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Everyone looks forward to the food at Christmas time, but it can be a little daunting when you come to planning, shopping and finding space to store it all. It’s also a challenge to refresh your Christmas menu each year. To help out we have put together a selection of some of our favourite Christmas nibbles and recipes.
Kick your day off with a delicious family breakfast:
• Eggnog French toast: make eggy bread as you usually would but pour premade eggnog over the bread in the pan and allow to absorb. Put some bowls of toppings on the table so people can choose for themselves: cinnamon and brown sugar, orange slices, festive jam, edible glitter, chocolate spread, nuts etc.; we all have personal favourites!
• Festive fried eggs: Fry your eggs in Christmas shaped cookie cutters and serve with your fry up or on toast.
• Christmas pancakes: make them fun by pouring the pancake mix in two circles to create a breakfast snowman, or pour the mix into Christmas cookie cutters to create little festive pancakes. Lay the toppings on the table for everyone to decorate their own snowman: white chocolate layer, cranberries for eyes and buttons etc.
• Fried bacon inside pancake dippers, served with maple syrup for dunking.
• Grilled cheese scones or brioche topped with smoked salmon, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and black pepper – add a sprinkle of edible gold glitter for a magical touch!
• Sardines on toast with avocado, tomato salsa, a little parmesan and a poached egg
Why not accompany breakfast with a glass of bucks fizz or champagne to make it extra special!
• Santa grapes: Slide a grape on a cocktail stick topped with a slice of banana, a small strawberry and a little white marshmallow to top it off. Alternatively, you could create the same effect with an olive, mozzarella, chorizo and chopped garlic clove.
• Dips and platter: There are endless choices of what you could choose for dips and it really comes down to personal preference, but here are some favourites: garlic and eggplant, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and chive, flavoured or plain humus, French onion, walnut and roasted red pepper. There is no need to make the dips if you don’t have the time – buy them from the shop, present them in a nice bowl with some topping (herbs, pepper, carrot peel, crumbled nuts etc.) and no one will be the wiser. To accompany the dips: sliced raw vegetables, apple, bread, crisps, crackers, chicken dippers, fish goujons and prawns are all safe bets.
• Brie and caramelised onion pastry plats
• Cranberry and camembert parcels
• Hot sticky sweet chilli cocktail sausages and meatballs: This always goes down a treat!
• Sweet potato fries with garlic mayonnaise dip
• Home baked vegetable crisps
• Backed camembert infused with rosemary sprigs and garlic cloves, served with hot oven-baked crusty bread
• Coconut coated shrimp with chilli and lime dipping sauce
• Oven cooked ricotta stuffed red bell peppers wrapped in bacon
• Goats cheese, onion marmalade and rosemary Mini bruschetta
• Mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil canapes
• Mini stuffed mushrooms: Stuff with blue cheese, seasoning, crushed nuts, caramelised onion, topped with breadcrumbs and parmesan (for those with a sweet tooth add cranberry sauce).
• Dates (stuffed with blue cheese), figs (stuffed with goat’s cheese) or dried apricots wrapped in bacon: This are absolutely delicious and will disappear before you know it!
• Antipasti Platter: Figs, cheese, rustic bread, chutney, olives, cold meats, sun-dried tomatoes, roast peppers, artichokes etc.
• Ham and cheese croquettes
• Deep-fried courgette and aubergine with Tzatziki dip (these can also be used as bases for bruschetta: top with mozzarella, basil and sun-dried tomato with a drizzle of oil and sprig of rosemary).
• Roasted sweet baby pear with blue cheese, wrapped in pancetta.
• Duck and orange pâté served with orange slices and melba toast (to save money, make at home: remove the crusts from sliced bread, using a knife gently split the bread in two, slicing down inside the bread and grill on each side until crispy and curls at the edges).
• Toasted ravioli: Cook as normal, then coat with oil, parmesan and fine breadcrumbs and put on a wire baking tray and grill until crispy. Serve with dipping sauce to best compliment the ravioli you choose.
• Champagne shrimps: Add a touch of class with this alternative classic. Add a few splashes (depends on the quantity of shrimps) of champagne to the frying pan and allow the shrimps to absorb.
• Seafood cocktail shooters: smoked salmon (lining the base), shrimps, crab meat, and scallops with a garlic, lime and chilli puree drizzled over the top (present in shot glasses with a shrimp over the lip).
• Olives and bread: with butter and sea salt, oil and balsamic vinegar, try and make your own rosemary olive oil. For a festive twist, serve with a small pot of mulled wine for dipping the bread in; you may be sceptical but you won’t regret it!
• Turkey: The centre piece! There are many different ways to cook the turkey but we have chosen three steps to serving a turkey to be remembered:
1. Stuff the inside of the turkey with fruit and vegetables for flavouring: red and white onions, shallots, carrots, parsnips, apples, peaches, pears, sweet potatoes, orange segments, herbs etc.
2. Stuff in between the meat and the skin a homemade flavouring butter: sea salt, black pepper, rosemary, cranberry and butter. There is no elegant way of doing this; you just have to get your hands messy and get it over and done with!
3. Plat the turkey with bacon: using streaky bacon, lengthen it by stretching out with a knife. Then proceed to plat the bacon around the exterior of the turkey and tuck the edges underneath. This is a fiddly process but will result in a beautiful crispy bacon coating (alternative to crackling).
