Online Christmas Party

Thursday 10 December 2020, 6pm


Time: 6pm
Price: This event is free to Guild members.

Event Information


to join fellow Guild members for

a Christmas cocktail and canapé

on Thursday 10 December at 6-7pm

  • Zoom event – all Guild members welcome
  • Mix yourself a Guild Kir Impériale, a new cocktail created for the occasion by Guild member and Guild of Food Writers Drinks Writer of the Year 2020 Nina Caplan.
  • Nibble on tantalising Guild Parmesan Shortbreads with Pea and Feta Dip – exclusive new recipe by Guild member and Masterchef winner Julie Friend.
  • Guest appearances from our President Orlando Murrin, Vice President Felicity Cloake, members of the Guild committee including Sumayya Usmani, Sam Gates, Joy Skipper; special officers Judy Bastyra, Julie Friend and Jenny Hammerton; and regional coordinators Karen Burns-Booth, Christie Dietz and Linda Duffin – plus Nina Caplan (all the way from Canada)
  • Dress – as festive as you wish 


Dear Guild member,


The Guild is delighted to be hosting a virtual Christmas party, to get the festive season off to a jolly and indulgent start.


This is an online event, so it is up to you to set your own personal scene. Feel free to arrive by sleigh in a Santa suit, or jingle your bells in front of a crackling log fire – or simply be yourself at the kitchen table. Everyone is welcome, and the only rule is – relax and enjoy yourself.


In normal circumstances, we would supply drinks and nibbles, but this year, we leave that to you. You will find below the recipes for a special cocktail and mouthwatering canapé, created for the occasion by illustrious Guild members: recipes below.


Depending on numbers, we will divide into two or more ‘rooms’, so we stand a chance of hearing one another. Throughout the party, committee members will flit from room to room, making sure everyone’s drink is virtually topped up and offering round imaginary canapés (plus sharing the gossip, obviously).


Please RSVP to Jonathan at so that he can send you a Zoom link for the evening.


I very much hope to see you there,

Orlando Murrin, President


Nina Caplan's Guild Kir Imperiale

The Kir – white wine made from the Aligoté grape, with a good dose of crème de cassis – is a solution to the historical problem of thin, acidic Aligoté that was nevertheless cheap and plentiful. The drink predates the name – Félix Kir was a Resistance fighter in the Second World War and later, Mayor of Dijon – and has outlived its reason for existing, since there's lots of Aligoté around now that you certainly don't need to dilute with alcoholic blackcurrant juice. A Kir Royale substitutes sparkling wine for Aligoté but my version adds a secret ingredient – a couple of drops of Marc de Bourgogne, the delicious eau-de-vie made from the distillation of pomace, the skins, seeds and stems left over when grapes are crushed for wine. For those who don't like Marc, or can't get hold of it, Sloe Gin works too. Either way you really only need a couple of drops, or it will be too strong, both in flavour and in percentage proof…


2 drops Marc de Bourgogne

a glug of Crème de Cassis (how much depends on how strong your CdeC is. 20%+ is best, and then you need less. I don't have a very sweet tooth, so I use less than someone who likes a bit of sugar in their cocktail. It's not baking, so whatever proportion suits you, but err on the side of caution at first – you can always add more, but a cocktail overpowered by fruit concentrate is a very un-festive thing).

Fill up with fizz of your choice. If you're being geographically pure, go for Crémant de Bourgogne, but any decent Brut sparkling wine will work. 


A note of caution: this cocktail is as lethal as it is delicious, so be careful! Otherwise, enjoy, and merry Christmas.


Julie Friend's Parmesan Shortbread with Pea and Feta Dip

I love these little biscuits which you can eat (a lot of!) just with your aperitif or as a great base for things like hummus and dips. You could also make larger ones for the cheeseboard and I have often added poppy or sesame seeds for a little crunch.


Parmesan Shortbread

Makes around 20 biscuits depending upon cutter size

150g plain flour

100g salted butter, diced and just coming to room temperature

75g grated Parmesan

½ tsp paprika (smoked or hot as you prefer)


Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mix comes together in a ball. (If you do not have a processor, use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour/paprika until it resembles breadcrumbs or a crumble mix. Then add the cheese and keep working with your fingers until it all comes together.)


Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.


On a floured surface, roll out the dough to around 5mm. Choose the size cutter you prefer, cut out the biscuits and re-roll any trimmings until all used up.


Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake at 180C/160 fan for 8-10 mins until just golden brown in colour. (If you use a tiny cutter check at 6 minutes.)


Pea and Feta Dip

200g frozen petit pois, cooked for 2/3 minutes and drained

100g feta cheese

about 10 fresh mint leaves

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil (I use a local chilli rapeseed which adds a nice little kick)

cracked black pepper and chilli flakes (optional)


Put all the ingredients except the oil and black pepper in a processor and pulse until smooth but you can still see some texture. (If you don’t have a processor you can use a pestle and mortar or a fork and elbow grease.) Add the oil and blitz again. If you think the mix is too stiff you can slacken with a drop of warm water. Add as much black pepper as you wish and mix well. A few chilli flakes would also be a delicious addition if you like heat.


Serve on the little cheese biscuits above or as a dip with breadsticks.


(Any leftovers make a great breakfast on toast with crispy bacon.)

Getting to this Event