It’s getting a little late to be making things from scratch for the Christmas table but that doesn’t mean you can’t go all out festive! I have guests arriving early this week for the holiday so anything I need has been ordered or prepared (and stashed in the tin, cupboard, freezer or refrigerator) or dispensed with. However, sometimes ready-made, delivered and unpacked, no-cooking-required edibles, can be made to look a million dollars in literally a few minutes. We’ve featured some before (also shown below) but added a few newcomers that will lighten the mood, bring gasps of awe and invite comment as if you had made the dish from scratch … take a bow and all the artistic credit for some of these face-savers!
Great for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles: Arrange black/ripe and green olives on a bed of rosemary leaves with drained sun-dried tomatoes, stuffed peppadew peppers and decorate with a few bay leaves for an edible wreath.
Buffet deli boards can be given the festive touch: Arrange, deli meats, cheese, olives, crackers and tomatoes with herbs in the shape of a Christmas Tree.
Be artistic with pizza or flat breads with toppings: Cut into wedges and spear with a twiglet to make instant mini Christmas Trees.
Great as a starter on a buffet table: Arrange goats’s cheese, quartered beetroot/beets, quartered figs and walnuts on a bed of rocket leaves. Drizzle with your favourite low-fat dressing and invite guests to tuck in.
A paper-lined tray makes a great hand-round server for cheese at a cheese and wine type gathering: Arrange different types with tomatoes and herbs as a tree for a festive look.
Perfect simple salad to serve with cold deli foods on Boxing Day or beyond: Arrange torn reduced-fat Mozzarella and halved cherry tomatoes on a bed of fresh basil leaves shaped like a wreath. Drizzle with a low-fat Italian dressing to serve. Make one large salad or several smaller ones as liked.
A Fruit Platter can be so eye-catching: Simply arrange apples, grapes, berries and currants as a tree – pre-cut and perfect for instant eating.
Use ready-made meringue nests to make a quick and easy dessert: Arrange ready-made meringue nests in a wreath shape then top as per instructed (recipe here)
Children and adults alike love a novelty marshmallow: Dip sugar-free marshmallows in sugar-free melted chocolate and decorate with candy eyes and nose, add pretzel antlers and a bow to finish.
Make a strawberry santa cake, or decorate a bought one with santa strawberries: Fill and top strawberries with low-fat cream as shown and decorate with a little melted chocolate or chocolate syrup.
Who can resist a Santa-on-a-Stick? Not me: Spear pieces of banana, sugar-free marshmallows and strawberries on sticks then decorate with Smarties (M & M’s) or candy buttons and chocolate vermicelli for faces.