To The Hosts: Let Tesco Help You Make The Perfect Christmas

It’s definitely starting to feel like.. C H R I S T M A S!

The festive feeling kicked off for me earlier last month when I was invited to the Tesco Christmas Press Launch in 25 Fitzwilliam Place, hosted by the beautiful former Pussycat Doll, Kimberly Wyatt. 

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Kimberly began the day with a cooking demo of her favourite holiday treats and the evening continued at the Fitzwilliam Place venue afterwards. 

When I say Tesco went all out, I mean they went ALL out! The door was dressed with a beautiful wreath, garlands and glistening lanterns and as you arrived the host and hostess welcomed you in, took your jacket and invited you into the parlour for a drink..

You see, the house was dressed like a (quite luxurious) family home, the tree was standing over dozens of gifts and toys, a cozy sofa sat in front of a dressed fireplace, complete with a post dinner board game and even ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ played on the TV… there was so much to take in, there was something happening in every corner of the house, and enough food and drink to feed a small country! Tesco know how to host a Press Launch I tell you..! Jay Gatsby would have been proud! All of this, made possible with Tesco products.

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My favourite thing of the evening was the Prosecco Bar, who in their right mind wouldn’t prop themselves up on it for the evening? The cocktail of the evening was Tesco’s Prosecco with a dash of their Sloe Gin! Now this is something I never would have thought of doing, the Sloe berries giving the Prosecco a beautiful festive blush colour and a flavour to blow your socks off, it’s fruity and delicious! The glasses were garnished with strawberries but at Christmas I’ll use redcurrant for a festive look.

Upstairs, we had ‘The Good Room’ a display Christmas dinner was laid out, live music and lashings of chocolates, mince pies and cheese, canapé’s circulated the room too, all of which were Tesco’s own! 

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There is nothing I love more than playing hostess, I must admit I was one of the 36% of Irish people that finds Christmas overwhelmingly stressful, my first time cooking Christmas dinner was a battle but it worked out perfectly. I have nailed it over the last few years, learning how to organise myself and plan ahead but Tesco have made things extremely helpful this year.. Take their Bord Bia approved Irish ham fillet that is ready to cook, with mulling spices like Ginger, Pimento, Nutmeg, Clove, Cinnamon in addition to apples and oranges… delicious!


My Top Tip:

Remove saltiness by boiling your ham joint in water for thirty minutes before draining it and replacing the water with fresh water and spices, I also add a can of hard cider to the water for extra flavour, in addition to a pint of apple juice.

Remove the large fat cap after boiling and cut diamond shapes into the remaining fat, placing cloves into your incisions. Make a delicious glaze by combining a jar of marmalade with a glass of whiskey and a cup of  brown sugar, warming it in a saucepan until combined, paint it over the ham with a pastry brush. Place the ham in a 170° C oven and re-glaze every thirty minutes for 90 minutes, your ham will be a beautiful burnished golden brown and will taste amazing, I do this every year and it turns out wonderful!


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Brussels Sprouts Chocolates €3.99

I, like everyone else ,do over indulge at Christmas-we all do but I was amazed by the sweet treats they have to offer this year… the most genius has to be the chocolates that are disguised as brussels sprouts and new potatoes… Are there little pickers in your house that nibble on the treats while dinner is in the oven? These might help and they ACTUALLY look like vegetables!! Then there is their little chocolates with cocktail flavours of Bellini and Kir Royale.. Forget watching Willy Wonka this christmas,  standing in the sweet Isle at your local Tesco, you’ll feel like you’re in the movie!! Definitely something to load up on for the movies after dinner!
Did I mention they have a gluten free range of treats too?? Check it out!
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A selection of gluten free & dairy free treats so nobody is left out!

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Tesco Finest* Safari Collection Chocolates €7.99, a selection of milk, dark & white Belgian chocolates with follings of Pink Hilalayan Salt, Madagascan vanilla and other exotic fillings.

party_food-newTo me, a hostess provides plenty of food that will keep people talking for weeks and the Champagne flowing of course! There are plenty of delicious canape’s to choose from including a 2 for €6 selection of skewers, Asian finger food, delicious Brie & Cranberry Filo parcels (which I get every year for my Christmas Eve ‘Nibblies and Champagne’ without fail) you cannot go wrong! Use silver trays for immaculate presentation or serve on antique forks… failing that, they also stock disposable silver party platters so there’s no excuse not to look spectacular! Adding garnishes like olives, capers, parmesan shards and creme fraiche with chives will amp it up even more – your guests will think you have caterer’s in!

Tesco Platters

Regal Foil Platters, pack of three €4

Okay so if Filo Parcels and Champagne are not your thing, there are mini battered cocktail sausages, mini chicken Kievs, sausage rolls, loaded potato skins and chicken wings among a host of other delicious treats and refreshing craft beers for the boys at 4 for €10!

craft-beersI simply adore a glass of fizz at Christmas, it’s either that or Mulled Wine,  if you want a decent bottle of Prosecco that’s not going to taste cheap- after all it is Christmas, Finest* Prosecco at €18 a bottle offers  flavours of crisp apple, grapefruit and a hint of honey, which will compliment festive food beautifully! Why not mix it up a little too with their beautiful Finest* French Grain Vodka (€27) make some delicious cocktails, just like Grey Goose but not the price tag!croppedimage1180664-christmas-hub-prosecco


Anyone For A Cocktail?

