Here are five quick and utterly delicious recipes to make Christmas extra special whether you’re hosting a party for friends and family, or you want to impress someone special.
Christmas Cocktail: Buck’s Club
It’s Christmas! Indulge yourself and forget mixing a cheap sparkling wine with a long-life boxed juice, or even worse serving up sickly pre-made Bucks Fizz. Instead, to taste the ultimate Christmas cocktail, mix some good champagne and juice of half an orange to make the special drink for the special occasion.
To go one step further and try the original Buck’s Club recipe which has a couple of secret pick-me-ups…
- Gin 30ml
- Cherry brandy 5ml
- Fresh orange juice 45ml
- Fresh tangerine juice 15ml
- Champagne 90ml
Christmas Breakfast: Avacado, Egg, Cheese and Hummous
Let’s face it, you’re going to over-eat and you’re going to feel disgusting come the 27th December. Christmas morning is the perfect time to go clean and lean to offset some of the impending guilt that’s sure to follow.
Take two slices of sourdough, rye bread, or another special loaf, and lightly toast. Generously cover one slice with mashed avocado (seasoned), then spread some hummus and thin slices of cheese (optional) on the second slice of bread.
Cook the egg in a on a medium heat in a small frying pan with a tiny bit of oil and cover with a lid (so the egg steams a little bit) until the yolk has formed a slightly white/translucent coating, the white is firm and the yolk is still runny. This gives the egg a delicious half fried half poached effect.
Stack the avocado bread on top of the hummus bread and top with the egg. Drizzle with olive oil or some basil infused oil if you can get your hands on any to finish it off.
Christmas pre-lunch nibbles: Stilton and Cranberry Croquettes
Why reserve the stilton for the evening when you’re already stuffed? These melt in your mouth croquettes are a real crowd pleaser and go down well with a pre-dinner glass of wine. The only problem is, they are so delicious, I often spoil my dinner by eating too many.
- 1kg large floury potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 200g stilton, grated or chopped into small pieces (discard the rind)
- Handful of fresh cranberries
- Handul of chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper, and vegetable oil for frying
Make mashed potato. Once cool, mix in the stilton, cranberries and parsley. Season.
Mould into croquette shape then refrigerate for a couple of hours. Flour each one, then roll in the egg, and finally roll in the breadcrumbs.
Heat oil to 160-180C in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer. Fry until golden, removing with a slotted spoon and pat dry with kitchen paper. For a nice accompanying sauce, mix some mayonnaise, toasted walnuts and finely chopped celery together.
The Ultimate Christmas Stuffing
For me, stuffing is the be-all and end-all of Christmas lunch. In fact, our family love my stuffing recipe so much that we sometimes have it on its own with mash, veg and gravy. It’s like an amazing pork meatloaf. These are guidelines only so get creative. My general rule of thumb is to mix the minced pork with breadcrumbs, onion, sage, some fresh fruit and some dried fruit and hey presto. Make sure you use good quality, outdoor reared pork, and why not use a convenient meat mincer so you know exactly what’s going in your stuffing…
- 2-3 tbsp goose fat or vegitable oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 x apple or pear
- 500g sausage meat (ideally pork shoulder, coarsely minced or ground)
- 200g fresh white breadcrumbs
- Handful of garden herbs, finely chopped (a generous amount of age and a few bits of rosmary and thyme work perfectly)
- 150g of Chopped dried fruit such as apricots, dates or sultanas
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Don’t put the stuffing inside your roast bird, instead cook the stuffing in a tray for around 35 minutes on 180c, or until cooked all the way through.
The ultimate bird… Roast Goose
Although I love turkey at Christmas, absolutely nothing beats goose for the simple fact that you can use the fat to make all the other trimmings taste better than you can ever imagine. Not only is goose a succulent and rich meat, once your guests taste the roast potatoes, they’ll revere you forever.
Preheat the oven to 220C. Prick the skin of the goose all over with a fork and rub in salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Line a deep roasting dish with more aluminium foil, enough to make a parcel to enclose the goose.
Leave the foil loose to begin with, placing it onto a wire rack in the roasting tin. Transfer to the oven and roast on the high heat for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 180C and cook for 20 minutes per 450g, covered with the foil.
Remove the foil cover after around an hour and baste the goose with the juices collected. Drain off any excess fat into a separate roasting tray to use for all of your roast potatoes and veg. Return the goose to the oven to cook, repeating the basting every 20 to 30 minutes. Cook uncovered for the last 45 minutes of roasting to make sure the skin goes really crispy.
Test the goose is cooked by piercing the thigh meat with a metal skewer. If the juices run clear the goose is ready. Rest the goose for 20 minutes before serving.
Once you go goose, you’ll never go back to turkey. Keep the leftover fat in jars to use for the next few months of epic roast potatoes.
Bucks Fizz by vxla – Flickr: Pool-side Mimosas at The Standard Hotel, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25629832