Food Files: A Christmas Picnic

23.12.14

Christmas is upon us and I am excited to share with you this Christmas Picnic shoot I styled and photographed for SisterMAG‘s latest issue in collaboration with food stylist Ajda Mehmet. Click here to see the published magazine feature, and scroll below for the full collection of images. I hope this post inspires you to gather together your nearest and dearest and celebrate Christmas {or New Year!} together in laid back style!

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com} Christmas Picnic // Styling & Photography: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Recipes & Food styling: Ajda Mehmet

Click on the image to view a larger version

This shoot was all about celebrating the holidays amongst friends in a cozy but casual way. Cushions, rugs and an easy picnic style Christmas menu set the tone for a festive and fun Christmas on the floor! The whole idea behind this shoot was keeping the food and styling as effortless as possible, offering up an array of ideas that don’t involve excess hours of prep in the kitchen or formal table settings.

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

Style wise, we wanted the setting to have a quintessential Christmas vibe to it, while being very informal, youthful with a slight boho feel to it. We did a fresh take on classical Christmas hues with a colour scheme of maroon, duck egg blue, creamy whites and brass.

Dining on the floor was made comfortable and inviting with layered rugs (a vintage kilim atop a natural woven rug) and a spray of cushions to rest on and against.

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A foraged tree branch propped up in a glass vessel served as a Christmas tree, decorated simply with a beautiful but minimal selection of ornaments.

Soft candlelight flickered from tall brass candlesticks and a large collection of white and cream coloured candles in various heights and sizes. I brought these candles home after the shoot and am using them on my mantle place this Christmas. It’s so beautiful in the evenings having them all lit up together.

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

Let’s talk about the food. I can hardly look at these images without feeling nostalgic for Ajda’s cooking!

For most young people, spending Christmas with family usually means they don’t do much of the cooking. Tradition has it that parents and grandparents take over the special family day, so, when it comes to spending Christmas without family, attempting a Turkey for the first time might seem like a daunting idea.

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

The most important thing when creating these recipes was to keep the essence of Christmas and the traditional dishes and flavours alive but without hours of prep time and much simpler recipes.

Turkey is hugely expensive during the festive season and also takes hours to cook so we decided to go for the next best thing, glazed Christmas ham. With a smaller piece of ham that isn’t on the bone, the cooking times are greatly reduced but the results are still Christmassy and delicious with the traditional sticky glaze.

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

The picnic was also made more festive and yummy with some seasonal clementines, chestnuts, mulled wine, bread, selection of salami and cold meats, selection of cheeses, pickled baby onions, sliced apples and honey and some fresh cranberries for decoration.

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

The potatoes boulangere and the warm roasted brussels sprout, parsnip and cranberry salad both involve minimal prep and you can just leave them to cook in the oven and do their thing. In fact, if you start with the ham, you can cook everything in the oven at the same time because the oven temperatures are the same for all dishes making it super easy to manage.

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com} Click image to view a larger version

The dessert is a simple assembly job that takes just minutes but your friends will be suitably impressed and wowed by the presentation. Ajda’s take on an Eton Mess with quintessential Christmas flavours and a bit of booze to make it extra special!

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

A Christmas Picnic by Avenue Lifestyle / Styling & Photography: Holly Marder (www.avenuelifestyle.com} / Recipes and Food Syling: Ajda Mehmet {www.ajdamehmet.com}

Isn’t this a great way to spend Christmas? Quintessentially festive done with ease and style. A picnic on the floor cuts out the middle man, taking the stress out of entertaining and upping the fun factor. So cosy and absolutely delicious!

All of Ajda’s recipes can be found in SisterMAG, so be sure to click over and get started on your favorites. Of course halfway through the shoot my stomach started rumbling watching everybody tuck in to all that fresh food, so I sat down and enjoyed some picnic too and I can tell you, it was absolutely delicious! Ajda’s ham was incredible and that layered dessert? I still think about that one! But my favourite was her red cabbage and apple chutney, which I ate for days afterwards and will be making again soon!

Tomorrow, my last post for 2015 before I take a break for the holidays, I’ll be sharing some Christmas gift and wrapping ideas with you, also from this shoot. So keep your eyes peeled and in the meantime, I hope you took some inspiration and ideas away from today’s post!

Holly x

Credits: Styling/Photography: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Recipes and Food Styling: Ajda Mehmet; Kilim rug: Bij Marlies; Natural rug: Kwantum; Cushions and wooden cake stands (used to serve the cheese and meat): Sweet Living; Blue Christmas tree decorations, napkins and white wall decorations: Dille & Kamille; Brass Christmas tree decorations: Ikea; Brass candlesticks: Microscope Telescope on Etsy; Mulled wine and dessert glasses and gold scissors: HAY Amsterdam; Models: Jennifer Laarman and Jennifer Van den Heuvel

7 Responses to “Food Files: A Christmas Picnic”

  1. I’m unplugging today even though I would love to see your last blog post. I’m stopping by to wish you a Merry Christmas and happy new year. Congrats on all your achievements this year! Hope we can see more of eachother in 2015. Big hug! xxx

  2. Effie says:

    So beautiful and inspiring!!! I think I’m going to try this tonight for Christmas eve with my husband…our last one just the two of us. Thank god I already have a similar rug 😉 Happy Holidays!

  3. Really pretty Holly!! Love the boho vibe and LOVE those wooden cakestands! (and yay for wonky, layered rugs!) Happy Holidays dear! xx

  4. JANA says:

    Lovely photos. I bet it wasn’t easy to keep the dog away from all the delicious food on the ground. : )

  5. Christmas picnic – such a novel and interesting idea for an intimate Christmas party. I love it! Beautiful pictures.

  6. […] régaler les copains, Holly Marder de Lifestyle Avenue utilise cette même configuration comme salle à manger et organise un repas de fêtes chaleureux […]

  7. Wow – a Christmas picnic! I’m saving that for Christmas 2015! Just discovered your lovely blog. Simply love it – beautiful work x

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