Get Creative This Christmas
For me the best thing about Christmas is the food and drink and it’s a chance to treat yourself to something a little bit special, writes Tracy Hargreaves
I love cooking. I don’t profess to be very good at it, but what I do enjoy is trying new recipes or experimenting with flavours. Christmas is the ideal time to try this, with an abundance of different food available, it’s a chance to move away from the mundane daily routine we sometimes get ourselves into.
However, if you are the one entertaining this year, always make sure you practice your meal before the big day, just to make sure it’s right and to avoid any stress, keep it relatively simple. You don’t need hundreds of ingredients to make a tasty meal.
For starters, why not try something like Shukhi – a warm beetroot and mushroom salad. It’s actually a Ukraine dish which is eaten at Christmas and is usually served on toasted rye bread. Or, for a meal which can be pre-prepared, what about lobster and green bean radicchio salad? Not too heavy, but both dishes are simple to make and full of flavour and will impress your guests.
Over the festive period, the main meal on Christmas Day is traditionally turkey. However, this year, why not be a bit more adventurous and go for something different, such as beef wellington, spiced roast goose, roasted pheasant or a three-bird roast. As with any meat, make sure you read the cooking instructions and if frozen, ensure it is thoroughly thawed out before cooking.
When it comes to side dishes, there are lots of opportunities to make them stand out and shine. If you find the taste of sprouts a bit bland, then this recipe of sautéed sprouts with chorizo, chilli and garlic is delicious.
If you have room after all that for dessert, don’t always think Christmas pud. These blackberry and amaretti trifles only take 15 minutes to prepare and can be done in advance leaving them to chill for when you are ready.
Plan ahead and decide your menu early on. Give yourself plenty of time to get everything ready on the day, check the timings of the food and use a couple of timers if necessary to avoid food getting burnt. If someone offers to help, take them up on it. Getting them involved will make it more enjoyable and you’ll have someone to talk to in the kitchen.
But most importantly enjoy it. It’s always over far too quickly, so savour every moment.