1) Get your hands on our special soft-touch cover. For the first time in olive‘s history, we’ve created a velvety, textured version for this bumper Christmas edition, so don’t miss out on copping a feel!
2) Make our white velvet snowball cake (it’s the cover recipe this year). This trendsetting triple-layer, meringue-buttercream-covered coconut cake is the Christmas cake everyone should be making for 2016. It’s light and fluffy, surprisingly easy to make and a guaranteed head turner; try serving it instead of a traditional fruit cake this year.
3) Save time in the aisles with the results of our Christmas Supermarket Awards. Supermarkets become a battleground of trollies running up to the big day, so we’ve done the browsing for you.
Get to the checkouts in record time with a few ready-made saviours to keep you sane over the festive period. From M&S’ vegetarian butternut and sweet potato rosti to Aldi’s great-value Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut, we’ve picked our top 30 time-saving festive products on the shelves this Christmas.
4) Festive faux pas can be tricky to avoid amidst all that booze, sugar-pumped children and over-helpful relatives. Navigate the party season with ease this year with Tony Naylor’s dos and don’ts for entertaining. Take note of his all-important drinks rules and you’ll be sure to get an invite for next year.
5) Discover our secrets to the ultimate Christmas dinner. We’ve asked the team to share their tips and recipes – including food editor Janine’s incredibly easy and super tasty porchetta-style turkey crown, and art director Gill’s boozy cranberry sauce – so you can see how we do Christmas at home.
6) Cater for crowds throughout December with our specially designed sharing dishes. Use ready-made croissant dough for a ridiculously easy squash and ricotta croissant crown (ideal for a vegetarian Christmas centrepiece), and get the guests involved with a mix and match mac ‘n’ cheese bar (serve a selection of toppings around the main dish and let guests plate up their own combinations).
7) Know what to drink and when to drink it with drinks writer Sarah’s boozy timeline. Designated drivers needn’t turn the page… our non-alcoholic orange and rosemary fizz is the picture of Christmas, topped with a cinnamon stick, rosemary sprig and pomegranate seeds to garnish.
8) Impress friends and family with our homemade edible gifts. Make your own clementine, ginger and bay gin, or have a crack (sorry, not sorry) at our salted cashew nut brittle.
9) Sides and starters can be an afterthought when you’ve got a big dinner party to prepare. Find out how to save time and still impress our collection of ideas, each ready in under 30 minutes.
10) Take the chance to try out three recipes from new cookery book, Layered Desserts by Hannah Miles. A slice of chocolate, peanut butter and jam terrine, anyone? We’re sold.
11) Cater for everyone this Christmas with our gluten-free bakes. The frosted clementine yogurt cake is a real table centerpiece, while the sour cherry stollen bars are perilously moreish; just watch out they don’t get snaffled before the gluten-free guests get a look in!
12) Have a few healthy, family friendly recipes up your sleeve with our Everyday Christmas recipe collection. Chargrilled tuna with harissa and slaw is packed full of Moroccan flavours for a healthy winter warmer.
13) Discover what the olive team loved and loathed from the UK food scene this year, plus be the first to know our food trend predictions for 2017. Hint: there’s more to wine than red, white and rosé…
14) Know where to dine out in London over the festive season with our latest restaurant recommendations. Plus we have our regular street food spot – this time a caravan dedicated to crème brûlée in Edinburgh! Yes please.
15) Take the hassle out of Christmas drinks pairings with expert tips for crowd-pleasing matches, thanks to drinks writer Sarah and wine expert Kate Hawkings.
16) Plan a foodie getaway this winter with our travel section. Pillowy doughnuts in Brooklyn and white fig gelato in Verona both await…
17) Personalise your Christmas table this year with DIY place settings, menus and stamp napkins thanks to Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, the duo behind arts and crafts book Decorate for a Party in our Lowdown.
Written by Pippa Cole, November 2016