White Chocolate Cranberry Stars

A light, sweet ending to any festive meal. Normally I steer clear of white chocolate; its extreme sweetness is not my thing at all. However, when balanced with the tart cranberry, smooth cream and intense, fresh pomegranate, it really works. Ingredients 150ml double cream 75g white chocolate 4 tsp cranberry sauce Pomegranate seeds (to serve)Continue reading “White Chocolate Cranberry Stars”

Mini Chicken, Bacon, Leek & Chestnut Pies

These pies just say Christmas! Big enough to be generous, but small enough for a party snack, if I saw a plate of these beauties any time over the festive period, I would instantly know I was welcome. If homemade shortcrust pastry isn’t your thing, you can buy pre-made shortcrust pastry in most grocery stores.Continue reading “Mini Chicken, Bacon, Leek & Chestnut Pies”

In Praise of Make-Ahead Gravy

Jamie Oliver has brought many food-related joys into my life, and with the exception of that time I made his chicken liver pâté, he hasn’t let me down yet. Chief among his festive brain waves is his notion that we should all be making our Christmas gravy well ahead of time, freezing it, and simplyContinue reading “In Praise of Make-Ahead Gravy”

Warm Salad of Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Pecans, Feta and Dried Cranberries

A Christmassy salad if ever there was one. Feeds 2 as a light lunch Ingredients 500g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved through the stem Olive oil Salt and pepper Handful of pecans Handful dried cranberries 50g feta cheese Method: Roast the Brussels sprouts. Meanwhile, toast the pecans by adding them to a dry frying panContinue reading “Warm Salad of Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Pecans, Feta and Dried Cranberries”

Sugar & Spiced Nuts

These nuts are the perfect standby nibble. Pile onto a cheese board and pair with a salty cheese such as stilton or chèvre, or pop a bowl of these on the counter when hungry people begin to hover. Better still, these make a fabulous edible gift. I have provided instructions for making your own ChristmasContinue reading “Sugar & Spiced Nuts”

Brandy Snaps

We’re all looking for ways to scale down our Christmas this year. So rather than baking three dozen cookies, how about a batch of brandy snaps instead? The recipe produces as few as eight of these elegant sweet cigars, though easily doubles or triples as well. Serve with your favourite digestif after a meal withContinue reading “Brandy Snaps”

Chicken Tikka Marsala Triangles

Not to be confused with Chicken Tikka Masala. Chicken Tikka Masala given a festive – and inauthentic – twist with Christmassy flavours: booze, dried fruit and nuts. Very festive, indeed. Folded into a crisp phyllo shell, it’s the perfect party appetizer. Makes about 40 pieces Ingredients 2 tbsp butter 1 tbsp olive oil 1.5 cupsContinue reading “Chicken Tikka Marsala Triangles”

Fig, Goat’s Cheese and Prosciutto Bundles with a Rosemary, Honey & Brandy Glaze

Accurately described as a TASTE EXPLOSION. Make these and pretend you’re the guy from Love Actually who hopelessly uses “Taste Explosion?” as a pick-up line. If you’re unsuccessful, at least you’ll have more of these for yourself. Makes 18 pieces Ingredients 9 Dried figs Goat’s cheese 6 Slices prosciutto Rosemary Honey Brandy (port or sherryContinue reading “Fig, Goat’s Cheese and Prosciutto Bundles with a Rosemary, Honey & Brandy Glaze”

What I learned last Christmas

My husband and I hosted Christmas for the first time last year. In previous years I had always helped the hosts – obviously preparing food, and helping with lots of wrapping and decorating – but putting on the whole show unsupervised, as it were, was a different experience. And here’s what I learned. Do notContinue reading “What I learned last Christmas”

Rolled Turkey Breast Stuffed with Bacon, Cranberries and Pecans

Much less hassle (and expense) than the whole bird. If you’re a little apprehensive about cooking an entire turkey or just have fewer people coming ’round this year, this rolled and stuffed turkey breast is a great alternative. Slices like a dream, too. Substitute any dried fruit, nuts and booze – the method is theContinue reading “Rolled Turkey Breast Stuffed with Bacon, Cranberries and Pecans”