Its My Home : 2016
20 ETON MESS SERVES 4 n One meringue base or four individual meringues n Carton of cream n Sugar n Vanilla n Punnet of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries (optional) 1 Either make your own meringues or purchase a base or individual shells 2 Place them in a bag and break into bite size chunks 3 Whip a carton of cream with a teaspoon of white sugar and a 1⁄4 teaspoon of vanilla essence or fresh vanilla 4 Quarter a punnet of fresh strawberries (you can add blueberries or raspberries too) 5 In the bottom of a glass or ramekin sprinkle a layer of meringue. Spoon a layer of cream to cover the meringue 6 Arrange a layer of fruit on top of the meringue. Repeat again finishing with a layer of fruit sprinkled on top 7 Dust with icing sugar (optional) These can be prepared just before your guests arrive and stored in the fridge until you are ready to serve. If you don’t have ramekins or clear glasses to serve this gorgeous looking dessert in you can serve individual meringues on a plate and add the cream and fruit on top. For an extra dash of fizz, you can marinate the berries in Champagne before serving. GUESTS ARE THERE TO SEE YOU SO MAKE SURE YOU MAXIMISE YOUR TIME WITH EVERYONE AND DON’T GET STUCK IN THE KITCHEN M y golden rule is to make the evening as enjoyable foryouasahostasitis for your guests. 1Place something within each room that speaks of you, a vase full of a single colour flower, a cool hand written welcome sign near the front door, think quirky and creative talking points. 2 Create atmosphere with your soundtracks. I build three play lists, one for the arrival, another for the meal and some great old school house music for the cocktails - Spotify is perfect for this. 3 Make a signature cocktail and make sure you pre-make a jug. I like to hand write the recipe (to make six) and place it near the action with some additions like fresh chilli, lime and basil so everyone can make their own version. 4 Plate antipasto before guests arrive. From a giant burrata to tahini, crackers and sliced salami. Just put it on wooden boards or platters so it’s visible, colourful and inviting. Not only will it make everyone feel welcome, it also gives you a good hour to spend with your guests early on. 5If it’s in the evening, add some atmosphere with candles. I love citrus, lemongrass or fig scented candles but always keep them in areas where there are no cocktails or food. Place them in bathrooms, hallways or living areas to create some ambience and a welcoming aroma. ALEX ZABOTTO-BENTLEY’S TOP FIVE TIPS HOSTING THE PERFECT HOUSEWARMING Pictures:Shutterstock.