The festive season is all about catching up with friends, seeing family and spending quality time with loved ones – which means sit-down feasts that last for hours, mulled wine under the stars and unexpected evenings that go on till the early hours. To get your festive season-planning started, Olivia Purvis reveals her go-to easy recipe for a family celebration – plus her relaxed but beautiful outfits for any occasion
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a big, big love for Italian food. If I’m going out with friends you can pretty much be certain that I’ll be the first person to suggest a new favourite trattoria or pizza haunt (partly due to my first proper job as a teenager: working as a waitress at a local Italian restaurant which I loved and hated in equal measure – it’s hard serving so much delicious food without being able to eat a bite!).
So, when putting on a dinner party for family and friends, my first – and most obvious choice of cuisine is – Italian. Perhaps it’s the simplicity of flavours that pack such an incredible punch, or the fact you can conjure up an amazing meal with lots of store cupboard basics, but cooking Italian is definitely one of my favourite things to do for guests – as there’s always something someone will love and it doesn’t take half as long as you might imagine. And in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a simple but tasty Spaghetti Puttanesca (an amazing recipe I slyly picked up working as a waitress)…
You will need:
– 1 x medium red onion
– 1 x jar of capers
– 2 x garlic cloves
– Handful of olives, chopped
– 2 x dried chillies
– Dried herbs
– 2 x tinned tomatoes
– Some salt & pepper for seasoning
– Olive oil
To do: Pop some olive oil into your pan and heat gently. Add your chopped onion, garlic and chillies to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes. Add in the capers and olives and continue to fry until the onion becomes soft and turns a little golden. Add your tins of tomatoes, seasoning and herbs and simmer for 10 minutes whilst the spaghetti cooks. Serve immediately with crusty bread and a green dressed salad.
Cooking tip: Add a little oil in to the spaghetti to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan – al dente is always best too!
Cooking up a storm
Making your favourite roast or putting together a batch of spiced cocktails? Go for easy, classic pieces (a Breton top, capri pants) that make you feel utterly glam but are easy to throw on so you can concentrate on the most important thing: spending time with your favourite people.
A long relaxed afternoon
The festive season means two things: ramping up the glitter and total comfort therefore embellished knitwear is your friend…
A night of cocktails and catching up
A fun night featuring all of your friends and family deserves a much-loved outfit to match.