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”

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”

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”

Ham and Gruyère Quiche

Ham and Gruyère is a particularly Christmassy combination. It would be great with a festive salad for a brunch around the Christmas period. Big Christmas gatherings necessitate lots of food, so I am more than happy to pull out my Grandmother’s beautiful – and enormous – quiche dish (Portmeirion c. 1972). She never did portionsContinue reading “Ham and Gruyère Quiche”

Festive Fruit Salad

I make this as part of my Christmas breakfast alongside some warmed croissants, really good jam and a glass of Champagne. Whether part of a festive brunch, eaten on the day itself, or even just as a snack, this combination is delicious and feels special. As a festive bonus, it’s very nutritious! Feeds 4 IngredientsContinue reading “Festive Fruit Salad”

Smoked Mackerel Pâté with Yorkshire Pudding

If you really want to impress people but expend as little effort as possible, this appetizer is just the thing. Use my make-ahead tips below and you’ll be amazed at how effortlessly you can pull together this showstopper of an appetizer. If you can’t get smoked mackerel, smoked trout works beautifully. Feeds 4 – 6Continue reading “Smoked Mackerel Pâté with Yorkshire Pudding”