Food

How to nail Christmas…

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Assuming the good company box has already been ticked, the successful recipe for this to happen holds only one key: good food!

During my almost six years working in the hotel industry, I got to stalk on chefs, thinking I’d get savvy just by watching their determined, speed-of-light chopping hands when creating toothy magic on a shiny plate. I’d always ask them questions, hoping the knowledge would become suddenly contagious and my dinner would get cooked by itself when I got home. After all, I was one of those who owned only one saucepan, waiting for miracles to happen.

I remember one day, just a few weeks before Christmas, while on my way to meet a client for a site inspection (I was working for The Langham in Regent’s Street), I stopped by the kitchen to watch one of my ever favourite chefs, Cherish Finden, spread her wisdom onto her team: they were all working on a 2.5m long ginger bread and chocolate giant train shaped masterpiece a.k.a. hundreds of hours of slaving overtime for one royal piece…. It seemed such a smooth, uncomplicated talk (well, screeching at times) around this sophisticated, luxurious outcome which made my very euphoric and pretty confident self go home and try experimenting success on my own with a batch of gingerbread biscuits. Nonetheless, and despite Google’s almighty fixing tips on my first 3 ruined batches, I gradually gave up thinking I’d never feel at ease party hosting, entertaining guests with my inept cooking style that would forever be a nuisance…Until one day, when some clever, slick recipes in a box full of precise ingredients came along, and group cooking happened in the blink of an eye. Even the toddler joined the peeling, crushing and brushing made-easy fun: it was the HelloFresh box.

A few days ago I was lucky enough to be part of a rather cool gang gathered at the Fresh Farm (headquarters of HelloFresh) in Shoreditch. After stepping into what I can call a Pinteresty kitchen heaven (visual proof below!), we started cooking our own Christmas food. Who knew what a fantastic chef I suddenly become when I’m given a hot pan, an easy to follow recipe and the exact, fresh ingredients I need to nail a good looking dish! Having head chef Patrick Drake whispering secret tricks on how to master our fish cooking skills didn’t hurt either!

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Anyhow I have always been one of the curious ones who needs to know all about the origins of the food I choose to eat. I am the classic farmers’ market girl (hardly missed any of my Queen’s Park schoolyard markets on Salisbury Road this year, if you wonder how I treat myself on Sundays).

So where is the HelloFresh food coming from? The answer would be ethical and sustainable sourcing: they are open about all of their suppliers.

What is HelloFresh? Anything, but the opposite of mad shopping runs to the supermarket 20 minute before dinner time, and definitely less frustration than with the Ocado online orders where I, way too often, forget to get all I need for a successful Sunday roast or a Monday breakfast! There’s even an app to make your shopping journey easier and a flexible subscription to save you overspending while you’re away.

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Yes, cooking remains that one skill my own mother effortlessly mastered, but not me. Her smart hacks are always ruling the kitchen, yet even after 30 years of trying to break her ‘how to spread happiness on toast’ secrets, I find myself rather lost among thousands of online recipes and cooking books, covered in flour dust and greasy fingerprints. I simply didn’t seem to grasp this cooking puzzle! But it definitely got easier now…

COMPETITION

Motherhood made me value ease and quality and the HelloFresh brand is all about this. Here’s a great competition with a free 4-week box trial (worth approx £200) for one lucky winner to enjoy. Add your comment below with your favourite kitchen moment. That easy! (The winner will be announced on Monday, 5th of December 2016).

More amazing recipes on this gorgeous blog

So how to nail Christmas this year? Get your cooking homework done 😉

  • Terri T

    My favourite hilarious Christmas moment was quite a few years back when my inlaws were on holiday so could not be around for the festive season. They have left a family friend in charge of cooking Christmas lunch. He has never cooked in his life!!! YOU CAN IMAGINE THE RESULTS…food was just edible but the effort was incredible 😅

  • gaby

    My favourite moment was when I helped my mum make me my 10th birthday cake, shaped like a pineapple

  • Amy

    My favourite moment was having all my friends round for a great dinner party for the first time!

  • Lena Fishman/Koala Coach

    Reading this article really helped me to understand how my grandmother truly showed her loved through food. So much goes into special occasions. Thank you for the beautiful photos and helpful thoughts!

  • Sarah Bailey

    My favourite kitchen moment has to be pancake day in our first home together when I was showing my husband how to flip a pancake ‘properly’. A flick of the wrist and the pancake went flying into the air together with the frying pan – I was left with the handle in my hand and my husband in hysterics. Every year since I check the frying pan is in full working order before flipping 🙂

  • Cristina Hriscu

    My lovely moment in the kitchen was nearby by my kids and all family, listening the Christmas carol.

  • Svetlana

    My favourite moment in the kitchen was when I baked biscuits with my 2 year old daughter for the first time. I have never had so much mess while cooking but it was all worth it! Seeing her excitement when mixing the ingredients by herself and peeping through the oven door for the biscuits to be ready its all priceless.

  • Irene Arango

    My favourite kitchen moment has always been a morning preparing fresh pasta back in the day when I lived in Argentina… I can still clearly recall the smells of the sauces cooking behind me on the stove, rolling and kneading the dough having to stand to be able to put enough pressure to fold it, cutting the shapes for ravioli, making gnocci, spaguetti and many other types of pasta my memory has just left behind, the noises of the other children in the background, the cracking of the logs in the chimney, the amicable chat between the ‘cooks’ (all the amazing ladies in my life back then) and us, the little ‘helpers’…. oh the good old days… even that i was only 10 at the time it really does feel like yesterday. Many of them are now gone after (many) years, but they live on memories like this.

  • Ania Pawleta

    My favourite kitchen moment must be when my children are baking Christmas goodies! Especially our traditional Gingerbreads :)))

  • Sarah Torris

    My great kitchen moment was when I won a friends Come Dine With Me! Yey! I made a lovely morrocan lamb tagine, followed my lime jelly and then a white chocolate and passion fruit cheesecake! My finest moment!