Christmas wouldn’t be the same without those special dishes we all look forward to, the ones you can’t have any other time of the year (which is probably just as well for the sake of our waistlines!). Today we thought we’d tell you about some of our favourites, and there’s definitely a lot of variety here!
Kate – My favourite Christmas food is, well no surprise, it’s a drink! Mulled wine, or even better, mulled cider. I make it with sweet cider and spiced vodka (add a couple of cinnamon sticks, a handful of cloves, a crushed nutmeg and some orange peel to a bottle of vodka and let it steep for a week or two. (This is also really good in hot Vimto if you’ve got a cold!).
Jane – I love sprouts (which might be why I’m single.) So I have to say, my favourite recipe would be lightly cooked sprouts, tossed in butter with bacon and chestnuts. And maybe, if one is feeling racy, just a dash of whisky cream. True decadence . Windy decadence …
Sue – Chocolate. Sorry not to have something more original to contribute, here! But I am a chocoholic. Unfortunately, I have to severely limit my intake as it’s one of my migraine triggers. I probably don’t limit it enough as I have a migraine just about every Christmas …
Chris – My favourite food, no matter what the time of year, is always really good fresh bread. We’re currently using a sourdough recipe which produces a lovely, crusty versatile loaf. Getting the sourdough starter (levain) is a bit of a faff, but the results are well worth it. Take a look at levain recipes online if you’re interested. I’d tell you here, but it would take more space than I’ve got!
Linda – This has to be sausage rolls! I eat them (well, just a couple!) on Christmas Eve with a glass of sherry as my husband and I open our presents before we go to bed – too much to do the next day to be doing it then! Now, sausage rolls are full of the bad fats which is why I don’t make them very often. But I always use unsalted butter when I do, and self-raising flour. I make rough-puff pastry with a ratio of 8 oz of flour to 6oz grated butter, mixed in with the blade of a rounded knife, not the fingers. Then roll it out like flaky pastry once you’ve added cold water to mix. Let it rest for ten minutes or so while you get on with the sausage meat bit. I always use skinned organic sausages (a pound or so) from my local farm shop to which I add a couple of grated shallots, the same volume of grated dessert apple, and half a dozen fresh sage leaves chopped finely. I divide the pastry into three, ditto the sausage meat mixture and make three very long sausage rolls which I then cut on the diagonal into about 40 baby ones. Prick with a fork then glaze with an egg and milk wash. Twenty minutes in the oven on Gas 5 does it for me….but keep an eye on them. Naughty, but oh so nice.
Margaret – I love oven-baked Conference pears with a sweet cranberry and red wine sauce. They go particularly well with chocolate brownies. The red of the cranberries and the green of the pears always looks very Christmassy to me.
Evonne – Xmas pudding – preferably homemade and with traditional white sauce, not cream or brandy butter.
Christina – Swedish meatballs. I know they can technically be eaten any time of year, but I only make them at Christmas because it’s very time-consuming. I have a special recipe, given to me by a cook my grandmother used to employ for special dinner parties, and she always said to me “people go mad when it comes to meatballs, you know, they can never get enough” – I know what she meant!
Liz – Yorkshire Tea Bread. It’s very easy to make, and when it’s made, sliced and spread with butter, it’s absolutely delicious. It keeps very well too. (If anyone would like the recipe for this, Liz is happy to supply it – e-mail or DM her direct).
Henriette – I love the traditional Danish Christmas dinner, consisting of roast pork with crackling, served with caramelised potatoes, red cabbage and redcurrant jelly. This is then followed by a cold rice pudding flavoured with vanilla, served with warm cherry sauce. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water …
Juliet – Here’s a recipe for Chestnut and Sausagemeat Stuffing, which gives turkey or chicken a great lift. Melt a knob of butter in a pan. Add 1 large onion (peeled and finely chopped) and fry until golden. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add 2 large cooking apples (peeled, cored and chopped), 200g pork sausagemeat, 100g fresh white breadcrumbs, and a 400g can of unsweetened chestnut purée. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir well to combine thoroughly. Put in the turkey/chicken cavity just before roasting, or cook in a separate covered dish on a moderate oven for 1 hour (timings very approximate, especially after the pre-dinner drinks!).
What’s your favourite food at Christmas? Please share! And don’t forget to come back tomorrow, when we’ll be chatting about some very special tree decorations (and there’s another book to be won too!)