Easing yourself back into the hosting

by Mary McCarthy (elf name? Merry Mc!)

After two pandemic Christmases we are all out of practice with the hosting. 

If the thought of having people over sends you into a blind panic, relax – your pals are coming around to see you, they don’t really care if there is chaos all around.

But still, best to keep it simple ; no need to set yourself up to fail by hosting a three course dinner party the first time you open up your gaf in two years. 

At Christmas FM we have a very special guacamole recipe that’s a winner with warm pitta bread or those Blanco Niño tortillas. Made in Tipperary apparently.

You can’t go wrong with throwing some pecan nuts under the grill until they are toasted to perfection. 

Or if this all sounds way too virtuous you could just lash out some bowls of Keogh’s Roast Turkey and Secret Stuffing Crisps or their “Just A Pinch Of Atlantic Sea Salt’ ones for the veggies. 

And a glass of mulled wine gets everyone in a warm and friendly mood. With Christmas FM on in the background the festive feelings will be flowing.

The recipe from the Hairy Bikers’ 12 days of Christmas book has been tried successfully many times and roll out a non-alcoholic one too so everyone is kept happy.  

The BBC Good Food one is easy enough and she is damn tasty.

Christmas FM Guacamole (Enough for 12)

6 good looking, ripe avos 

Juice of one lemon

As much grated garlic and red crushed chillies as you dare

Half a teaspoon of salt but taste to add more if needed

Two vine tomatoes finely chopped

Half a red onion finely chopped

Half a bag of coriander roughly chopped

Mash the avos up with a fork in a bowl, add the lemon, salt, garlic and chilli. Chuck in the tomatoes, onion and coriander and give a good stir. Taste it and check if you need more salt or garlic. 

Best-Ever Mulled Wine (serves 10) 

4 satsumas

1 vanilla pod split length ways

8 cloves and 8 allspice berries

2 cinnamon sticks

3 star anise

3 bay leaves

300 caster sugar

2 bottles of red wine

200 ml brandy

Cut the satsumas into four and put them in a large saucepan. Add the vanilla pod, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, star anise and bay leaves. Stir in the sugar. 

Pour over the wine and brandy and place the pan over a low heat. Bring to a gentle shimmer and bubble over a very low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for one to four hours before serving to allow the flavours to blend. Heat through gently then strain and you’re ready to ladle her out.

Non alcoholic mulled wine (serves 10)

500 pomegranate juice (SuperValu stock this)

25 g caster sugar

Handful frozen blackberries

250 ml apple juice

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

4 cloves

3 black peppercorns

I orange quartered

Put the pomegranate juice, sugar, blackberries and apple juice in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, peppercorns and orange. Heat gently until simmering. Taste for sweetness, then strain into heatproof glasses.

Spread the Christmas cheer by sharing this 

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