So now we've done the Christmas gift guides, and I've shown you all the beautiful Christmas windows in Canterbury where I was helping judge their annual competition again this year, it is time for Christmas food. I've got lots of new recipes to share with you over the next few weeks, but I thought I would run through some of my festive recipes from the past few years, to help you plan your seasonal menus over the festive period!
In our family we are very particular about our Christmas stuffing, and unlike in America we don't have that whole stuffing side dish thing going on, so I wanted to make more of what has to be my favourite part of Christmas dinner. These stuffing bites would make great sides, slightly larger canapés. They also look super festive with a cranberry (which also adds tartness) and a sprig of rosemary garnishing each one.
Speaking of canapés, one of my favourites (and something I'll be making as part of the spread for our New Years Eve party this year) is to cure my own side of salmon, whip up a few bilini pancakes (though as I'm doing it en mass this year, I might just buy them in), and put the whole thing together with some creme fraiche and a few fronds of dill. The leftover salmon in the fridge also makes for great festive leftover sandwiches.
While in our family we always make buttermilk waffles with bacon, maple syrup and Bucks Fizz for breakfast on Christmas morning, if you're after something a bit easier, and a bit more festive make Gingerbread & Pomegranate Dutch Baby Pancakes. They only take 15 minutes to make, and pomegranates are probably the most festive fruit out there, and add some nice crunch along with tart molasses for a bit of tang. Obviously you'll still want to serve the bucks fizz with this, though (it is Christmas morning, after all!)
These stupidly easy and stupidly delicious cheese straws are not only the most popular festive recipe on here, but also in the top ten most popular of my blog recipes of all time. They're light, buttery, and include a lovely little kick from the cayenne pepper. Knock these together to serve with drinks - this is another one we'll be breaking out on New Years Eve, and on several other occasions throughout the festive period just because.
Another festive breakfast, but this one is just for everyday; a festive spiced granola with dried cranberries, chopped nuts, and a handful of milk chocolate. It's official, chocolate for breakfast is acceptable from December 1st to December 25th, because we'll be eating it anyway out of our advent calendars, right?
Chicken Liver Pâté is one of my favourites, and it is so stupidly easy to make. It makes a great festive starter, and after getting inspiration from the November issue of Jamie Magazine, this Christmas I'm going serve my single serving portions of pâté in teacups for a bit more class. Make this this Christmas, and then several other times throughout the year. I buy livers when they're 79p on special offer, then stash them in the freezer.
I feel the cold. Like, really feel the cold. So, when it gets to Winter I love a good hot toddy or two, and this is my personal recipe. I'm not a whisky person so I make it with brandy, and a good tot of cinnamon vodka for good measure. While it is easier to make something like mulled wine in big batches, this one is great if there is just one or two of you (but it can be scaled up if that is what you're looking for!)
I know this sounds crazy, but just like I don't like hot chocolate, I also don't like Christmas pudding or mince pies. That is not to say that I don't know the perfect mince pie recipe when I see it, so you simply have to try my Mum's mince pies which she pretty much makes for my Dad full stop throughout December. What makes them different is that instead of a thick, crumbly pastry, she makes a thin, crisp, sweet pastry. This way, you don't get that dry mouthful you find with so many other mince pies.
I am the only person in my family who even likes cranberry sauce, so I make it how I like it, with a good glug of cherry brandy (or kirsh, if I don't have any brandy to hand). This is a small portion if, like me, you're only catering for small numbers, but you'll also have plenty left over to stuff in your leftover cold turkey and stuffing sandwiches (because Christmas is all about re-purposing leftovers!)
Finally, to round off, Christmas is not Christmas without Christmas biscuits. Because, what else are people like me who are not massive mince pie fans going to munch on in front of the fire? These are made with orange zest as well as a good amount of my personal Christmas spice blend, which only adds to the Christmassy-vibe. Oh, and how many more times do you reckon I can fit the word 'Christmas' into one photo caption?