A Christmas Buffet should look colourful and appetising. Whenever I plan a buffet I recall the adage “you eat with your eyes first” and try to make sure that the food is presented in an eye catching manner. I also experiment and try at least one new dish to keep my buffet exciting. Although mince pies are delicious how many of us get fed up with them before Christmas Day is here? I prefer to exclude the classic Christmas dishes from my buffets. Care needs to be taken to ensure that there is a variety of foods – so not too much bread or pastry. Here are a few items taken from my latest Christmas buffet.
Chocolate Bites with Toasted Hazelnuts
These canape size chocolate bites are just the right size to pop in your mouth. They are quite rich but very tasty. This recipe makes 30.
This cheesecake is made with mascarpone cheese; topped with raspberries; and has a crumbed ginger biscuit base. It is quite a light dessert and simply delicious. This recipe cuts into 10 servings.
Fruit Christmas Tree
Although this tree takes a while to put together, it is a simple idea that adds height to the buffet table and can look quite spectacular. Guests invariably comment on it! Click here to find out how to make one.
I must confess that I tend to include cheese that I like in case there is any leftover! Just remember to include some colourful cheeses and different shaped ones. Click here for details. To garnish the board I have used red and green grapes, gherkins, pickled onions and basil. Sometimes I use celery and radishes – in fact it can be garnished in many different ways. Alongside the cheeseboard I have French bread and butter, and cheese biscuits.
Trio of Dips
Dips tend to be popular on buffet tables, and these home-made dips are easy to make and taste so much nicer than shop bought ones. These dips can be made the day before and placed in the fridge until you need them. The Salmon Dip is made with fresh salmon and garnished with fresh tarragon. The Cheese and Chive Dip is a popular shop bought dish, but the home-made version is better! And finally, the Liver Pate Dip– this is made with Ardennes Pate and Greek Natural Yogurt and is simply delicious.
I placed the three dips on a stainless steel platter and garnished with lemons. You will see from the photograph that I put breadsticks in Knickerbocker glasses to give the dish some height, and filled the platter with blinis and tortilla chips for dipping. In a separate dish I cut crudités of carrots, cucumber, celery, tomatoes and red pepper, which were also used for dipping.
If you are entertaining friends or family, then it is imperative that you enjoy the occasion yourself and don’t spend too much time cooking once your guests have arrived. I tend to warm up a few dishes before my guests arrive and offer a few bites on salvers, and then let everyone help themselves from the buffet table. I also give my guests drinks on arrival but then let them help themselves. You need to ensure that you are not too tired to enjoy the occasion! When planning the Christmas Buffet make sure that a large number of the dishes can be prepared in advance, or at least partially prepared, so that you are not rushed or stressed by the time your guests arrive.
Happy Entertaining and have a wonderful Christmas.