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It is about getting your prep done ahead of time and waking up to a relaxing day so you can sit back and enjoy your time with your family and friends.
This is definitely not the year to have added stress.
I have included some old classics which your friends and family will relate to and absolutely love not only the flavours but the nostalgia it brings with it.
I have also included a summery drink to accompany the day and, to be honest, I think we all could do with a drink!
Merry Christmas everyone and be kind x.
I like to have recipes like this up my sleeve. You can whip this pate up very fast and it can be a very helpful go-to in the fridge.
You can spread it on toast, crackers and of course it can be spruced up for Christmas with the addition of artisan bread, crackers, dried fruits and tasty relish.
300g fresh chicken livers
125g unsalted butter
1 shallot or small onion, finely diced
2 (150g) field mushrooms, finely sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme or summer savoury, leaves only
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 Tbsp light beer
Salt and ground black pepper
Using a sharp knife, clean up the livers by removing any connective tissue or sinew.
Heat a medium sized fry pan over moderate heat and add 20g butter.
Add the diced onions, mushrooms, herbs and garlic. Cook until soft but not coloured (8 minutes). Remove and set aside.
Return the pan back to the heat and when hot add the livers, cook for about 3 minutes on each side, season well.
Add the beer and allow to bubble away until reduced by two-thirds.
Add back the shallot and herb mixture.
Add the cream to the pan and once it begins to bubble and thicken, pour everything into a blender and blend until a smooth puree forms.
With the motor running, add the remaining butter in small cubes, you will notice the heat from the livers will help to emulsify the pate. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Pour into a non-reactive dish, cover and set in the fridge. It will last for up to 3 days.
I remember prawn cocktail as a child and it was on menus everywhere. You can make a large bowl or individual servings in glasses.
It is a light, refreshing starter to your meal and very easy to assemble and transport if need be.
The preparation can be done the day before and assemble just before eating.
600g prawns, peeled and cooked
½ cucumber (100g)
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ red onion
200g baby gem or small cos leaves, washed and drained
50g watercress or rocket leaves,
Pinch sea salt and cracked pepper
1 tsp fresh dill or fennel frogs (leaves)
2 Tbsp good quality mayonnaise
2 Tbsp creme fraiche
2 Tbsp tomato sauce
Splash or two of tabasco or similar hot sauce
Splash of worcestershire sauce
Lemon or lime wedges for serving
Pinch of cayenne for serving
Prepare the prawns, by defrosting in the fridge overnight. Rinse and pat dry. Lightly score the back of the prawn from top to bottom so it slightly opens up and devein. This is a little dark vein that you will see, gently pull out and discard. Keep the prawns in the fridge until required.
Prepare all your salad ingredients such as washing and drying your lettuce. This will keep well overnight in the fridge in a covered container. It will also help to keep it extra crunchy.
Peel the cucumber and remove the seeds, cut into small dice, add a little lime juice, salt and chopped dill. Add the diced red onion and toss through, set aside.
To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, add a little lime juice and adjust the balance. Some people like it spicy and some not, that is up to you.
To assemble on the day - Tear up the lettuce and place on the bottom of your dish, scatter over the marinated cucumber and onion. Slice the avocado, squeeze over a little lime juice and sprinkle over salt and pepper and place this on top of the cucumber.
Dress the prawns (leaving a few aside for garnishing) in the dressing and generously place on top.
Serve with the remaining prawns on top or hanging over the rim of the bowl/glasses, sprinkle over a little cayenne pepper, lime wedges and a few watercress and dill leaves.
Best eaten immediately.
I always remember the trifle coming out at Christmas and I was never too fond of it, to be honest.
But if you think about the many delicious layers that go into a ‘‘good’’ trifle from jammy sponge, fresh berries, dreamy, creamy custard and a generous splash or two of sherry (optional of course) and freshly whipped cream to finish, what’s not to like?
You definitely need to make this a day or two ahead of Christmas as it requires a bit of preparation and the flavour improves also.
Take care making this, as the dessert is always the talking point and it is the perfect finish to your fantastic day.
4 large eggs
100g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
100g self-raising flour
175g raspberry or strawberry jam
4 egg yolks
25g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
150ml dry sherry
300g fresh or frozen raspberries, plus extra for serving
300ml cream, lightly whipped
50g sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
Begin by making the swiss roll.
Preheat the oven to 190degC, grease and line a 33cm×23cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper.
For the Swiss roll, whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture is light and airy and the whisk leaves a trail when lifted out.
Sift the flour into the mixture and carefully fold through. Pour into the prepared baking tray, gently spreading evenly, ensuring you get into the corners.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the sponge is golden brown and begins to shrink from the edges of the tin.
While the cake is cooking, place a piece of baking paper, a little bigger than the size of the tin, on the work surface and dust it with caster sugar.
Turn the cake out on to the sugared paper and peel off the paper. Make a score mark running down one of the long sides, about 2cm in from the edge, being careful not to cut right through (this is to stop it cracking when rolling it up).
Spread the jam evenly over the sponge.
Roll the sponge, starting with the longest edge to form a Swiss roll. Gently roll it a little to secure the edges. Allow to cool.
When cool, cut into 14 rounds and place neatly into the base and sides of your dish.
Drizzle over the sherry and allow to soak in.
Gently squash the raspberries and scatter over the sponge.
To make the custard
Place the milk and cream in a saucepan over a gentle heat and heat it to just below simmering point.
While the cream is heating, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour mixture and the vanilla in a medium bowl. Then, whisking the egg mixture all the time with one hand, gradually pour the hot milk and cream into the bowl.
Return the mixture back to your saucepan. Whisk over a gentle heat continuously until a thick custard forms.
Pour the custard over the sponge and raspberries and allow to set and cool completely.
Cover loosely and chill overnight.
On the morning of serving the trifle, whip the cream with a little vanilla and spread generously over the top of the trifle.
Decorate with raspberries and toasted almonds.
I think we all deserve a drink of sorts to celebrate the big day. I love the fruity, refreshing flavours of this summery sangria.
You can certainly make this non-alcoholic by omitting the alcohol and replacing it with some cranberry juice.
MAKES ABOUT 1 LITRE,
1 bottle (750ml) rose
300ml sparkling water
2 lemons, 1 juiced and 1 chopped
300g berries - strawberries, blueberries, cherries, et cetera
3 Tbsp raw cane sugar
1 cinnamon stick
10g fresh ginger, sliced thinly
2 firm peaches, sliced thinly
10 fresh mint leaves, lightly bruised
Begin the day or week before, by macerating then freezing the berries. Finely chop the oranges and one lemon with the sugar (can be done in the food processor). Pour into a bowl and gently mix through the berries. Cover and let macerate for at least an hour or two.
When the fruit is ready, pour into ice cube trays or something similar and freeze.
When ready to make your sangria, add the frozen berries into a large jug or punch bowl, pour over the chilled rose, brandy and sparkling water, add the cinnamon stick, ginger, peach slices and mint and mix.
Add ice cubes and enjoy all day long.