If you saw our earlier blog with a recipe for a roast partridge Christmas dinner from The Cumberland’s W1 restaurant’s head chef Paul Welburn, you’ll know that we’re trying to help you impress with your Christmas cooking by bringing easy but beautiful recipes your way.
Next up, we’re sharing recipes and tips from some expert food bloggers …
If the thought of cooking at Christmas stresses you out, food blogger Laura Scott, author of the How to Cook Good Food blog, has some advice…
Ahead of Christmas Day
- Remember that Christmas lunch is really just the same as a Sunday lunch with some fancier trimmings and accompaniments
- Always plan ahead
- Make a list and cross off items as you buy/make them. It will give you a clearer picture of what needs done
- Buy things gradually to avoid a last minute panic
- Empty and use up all the forgotten-about food in your freezer to make space for anything you want to make and freeze for the big day. And be realistic about what you will actually cook.
What to buy
- Does a fridge full of half-eaten cheese sound familiar? Just buy one or two excellent-quality cheeses rather than a massive selection of middle-of-the-road ones. Same goes for the rest of your meal, really.
- Try and support your local producers, even if it’s just mince pies bought at your farmers market
Jobs for Christmas Eve
- Make the cranberry sauce and brandy butter
- Part roast the potatoes, carrots and parsnips and pre-boil the sprouts
- Set the table
On the day itself
- Have easy food that doesn’t require cooking on standby for breakfast so you can focus on the most important meal of the day
- Delegate prepping jobs. People like to feel useful and you can all sit around the kitchen table with a glass of wine while working.
- Suggest trying a pot luck dinner, with everyone bringing a dish they’ve made
- Don’t lay out too many nibbles: people won’t be as hungry when they sit down to eat so won’t appreciate all your hard work as much.
Laura also has some tempting ideas for a lighter take on the more traditional Christmas desserts. She likes to serve merengue topped with cocoa powder and nuts or a fruity galette, which she describes as ‘like a pizza but with pastry and fruit’.
Sophie Hunter, cake fan and author of the Cake Hunter blog, is a big fan of giving homemade, edible treats as gifts. She has these clever ideas for us:
“You can make a small candy box from scratch using templates and fill it with chocolate cookie dough truffles or salted caramels. Jams, chutneys and flavoured oils can be made now and put away to give to friends and family in two weeks’ time. Plus, the flavour gets even better with time.”
Karen Burns-Booth is a freelance food writer, food stylist, photographer and recipe developer. She loves using her skills in the kitchen to create beautiful homemade presents as well. She suggests giving people jars of marinated olives or Christmas tea, tying dried herbs or flowers onto the label. Here she shares her recipe for her ever-popular Christmas Morning Tea.
Christmas Morning Tea
- Four cups of Earl Grey loose tea leaves, or a tea of your choice
- Four cinnamon sticks
- Hlaf a teaspoon cloves
- A quarter teaspoon of ground ginger
- One tablespoon of dried orange peel
- Combine all the ingredients except the cinnamon sticks and add to the jar.
- Push the cinnamon sticks into the middle of tea mixture.
- Add a label which says: “Place one spoon tea mixture per person to teapot, add boiling water and allow to brew. Pour through a tea strainer and sweeten to taste”.
For more of Karen’s great recipes, head over to her blog, Lavender and Lovage.
Inspired? Please let us know how you get on making the Christmas tea or Paul Welburn’s partridge recipe from our previous blog post.