A little Festive Punch from Tesco

A fruity Christmas cocktail that sure packs a punch! This festive drink calls for clementine and cranberry juice, vodka, brown sugar and mint to garnish.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 6-8 people

Ingredients

200ml vodka
200ml cranberry juice
200ml clementine juice
6 tsp brown sugar (optional)
300ml soda water
150g fresh cranberries
small bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
crushed ice

Preparation

Fill a large jug or punch bowl with the ice.

Add the vodka, cranberry and clementine juice and stir to combine.

If you want to add a little sweetness to this naturally sharp-tasting punch, stir in the sugar and mix until dissolved.

Top up with the soda water and garnish with the cranberries and mint leaves.


Moving away from booze and chocolates, I was saving the best for last, D E S S E R T..

Whether you’re a chocoholic, classic sponge fan, all about Christmas pudding and custard or a cheeseboard lover,  there is something for everyone at Tesco this Christmas! We got to taste their finest cheeses on the night, enjoy 3 for €10 and 2 for €5 on selected cheeses.

To get a cheeseboard right, start with combining a hard cheese, a blue and a creamy cheese, like a Brie, Stilton and a fruity Wensleydale or mature Cheddar, add some grapes, figs, cherries and dried apricots, a little chutney and perhaps a handful of Finest* Goats Cheese and Chilli Crisps.

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Personally, I like to be wowed, what if I told you that they combined a cheeseboard with desserts and created something really special? Try passionfruit cheesecake, coconut pannacotta, lemon mousse and white chocolate blondies, oh good lord, I can’t cope! I feel the pounds coming on! They look like cheese…but they’re sweet desserts!! Genius!

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There really is  a lot to offer! But remember, don’t forget, it’s a time to spend with your family, try not to spend all your time in the kitchen,  Tesco have done the hard work so you can enjoy precious time with your family! Kimberly Wyatt, ex Pussycat Doll and winner of ‘Celebrity Masterchef’ shared her top tips on preparing the perfect meal:

  • Don’t Over Complicate Things-Do a few dishes. Pick your favourite Christmas dinner components and concentrate your energies on making them to the best of your ability.
  • Keep It Simple! You don’t need to offer your guests 10 different types of vegetables; they’ll be more happy with two or three.
  • Let Meat Rest- Let your roast turkey rest for 30 minutes before serving-this will give you valuable time to finish off your roast potatoes and trimmings.
  • Perparation Is The Key- Get as much done in advance as possible. You don’t want to be peeling vegetables when the guests are arriving. Prepare your vegetables the night before.
  • Don’t Overcrowd Your Oven– It’s really important to not overcrowd your oven because the food won’t work as it should and the trimmings will be thrown off.
  • Don’t Overfill Your Trays– When it comes to roasting potatoes, make sure there’s plenty of space between them. If you pile them up on top of each other, they’ll steam when what you want is for them to fry in the bottom of the tray.

Thanks Kimberley, there’s some great advice there!

Below are some more photos from the press event, the food on display, including the meal, was donated to foodcloud after the event.

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 Don’t forget,  you can shop online too!

Click to shop


I have not been sponsored nor received payment of any kind for this post.

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Fallon & Byrne Dun Laoghaire

The Exterior Of The Old Tea Rooms (Now Fallon & Byrne)

You’ve got to love Fallon & Byrne, Ireland’s oasis for the seasoned epicurean, they have fruit and veg you will never have heard of before…like Mouli…had no idea what that was- now I know it’s a vegetable used a lot in Asian cooking.. it also seems to be the only place you can get a Dragonfruit in Dublin..

Moving swiftly on, F&B have been copied by other businesses around the country but never equalled, upstairs in the Exchequer St location, is a function room and an elegant continental style restaurant with crisp white linens. The People’s park restaurant opened in the old Victorian tea room building which used to be a dingy old greasy spoon with PVC tablecloths, painted white walls, strip lighting and bad coffee, the overhaul was a breath of fresh air when it arrived, circa 2014, a large space with wooden floors, the painted walls were banished and extended out with glass walls, wood and red brick with cozy wool chairs and the upmarket gastropub menu is to die for! On the menu is fluffy panko coated cod (actual cod not substitute) with delicious home made tartare sauce, and the burgers are to die for Ballyhenry beef with basil aioli and pickled cucumber with deliciously crisp french fries. If you just want a bowl of soup to warm your heart, the portions are huge and do try the seafood chowder, chock full of fish, big hearty chunks, you won’t need to eat for a week!!

Mixed Vegetable Soup With Toasted Pine Nuts..

Panko-Breaded Cod with pea puree, home made tartare sauce & French Fries

Fallon & Byrne Burger

If That’s Not Food Porn…What Is?

I do love how the staff are all bubbly, have a passion for food and engage in banter with punters, it’s so refreshing, the atmosphere is as light and airy as the decor- a breath of fresh air! If you find yourselves overwhelmingly full with a feeling of “Bolg na Nollaig” (Christmas belly in Irish), take a walk on the pier and get some fresh air while you walk off that overindulgence..

Honestly, it’s not very expensive, we went for our 6th wedding anniversary lunch and expected to pay more, we had the full starter and main, drinks, pellegrino and a glass of Prosecco all for €65! Outstanding! Considering the quality of the food, completely top drawer! I hope you go & enjoy- ’cause you will!

©CreativeYokeBlog


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RESTAURANT: Monday to Saturday 12-9pm | Sunday 12-8pm
TAKEAWAY CAFÉ DELI: open daily from 9am-5pm
 +353 1 230 3300 
peoplespark@fallonandbyrne.com
http://www.fallonandbyrne.com

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