Christmas can be pretty full on so here's some handy tips from our food editor Di to get you through the festive season like a pro!
Top Tips for decorating a festive ham
- Score the ham in a diamond shape. Ensure to use a sharp knife and cut only through the fat layer.
- When scoring the ham in a diamond shape you can place cloves on the intersecting points of the ham. Do this before glazing and if any fall out, then put fresh ones in before serving for presentation.
- You can disguise the shank end of ham bay leaves on a string. Recipe for decorating shank.
Top Tips for butterflying a turkey
- Ensure the turkey is fully thawed before butterflying.
- If your turkey is wet, ensure to pat it dry (including the cavity of the turkey) with a paper towel.
- When butterflying a turkey you must ensure you use sharp scissor.
- Cut out the excess fat on the inside of the turkey, usually underneath skin of the neck.
- If the bird is not sitting flat in your baking dish you can thread metal skewers through the drumstick and wings on either side.
Top Tips for making the perfect pavlova
- Ensure to use eggs at room temperature that aren't too fresh.
- Separate eggs individually into a clean bowl before transferring to the main bowl to ensure no traces of egg yolk are present. The smallest traces of yolk in the meringue mixture will affect the volume of the meringue.
- Your mixing bowls must clean and free from any fat deposits – glass and plastic are good.
- Always use caster sugar rather than granulated sugar as it dissolves into the beaten egg whites more easily.
- Cook on conventional not fan bake oven for best results.
Top Tips for making a great trifle
- Ensure that your sponge or ladyfingers are soaked well so that it is nice and moist (and not dry!).
- The best alcohol to use in a trifle is sweet white wine, sweet sherry or limoncello.
- You can make the trifle a day or two before but ensure to add the final touches (cream and decorations) on the day you will be serving it.
- Ensure to not overwhip the cream. It should form soft peaks.
- If you are adding hazelnuts to your trifle, the best way to roast them is to lay them out on a baking tray and pop them into a 200°C fan bake oven for 10 mins. Allow them to cool before rubbing the skins off between the palms of your hand.
- Could do individual trifle, glass single serve dish or parfait dishes.
- Picnic – serve in plastic container and take it with you.
Top Tips for Easy Breezy Summer Drinks
- Dip the rims of your glasses in lemon juice then caster sugar before filling with your favourite soft drink or champagne and orange juice.
- Having frozen lemon and lime cubes is really handy as you can add it to drinks for a bit more fizz.
- Finish decorating your drinks with a mint leaf.
Top Tips for Cheeseball combination ideas
Mix it up and try some unique combination ideas for your next cheeseball:
- Replace gherkins with sundried tomatoes and chopped black olives or even finely chopped pineapples pieces.
- Gherkins and sundried tomatoes make a delicious flavour combination.
- If you love cranberries, soaking some dried cranberries in pineapple or orange juice will plump them up and they taste delicious in a cheeseball!
- Try chopped pistachios or chopped parsley for a festive look.
- Chopped toasted almonds are perfect for cheeseballs too.