Spiced Cheddar Cheesecake

A showstopper, make-ahead appetizer, and addictive in the extreme. This would also make a really nice cheese course in lieu of dessert. To make this, you will require a 5-inch diameter springform tin, easily procured online. Make sure your cream cheese is very soft before starting, otherwise you won’t get a light, fluffy cheesecake. ThisContinue reading “Spiced Cheddar Cheesecake”

Mince Pie Twists

A twist on a Christmas classic. All you need for this recipe is shop-bought shortcrust pastry, a jar of mincemeat, an egg and some coarse sugar. Oh, and brandy cream (see tip below). This recipe isn’t about laziness, nor is it about making things into a festive shape just for appearances. (Though, it does haveContinue reading “Mince Pie Twists”

A Christmas Market-Inspired Party

Outdoor entertaining at Christmastime is usually reserved for the magical, twinkly markets put on in places such as Germany and Austria. Sparkly, warm, and overwhelmingly festive, these markets provide the perfect inspiration for a small back garden party. Homemade soft pretzels with senf, the ubiquitous German condiment (or the closest thing we could get toContinue reading “A Christmas Market-Inspired Party”

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 Brussel Sprouts, Pecans, Feta and Dried Cranberries

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