If, like more than two thirds of the nation, you're going to be hosting a festive get together over the Christmas period then you might want to check out a few top tips from fashion designed Millie Macintosh, chef John Torode, and coffee expert Hazel Middleton.
Millie’s top tips to create a great ambience
Think about lighting – luckily, we have a lot of different lighting settings in our kitchens, but candles and lamps can be used to soften a room. Mellow ambient music during dinner and then afterwards, I’d put on some more lively music. And finally, the smell of food cooking is also very inviting, so get something in the oven early!
John’s top kitchen must-haves
My go to food when hosting friends is anything in pastry, because it is easy and always satisfies everyone. Little pies, tarts, puffs, sausage rolls and those sorts of things always work because both adults and kids alike always love them.
Hazel’s Coffee Mornings
There’s nothing better than a coffee morning with a selection of great hot drinks, including cappuccinos and lattes and some lovely cakes and biscuits. Nothing compliments coffee more than a delicious slice of cake or a crisp biscuit. I like to bake my own cakes for coffee mornings, and this can be done the day before to avoid panic on the morning.
I have to agree with Millie's tips about candles & lamps, which I use a lot and if you use festive scented candles it definitely gets people in that Christmas mood. I also agree with John's tip about pastries, as anything encased in pastry is so easy to serve, as well as eat, at gatherings with a lot of people, and they can also be made in advance which is a must for me.
As part of the Tassimo Perfect Host campaign I was asked to get together with friends or family and host a meal or coffee morning. We decided to have a family get together, and bearing Millie's tips in mind, lit a few candles, put on some mellow music and enjoyed a family dinner (with a few games thrown in), followed by John Torode's recipes for Affogatto (kids had hot chocolate instead of espresso) with Shortbread Biscuits and Chocolate Brownie Cake (recipes below).
The brownies were amazing; so rich and chocolatey, and were very well received. According to Hanna they were possibly even better than 'Amy's Mums quadruple chocolate brownies' (sorry Claire), which means they must have been very good indeed. I left out the hazelnuts and whiskey and added extra white chocolate instead.
If you're going to be hosting a gathering then check out the Tassimo website on the run up to Christmas for more top tips, recipes and kitchen hacks from the celebrities.
This post has been commissioned by Tassimo