Tip: Wrap the turkey in foil and uncover for the last 30 minutes so it doesn’t burn but is a little crispy.
• Mustard and honey glazed ham, studded with cloves
• Salmon and shrimps served with hollandaise sauce and lemon.
• Poultry: Duck, partridge, pigeon, pheasant or goose
• Salads are a great alternative at Christmas for when people are feeling full, and they’re also a great way for using up leftovers e.g. turkey and cranberry salad, duck in plum sauce with green beans salad or seafood salad.
• Chargrilled chicken wrapped in pancetta, served on a bed of Mediterranean vegetables and topped with mature cheddar and English mustard sauce.
• Lamb, studded with garlic and rosemary
• Chicken stuffed with Christmas marmalade and goats cheese, wrapped in pancetta
• Beetroot, sweet potato, pear and goats cheese tartlets
• Maple pulled pork: either to be served alone or would make a nice accompaniment with the Christmas turkey
• Traditional nut roast
• Beef or poultry wellington
• Beef coated with mustard, breadcrumbs, crumbed parsnip and nuts
• Red onion, chestnut, rosemary and blue cheese Tart Tatin
• Boerewors or Cumberland sausage wrapped in pancetta with bay leaves – serve with a cranberry, port and orange sauce.
• Snowman pizza: 3 pizzas of different sizes decorated appropriately with toppings of your choice.
• Port, cranberry and orange sauce
Mint, peach and apple chutney
• Horseradish, chive and lemon sauce
• Bread sauce
• Bailey’s chocolate gravy: Sounds questionable but when used in moderation can transform a meal
• Madeira sauce
• Mature cheddar and English mustard sauce (perfect for serving with ham)
• Apple, pear and cinnamon sauce
• Stuffing: the choices are endless!
• Bloody Mary ketchup
• Turkey gravy: Make use of the juices and flavours in your cooking by adding to the gravy
• Peas with baby onions and cream
• Fried Green beans, red onion, chilli and lemon
• Red cabbage with cranberry, ginger and orange
• Broccoli with anchovies, orange and chilli
• Cauliflower cheese with goats cheese and chorizo
• Brussel sprouts with crispy bacon and chestnuts
• Flavoured vegetable butters to melt in the vegetable pots for serving
• Honey roasted Parsnips with walnuts and carrot shreds
• Frozen berries with jugs of melted chocolate for pouring. You could be experimental with the chocolate jugs by melting chilli dark chocolate, mint milk chocolate and honeycomb white chocolate.
• Baileys poured over ice-cream
• Flaming Christmas pudding with brandy or whisky cream
• Nutty brown bread ice cream
• Hot cooking apple filled with nuts, cranberries, raisins and cinnamon, served with crème fresh or ice cream and a touch of edible glitter to top it off!
• Edible wreath: make your own Christmas wreath with sweets, lollipops and wrapped chocolates. Take it off the wall after dinner and the guests can tuck in!
• Edible chocolate baskets to hold Christmas ice-cream, nuts or berries.
• Christmas cheesecake: Nougat, Baileys and dark chocolate, Christmas pudding, peanut butter and salted caramel, orange and Cointreau, banana and butterscotch cheesecake.
• Sorbet snowmen: Two balls of sorbet with decoration (prepare in advance and put in freezer ready to serve).
• Mulled wine jelly: For decorative purposes put orange slices, berries and a cinnamon stick in the middle of the jelly to set and sprinkle with edible glitter.
• Festive fruit salad
• Cheese and biscuits with grapes (try frozen), figs, chutney, pickled onions, apple etc.
• Dark chocolate, cranberry and orange bread and butter pudding (use brioche, pain au chocolats or croissants as tasty alternatives).
• Spread cool whip on a tray and let rest in the freezer- use small Christmas shaped cookie cutters and place in hot chocolate.
• Non-alcoholic mulled ‘wine’ or ‘cider’: heat apple or cranberry juice in a pan, add cinnamon sticks, edible glitter and orange slices. Serve in a glass mug with decorations.
• Magical hot chocolate; all the trimmings plus more! Cream, cinnamon sticks, flavoured syrups, dried berries, marshmallows, gingerbread, chocolate sprinkles, candy cane and edible glitter!
• Bucks Fizz served with an orange slice
• Christmas pudding cocktail
• Festive mocktail: Frosted peach Bellini – peach sorbet with white grape Shloer poured over the top, served with a slice of peach.
• Christmas Pimm’s punch: Mix Pimm’s, brandy and apple juice and serve with apple, oranges, cinnamon sticks (serve hot or cold)
• Flavoured vodka: make your own vodka by leaving flavouring ingredients in bottle to soak for 2 months i.e. orange, cinnamon, cranberry or vanilla vodka.
• Lime sorbet mojitos: mix mojito as usual, add a scoop of lime sorbet to the glass and pour the cocktail over the top. You can try this with most drinks: cherry sorbet with champagne, orange sorbet with Bucks Fizz and so on.
Tip 1: Freeze the glasses for a short while beforehand to give it a festive frosted appearance
Tip 2: Add a sparkler to any drink to make it magical!
Tip 3: Use sugar, food colouring and edible glitter to coat the rim of the glass.
We hope that some of our tips and recipes have inspired you to cook up a glorious Christmas feast this year. Remember to plan and prepare in advance so you can relax when it gets to the big day.
Most importantly, we wish you a very Merry Christmas from everyone here at Dream Doors!