Be the hostess with the most-est this Christmas with these brilliant festive tips from Mary Berry and Lucy Young taken from their gorgeous book, Cook Up A Feast.
* On a cold winter’s day there’s nothing lovelier than presenting your guests with a glass of hot mulled wine the moment they arrive.
* To balance your work load, serve a selection of hot canapés and cold party bites that you can prepare completely in advance. Allow 8-10 canapés per person and serve up to 5 different types depending on how many people you have invited.
* Don’t bring out the canapés until most of your guests have arrived and start with your most stunning party bite – just like the curtain going up at the theatre, this is your signal that the action is going to commence.
* For a Christmas party, decorate platters with holly and sprigs of heather tied together with swatches of tartan ribbon.
* If your canapé needs a cocktail stick we always pop the sticks in a separate container on the serving platter which looks a lot more appetizing – a shot glass is ideal. Serve dipping sauces in a separate bowl or ramekin and let guests help themselves.
* The right lighting will instantly establish the mood for your party. Candlelight is particularly lovely, lending sparkle and romance to any glamourous evening occasion. Place candles in clusters around the room, ideal spots for them are at the back (so they can’t be knocked over easily), around the hearth of a fireplace, and on a mantelpiece.
* As a sign that it’s time for your guests to go, serve them brownies or cupcakes in pretty, individual truffle cases.
From Cook Up a Feast, by Mary Berry and Lucy Young.