Whether you’re cooking for a family of four, or a big group of ten, Christmas day can be a challenge for anyone. It can be a juggle, from timings to catering for everyone’s dietary needs, and yet still trying not to spend all day in the kitchen.
Here are a few of our tried and tested recipes to help you get a head start on the big day.
Canapes – Pesto and Goats Cheese Palmiers
These little nibbles are easy to make, and freeze, ready for popping into the oven on the day, keeping you free to enjoy a glass of something fizzy!
- 500g Ready made puff pastry
- 200g Red pesto
- 150g Soft goats cheese
- 1 beaten egg
- A little plain flour for dusting
- Cut the pastry into two.
- Lightly flour a surface, and roll out the first piece of pastry into a large rectangle (approximately 18cm x 35cm).
- Mix the goats cheese with the pesto.
- Spread half of the mixture evenly over the pastry.
- Taking the long side of the pastry, roll up tightly until you reach the middle, then repeat on the other long side so the two rolls touch one another in the centre.
- Repeat with the second half of the pastry block.
- Wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the wrap, onto the floured surface, trim off the ends, and slice into 1 cm pieces.
- These can now be frozen until you need them.
- To cook, simply preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6, and space the palmiers on a non stick baking sheet.
- Brush with beaten egg, and cook for 15 minutes, until crisp and golden.
Starters – Easy Tomato Soup
Starters, when you’ve got a feast ahead of you, should be light and simple. This one is quick, and easy to freeze!
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 Cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp Chilli flakes
- 2ooml Water
- 2 tbsp Double Cream
- Shredded basil to serve
- In a saucepan, heat the oil, add the chilli flakes, garlic and the onion. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, water and bring to a boil.
- Simmer on a gentle heat for five minutes.
- Turn off the heat, and allow to cool.
- Once cool, transfer to a blender (or use a hand blender) to puree until smooth.
- Add the cream and season to taste.
- It can now be frozen in portions, ready to bring out for the day itself. Simply heat, and serve, sprinkled with the shredded basil.
Main – Simple Sides
When it comes to the main event, timing is everything. Why not save a little hassle and make your mashed potatoes the day before (they can be reheated in the microwave on the day itself) or even freeze them!
Indulgent Mashed Potatoes
1kg potatoes peeled and cut into cubes (Maris Pipers are perfect)
40g Butter unsalted, at room temperature
120ml single cream or whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the potatoes into a large pan, and top with salted water.
Bring to the boil, and cook the potatoes for about 15 mins or until tender.
Transfer to a colander and drain well, then return to the pan.
In the meantime, gently heat the cream/milk and butter in a small pan until the butter has melted, then pour over the cooked potatoes.
Remove the pan from the heat, and ash potatoes using a potato masher until no lumps remain.
Season well, and cool.
Transfer to an airtight container and put in the fridge til you need them, or indeed pop into the freezer.
Pudding – Mince Pie Ice Cream
OK, so you might want to go traditional with dessert, but Christmas pudding can be a little heavy after such a big dinner. We’ve kept it simple with a make at home mince pie ice cream, that’s an absolute treat!
- 8 Mince Pies of your choice
- 1 vanilla pod
- 570ml whole milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 2tbsp caster sugar
- 200ml Double cream
- Grated chocolate or cinnamon to serve
- First we need to make the custard.
Split the vanilla pod in half and add to a saucepan with the milk. Warm gently until almost at boiling point.
Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl beat together the egg yolks and sugar.
Remove the vanilla pod, then whisking constantly, mix the warm milk into the beaten egg yolks and sugar.
Pour the mixture back into the pan.
Stir over a low heat until it thickens, this takes around 5 minutes. Once the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon it’s done.
Remove from the heat, and leave to cool completely.
Once cool, we can make the ice cream.
Pour the double cream to the custard into a freezer proof container, and stir to combine.
Put into the freezer for 2 hours.
After two hours, remove the container from the freezer and crumble the mince pies into the soft ice cream. Stir.
Return to the freezer for another 5 hours, or overnight.
Serve with a dusting of cinnamon, or a grate of dark chocolate.