Dining styling & festive treats with TV chef José Pizarro
No matter what’s on the menu this season, your dining table deserves a little special attention at this wonderful time of the year. It becomes the centre point of all gatherings, family get-togethers and impromptu dinner parties and with the right colour scheme or theme, it can really make an impact and make your party the one that’s talked about right through into the New Year! It is, after all, the best time of year to let your inner interior stylist glitter and sparkle – so don’t be shy or hold back when it comes adding colour or trying something new. Start by picking your colour scheme and work from there. Sticking to one colour scheme or theme will ensure your table looks neat and polished, with a real professional touch to it. If you’re a stickler for traditions, opt for classic festive and seasonal colours of reds, greens and golds, for a more traditional touch try frosty silvers and clean, crisp white accessories and for a contemporary setting, take inspiration from our Scandi friends and style with more natural elements and reds and white. With this in mind, here are a couple of our favourite dining styles that we’re looking forward to creating this season and we talk with TV-chef Jose Pizarro about his festive treat top tips!
Our Nordic friends encourage a laid-back way of living, and their classic and elegant approach to festive decorating creates a peaceful, calming interior, with a welcoming touch of warmth – which makes it perfect for the festive months ahead. Decorate your table with sprigs of green and natural elements such as wooden features, pine cones and berries. Combine branches with candles and try to sprinkle a bit of silver or gold decorative ornaments on the table. Dinner dishes, table linen and table decorations should be a mix of white and red colours to really emulate this traditional style. Handmade elements are also a key feature for this style, whether its bunting, wreaths or garlands – the idea is to show beauty in everyday objects and Christmas should, after all, be about having fun and getting the whole family involved! Keep within the colour scheme we have put together here, and you will be able to easily create the simple, but welcoming, Christmas aesthetic.
A rich and opulent colour palette goes hand in hand with our Sinclair dining chair in Olive pure cotton matt velvet
Sleigh bells, ring … are you listening? Okay, so maybe it’s not quite the time for singing Christmas carols (just yet!) but we couldn’t help get excited when creating this theme which encapsulates so much holiday charm! The frosted white winter inspired theme brings inside the natural beauty of an outdoor wonderland, without you actually having to experience the cold! The decorative detail of the branches, icicles and gems provide a clean, crisp traditional table top which would get anybody in the Christmas spirit straight away! This design is the ideal opportunity to add a little elegance, without feeling too formal. Simple touches such as detailed candle holders or ribbon in silver, greys and whites strike a beautiful seasonal note that is truly appreciated at this time of year.
Festive treats that you can eat!
Now, we know, that a well-dressed dinner table isn’t anything without the food that goes on top of it (although it is very fun to put it together!). Having a showstopping centrepiece or just a fun and sociable sharing dish to enjoy with your friends can create a warm and inviting atmosphere to kick off your party. With this in mind, we’ve enlisted a little help from TV-chef José Pizarro who has shared his tips for a cheerful and vibrant night in and we get a sneak peek into how he spends his Christmas, Spanish style.
Why do you think Spanish food, particularly tapas is so popular right now?
I think it’s because tapas is all about sharing; it’s very social, so it’s the perfect food for groups of friends or family or work colleagues who want to relax. It’s also very diverse so everyone can find something that they love.
What type of food do you cook for friends & family at Christmas?
It has to be something you can prepare easily ahead of time, and of course, it has to look and taste amazing! I like to think of Christmas as a big party, so I am a huge fan of one-pot meals and dishes that make an exciting centrepiece, such as a whole fish or whole chicken, like my chicken stewed in cider and apples – the perfect winter warmer.
Jose’s chicken stewed in cider & apples – the perfect winter warmer.
What is your favourite quick and easy canape recipe to make when entertaining friends at Christmas?
My recipe for charred baby gem with piquillo peppers, salted anchovies and blue cheese is always a crowd pleaser. The baby gem acts as a cup for the other ingredients so these are the perfect finger food and they’re delicious!
What do you like to create with leftovers (if you have any!)?
Croquettes work really well with leftovers, they’re so versatile and you can put pretty much anything into them. You can also freeze them and get them out at a later date if you have too many.
One of Jose’s most popular recipes – ham croquettes. You can find this delicious recipe here for an easy festive food option.
Do you have any tips for a novice cooking Christmas dinner?
Don’t go crazy, just keep it simple! It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece and if you overcomplicate it, then you are more likely to go wrong. Decide what you are going to cook and buy the best ingredients you can. Also, do as much as you can in advance, that way you’ll have less to do when the occasion arrives.
Your kitchen at home must be very important to you, could you describe your kitchen and dining space to our readers and why you love it?
My kitchen right now is a work in progress right now, but my dream is to have an open plan kitchen and dining area where I can cook and entertain at the same time. My dining space has great views and I can seat eight people, but we always end up with more so often everyone is just standing around eating and talking and having a great time.
Pizarro’s critically-acclaimed second Bermondsey restaurant: Pizarro – Credit Photo: www.paulwf.co.uk
You must be incredibly busy with your 4 restaurants over London, will you be working over Christmas or going to Spain?
I will be in Spain, but I will be sort-of working as I’ll be helping my Mother in the kitchen! For José’s full recipe for his whole chicken stewed in apple and cider, you can discover it (in all it’s deliciousness) in our new Autumn Winter ’17 catalogue – please pop into your nearest showroom to pick up a copy. Not only do we feature José’s dining inspiration, but you will also find further Christmas interior tips, our new collection plus much more.
Create a place for your friends and family to feel at home this season with our beautifully handcrafted dining collection here: Sofa.com Dining Furniture