trick is one of our all-time favourites and is actually quite handy when it comes to setting up the tone of a gathering. Being met with a drink – all the better if it’s alcoholic – is such a brilliant way to ease guests into relaxing and making casual chit-chat.

But we’re not hard task masters, we know come Christmas day the last thing you feel like dedicating time to is shaking cocktails, so we’ve done the mixing for you. We’ve crafted four incredibly delicious, summer-appropriate pre-made cocktails, which you can pop into your Christmas orders now. We’ve mixed up a delightfully sharp caprioska, a tres tropical pina colada, a refreshing lychee mojito, and a fun and fizzy plum and thyme prosecco smash. Of course, once we’ve turned the corner on Christmas ’tis still the season of entertaining, so these infusions will be available on regular weekly orders to perk up your summer party roster.

OK then, you have your bottle of cocktail infusion, what next? Well, because our Christmas gift to you is easiness (you’re most welcome), all you have to do is stir together the infusion with the required bottle of alcohol for each recipe, then throw some ice in a glass and decorate with the pretty garnishes we’ve supplied for you. It’s beyond simple. You could mix this all up before guests arrive and enlist a little helper to pre-garnish the glasses, so all that’s left to do is add ice and the chilled cocktail and voila! consider your party started.

We’ve thought of everything, naturally, and have included instruction cards, too (also below). You might consider setting up a drinks station complete with recipe card and a willing bar tender, then direct guests to the bar as they arrive. And for the pint-sized patrons, these kits can easily turn virgin, simply omit the alcohol and you have a tasty mocktail. Bottoms up!

Happy merrymaking to all!

Kate and the Katering at Home team

Raspberry Caprioska

Makes 15 cocktails (only make ½ for a smaller jug)

Shake the Christmas caprioska infusion bottle well and pour into a large jug. Add 1 bottle vodka, 700ml soda water and stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice, squeeze in lime wedges, a few raspberries and pomegranate seeds and top with caprioska mixture. To make this a mocktail, simply omit the vodka.

Pina colada

Makes 15 cocktails (only make ½ for a smaller jug)

Shake the pina colada infusion bottle well and pour into a large jug. Add 1 bottle rum and 600ml soda water and stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice, squeeze in lime wedges, and add a sprinkling of coconut flakes. Top with pina colada mixture and serve with a wedge of pineapple on the side of the glass, if desired. To make this a mocktail, simply omit the vodka.

Lychee mojito

Makes 15 cocktails (only make ½ for a smaller jug)

Shake the lychee mojito infusion bottle well and pour into a large jug. Add 1 bottle rum or 1 bottle vodka (depending on your preference) and stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice and a large sprig of mint, squeeze in lime wedges and top with lychee mojito mixture. Thread lychees on skewers and place in glasses to serve. To make this a mocktail, simply omit the rum or vodka.

Plum thyme prosecco smash

Makes 15 cocktails (only make ½ for a smaller jug)

Shake the plum thyme prosecco smash infusion bottle well and pour into a large jug. Add 2 bottles of proscecco and stir well to combine. Fill glasses with ice and add sliced plum and thyme sprigs to each glass. Top with plum thyme prosecco smash mixture. To make this a mocktail, simply swap the proscecco for sparkling grape juice.

Tips: All cocktails can be made one hour in advance and placed into the fridge ready for when guests arrive.

 

Gifts with heart

Giving is one of the most joyous elements of Christmas. Finding a thoughtful gift a friend or loved one will truly cherish and watching their delight as they untie the ribbon is the essence of the season. Yet the thought of Christmas shopping can elicit a subtle groan. Sometimes, and we’re all guilty of this, we become preoccupied with the hunt for ‘something, anything’ to tick off the list and throw under the tree. When did it all become about the purchase rather than the thought?

All this seems ever more poignant this year in light of the bushfires across the country. Imagine all those families who won’t be spending Christmas in their own home. Perhaps without their favourite pudding recipe, special crockery set, and heirloom decorations. Thinking about all those little Christmas traditions that are wrapped up in a sense of place – like that special bowl the potato salad is served in or the deck everyone retreats to after lunch – breaks our heart.

As we prepared to give to those touched by the fires, we started thinking about our own Katering at Home clientele, who routinely donate a nourishing meal to those in need. Often they give a food delivery to a new mum and dad, elderly relative or grieving friend. It’s a beautiful thing and it made us rethink our own Christmas gifting. So this year, we’ll be righting the wrongs of our gifts of Christmas past and making a return to thoughtful presents, and we encourage you to join us.

Of course, presents are still fun and exciting and there’ll be plenty of them under the tree, but this year, funnel some energy and time into the thought behind them. Rather than spend money on ‘stuff’, we could donate to a charity that is close to a friend’s heart on their behalf. We could teach our children to bake homemade gifts for their own friends and teachers. Or send a family in need a Christmas lunch through Katering at Home. Perhaps it’s someone in-between houses, with a new baby, or who could just do without the stress of cooking a feast this year? You could even gift someone a picnic with their favourite bottle of wine and treats you’ve handmade (naturally, we can help out there).

Because we’re all about thoughtful gifts this year, we’ve created some hampers to help. Our beautiful gingerbread kit is such a lovely way to get the oldest and youngest generations together in the kitchen. The kids and Nan can bake and decorate the gingerbreads to hang on the tree or to give as gifts. Our fruit mince pie hamper also makes a lovely present for teachers and classmates. And if you’re all thought-out for those tricky-to-buy-for people, our spice gift box covers all bases.

 

 

 

But perhaps the most thoughtful gift of all is simply time. It’s relatively cheap, easy to make, and there’s always someone who would just love to spend more time with you. After all, it’s the generosity of spirit that really matters at Christmas.

Happy gifting!

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