December is finally here and there is just a few weeks to go until the main event! We’ve been looking for ideas on how to entertain the family and friends with ease this year, so we caught up with resident foodie Simon Brown to get his tips on making things simpler when preparing your Christmas party…
“I love Christmas, but most of all I love entertaining at Christmas. I’m always in the thick of it when there’s a party or a special meal to prepare. It’s such a pleasure to see everyone enjoying themselves and tasting the food and drink I’ve made for them with friends and family. Over the years I’ve realised that there are two key ingredients to successful entertaining, especially at Christmas: getting organised, and giving yourself enough space to work in.
“The organising part revolves around writing things down for me, whether it’s a guest list, or a list of party food to prepare, or even a shopping list so that I don’t run short of a key ingredient. There’s nothing worse than a frantic supermarket dash just before midnight on Christmas Eve! I read all the recipes I’ll be using well in advance so that there are no surprise ingredients which I don’t have, and make a menu list for meals or parties, followed by a big shopping list. If I can order some of the food for home delivery through QVC UK then that’s a bonus!
“Space can be more difficult to arrange. Not many of us can just move to a larger house for Christmas (unless Santa’s particularly generous this year!) so I try to clear as much worktop space in the kitchen and around the dining table as I can. This makes preparing the food, and serving it effortlessly, much easier. I have a bit of a clear-out at the beginning of December and then I can see whether I’ll have the room I’ll need. It’s then that I usually realise that I need another table to prepare or serve food on, or even away from the kitchen, somewhere to set-up the computer to clear the dining table, or perhaps give the family a working space for homework or hobbies. This year I’ll solve these problems with the Folding Island.
“Since I launched it on QVC last year I’ve been amazed at how versatile it is, and how much easier life is when there’s somewhere to do things, but without adding yet another permanent piece of furniture to my already over-flowing house. Because the Folding Island can fold down flat and store in a 6” gap, it’s the perfect solution so I can store it out of sight under a bed or even under the stairs. It’s really sturdy too, so I’ve used it as a kitchen island, with my Kenwood mixer or my microwave standing on it, as a buffet or serving table by the side of the dining table or in the living room, and as a mobile bar (castors, y’see!). It’s also pressed into service for hobbies (the sewing machine can sit on it if necessary) and once in a while as a breakfast bar, since it’s the perfect height when sitting on a stool. Most people think it’s a fixed table on castors, since it seems far too solid to fold away, but then it’s all real wood and it’s beautifully finished, so it really looks the part. I love it!
I’ll be demonstrating the Folding Island Today’s Special Value throughout the day on Friday 4th December. Just in time for you to get organised for a stress-free Christmas too!”