November is a great time to invite friends for a casual lunch. This doesn’t need to be a four-course affair. Just a simple main, or a hearty, healthy salad, followed by a sweet treat or two such as festive mince pies and Christmas cake.
The more you can prepare the night before the better. If you’re serving a glass of pre-lunch wine — there’s nothing more appropriate than a good rosé — then a nibble such as cheese pastry wrapped around pitted olives and baked makes a great accompaniment. (Prepare ahead and freeze.) Or serve olives drizzled in a little orange juice and cumin seeds and quickly warmed in the microwave.
An alternative festive beverage is a wine punch. Combine half a bottle of medium white wine — think pinot gris or a light chardonnay — one cup of pineapple juice, a quarter cup each of brandy and prepared raspberry tea (or similar) and chill overnight. Just before serving add ice cubes and a punnet of sliced strawberries. This serves about four to six people.
Dressing the table is essential. I like to cover our rather rough 14-year-old square outdoor table and in keeping with the fashion for flowers this season I’m using an old Queen-size pastel floral duvet cover. It’s squarish and looks amazing when topped with white china, chunky white candles and a big bowl of white daisies. #Recycle.
This simply super salmon can be prepared and cooked a day in advance. I love it! Serve with a crisp green salad and small boiled potatoes. Check out the new piccolos bite-size medley. Get the recipe
Stand the quartered tomatoes in a sieve to drain a little. Best served shortly after cooking although it may be baked a day ahead then reheated in a 160°C oven. Get the recipe
Serve with grilled bacon, sliced fruit and maple syrup. Prepare ahead and keep warm on a baking tray in a 100°C oven for up to 1 hour. The flavours are a nod to Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Get the recipe