Another great review from Nuzy. Nuzy Sayani is Catwalkschoolgates’ new contributor. Nuzy lives in Marylebone with her husband and seven year old son. She works full time as a lawyer and loves the theatre, cinema, is an avid reader and likes nothing more than trying out new restaurants. Nuzy will be sharing her dining experiences with us and would love to hear from you with your recommendations.
With the glorious Indian summer that we have enjoyed, the festive period felt like it was a long way off. Christmas also coincides with my busiest time of the year at work, so when Waitrose invited me to their recent Christmas preview event, I thought it would be a good way to get myself organised.
This event is the first one that Waitrose has held at its Cookery School in London on Goldhurst Terrace in NW3. We were welcomed with a glass of fizz and invited to sample a wide array of sweet and savoury delicacies all beautifully displayed.
The evening started with Olly Smith, the gregarious wine expert, giving a demonstration of his favourite Christmas cocktails and a selection of wines to accompany the festive feast.
I particularly liked his Winter Solstice cocktail (recipe below) that will appeal to those of you who like Campari and citrus flavours but tempered with the sweetness of Cointreau, orange juice and topped off with champagne.
A great cocktail to make and one that does not require much effort. Of the wines that Olly selected, the Moncaro Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi was elegant and rounded and I will be ordering some. A total bargain at £5.99! In our house we usually have poultry and beef so Olly recommended the Porcupine Ridge Syrah from South Africa as a good all rounder.
With Olly Smith, as lovely in person as he is on screen
After all that hard work, it was time for some more food and we were treated to Waitrose’s new range of hot canapes. This is one area where Waitrose has really improved its choice. I always have good intentions of making canapes at home but they are fiddly so I do tend to buy them.
The selection was mouth-watering and my mother and I enjoyed the hickory smoked mini beef burgers on crostini, paneer and coriander bites, spiced lamb cigarellos and the beef and red wine pies. The selection of chocolate cups looked enticing and I just about managed to resist them! I would recommend that you check out the canape range that should be in store from 2 December as they are great for parties or for a little pre-dinner treat.
The final demonstration was by Gordon, the head of the cookery school who gave us his tips for preparing the perfect feast. He was happy to answer questions and emphasised the need to plan and prepare in advance to minimise workload when you want to relax and enjoy the seasonal cheer. His top tip to me was to wrap your bird (the feathered kind) tightly in foil and allow it to rest upside down to let all the juices flow to the surface.
Mix in a cocktail shaker.
Pour into a champagne flute or tall glass packed with ice with a cheek each of fresh orange and/or fresh lemon with a dash of orange blossom water. Top up with chilled fresh orange juice (no bits) and champagne. Stir and serve.
Kit: 25/50ml cocktail jigger,champagne flute or tall glass, knife and board to cut cheeks of fruit, cocktail stirrer.
Check out the Waitrose website for the upcoming events.
I would love to hear your tips for great food and drinks so do send me your recommendations. Happy Holidays!