The Great Holiday Baking Show: US tries and fails to copy UK super smash

All of the ingredients are there, but ABC’s version of the UK hit show falls flat in the oven trying too hard to be ‘nice’ and to Americanize the show’s conceptThere was a very brief moment at the beginning of The Great Holiday Baking Show when I knew it wasn’t going to work. ABC’s four-week Christmas-themed variant on the UK super smash The Great British Bake Off looks exactly like its predecessor, complete with the stately manor, sprawling green lawn and the simple white tent. As the show opens, we see two exuberant hosts standing next to six contestants, and the set-up looks very much like the British show that a growing number of Americans are obsessed with. But as the shot pans out, the American amateur bakers do something their British counterparts would never do: they cheer. Continue...

Festive party food hacks and the return of the Egg Master

Can you reinvent Christmas food? We challenged our perfect recipe columnist Felicity Cloake and gadget inspector Rhik Samadder to twist seasonal favourites. The result? SodaStream shampagne, fountains of gravy and the return of the Egg Master in chocolate log form. Most of it was wonderful, some of it was just plain weird … On the first day of Christmas, the Guardian said to me: “What if Felicity Cloake wrote some canapé recipes, and you made them using inappropriate gadgets? Like a gadget hack, with seasonal synergy?” I told them it was the worst sentence I had ever heard, and would void several product warranties. “Don’t forget to wear a funny jumper!” they said.There is talk of a gravy fountain and champagne made in a SodaStream. They said they would send Felicity to my flat, and we would co-host a party. Like a tipoff on a Mafia hit, I don’t really believe it until the knock at the door. Felicity bustles in with head-girl vigour, thick fringe and personal assistant Wilf, who is a cairn terrier, in tow. “I’ve got turkey legs brining, and a cashew custard,” she says. I realise too late she has been sent here to make me look bad. Until now, I have been pushing a coathanger through oranges dried in a dehydrator to make a mouldy wreath. “Fine,” I think, the grace of the season upon me, “let battle commence.” Continue...

AB InBev plans to sell Peroni and Grolsch in takeover of SABMiller

Budweiser owner is considering selling London-listed brewer’s leading brands in attempt to satisfy EU competition regulatorsThe beer brands Peroni and Grolsch are to be put up for sale under plans by brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev to appease regulators in its £71bn takeover of SABMiller. Related: Anheuser-Busch InBev reaches final agreement for SABMiller takeover Continue...

Caring and sharing: the First Dates crew test Christmas canapés

From olives, nuts and dates to sliced reindeer, rabbit mini pies and prawn skewers, the front-of-house team on the Channel 4 dating show have sorted your festive party cateringIf you want to inspire goodwill to all, you could do a lot worse than watching an episode of First Dates. Throughout 2015, the Channel 4 dating show has been warming the nation’s hearts with moments of touching vulnerability, cutesy romance and the chance to yell: “Put your calculator away and go halfsies, you tightwad!” The relaxed ambience in the restaurant is down to the nation’s favourite beardy maître d’, Fred Sirieix, and his front-of-house team – what they don’t know about food for sharing isn’t worth knowing. There was simply no better crew to sort through weirdly flavourless broad beans and tequila-packed olives in pursuit of the best canapés for your festive shindig. Continue...