& Here’s How To Make My Favourites
Ah Winter. If you’re anything like me, it’s a time for hibernation. Curling up on the sofa with all my grey blankets and my feet snug inside my Ugg slippers. Heck, perhaps even a good film on TV (or The Affair, anyone watching?). Obviously there will be a glass of red in one hand (after my detox obviously). It’s a time for making that extra special effort, putting Deliveroo to one side and indulging in some of my favourite festive foods. Now I’ve made no secret about the fact I’m no Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen but hey, I try my best. And these recipes are super easy. Even for lazy girls like me. So here we go.
1. Smoked Mackerel Pate
The easiest, quickest thing to make to take for a party, a dinner or to offer your guests as canapés before the big meal. They’re so tasty piled onto blini’s (buy these Waitrose ones for ease) or eaten smothered on ciabatta bread.
- 1 can of boneless smoked mackerel (of cooked mackerel fillet)
- 150g cream cheese
- 1/4 cup spring onion
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- ½ lemon freshly squeezed (juice only)
- freshly ground black pepper (for seasoning)
Pop fish into a bowl and using a fork, separate the flakes so it’s chopped up. Next, add the cream cheese, chopped spring onion, chives and mustard and mix. Depending on how much you’d like to combine the ingredients, (I spend a while mixing), next add the lemon juice and pepper. Roughly mix then cover in cling film to pop into the fridge. Serve on a blini or bread and dress with some watercress (optional).
2. Baked Camembert
One of my favourite things to gorge on. I’ve been known to eat the entire block for myself. Hey, I don’t feel too guilty if I’m eating healthily 99% of the time. Ok, 60% of the other time.
- 1 pack Camembert (in box)
- 1tsp olive oil
- 1 sprigs Rosemary
- 1tsp butter
- 1tsp garlic puree
- 1 oven bake baguette
- Huge glass of red wine (optional)
Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees. Remove and disregard the top of the Camembert box. Using a fork, make six or seven insertions to help cook the inside and brush on the olive oil. Cut a sprig of rosemary into three or our four pieces and pierce the camembert with the bottoms. Pop in the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes or until you feel it’s hot enough. In a small dish, mix the butter with the garlic puree. Cut the oven bake baguette into a few pieces and smother the pieces with the butter/garlic mixture on top and bottom, either side. Bake for 8 mins. Pour a huge glass of wine and serve.
3. Sweet Warm Chocolate Raspberry Bubbles
Obviously there has to be some kind of hot chocolate involved in a festive food list. But rather than gorging on all of the sugar and fat that’ll keep you wide awake when you’re trying to sleep, I try and make mine a little more healthy. So healthy in fact that it’s practically guilt free. So for one serving, here we go.
- 3/4 cup of almond milk
- 2 raspberries
- 1tsp organic dark chocolate cocoa
- 1tsp honey
Make this in under two minutes. Pour almond milk in to a cup for blending. Add the raspberries, chocolate and honey. Blend using a nutribullet or blender, the more you blend the more froth you get. Pour through a sieve back into a drinking cup to remove the raspberry seed then pop in the microwave. Enjoy.
4. Hot Buttered Rum
Although it’s one of the few drinks that gives me an absolute killer hangover, I’ve enjoyed rum ever since it was legal to drink. So come December obviously I’m going to enjoy it even more warm, with butter and an enormous amount of spice. I almost invested in a slow cooker this year purely just to make this. It’s that good.
- 250g butter (unsalted, organic is always best)
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- zest of one orange plus the squeeze of fresh orange juice
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 50ml dark rum (less or more as desired)
- 3/4 cups boiling water
- cinnamon stick to serve (optional)
This recipe is to serve three (large) or four. There’s a slow cook version of this but this one uses boiling water so it’s super quick and easy to make. In a dish, combine the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and orange zest. Then mix in the butter and sugar. If you’ve a hand held blender, use it else throw it in the Nutribullet/blender. Once the mixture’s combined, you can split it out into the cups. Use about 2 tbsp of the mixture in each cup and then top up with about 3tbsp of rum, covering with the boiling water. Stir, add some orange and you’re done. Warning, you’ll want more than one!
5. Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate truffles quickly became one of my specialities around about the time when I first met Dan. Keen to impress him, I made a batch for his birthday – full of various colours, flavours and sizes. They went down a treat (excuse the pun).
Hand made chocolate truffles make super impressive gifts for your party hosts in the festive season and great in boxes for family. Or you can, as I like to do, eat them all yourself. Paired with strawberries and a glass of red and you’re in heaven.
- 300g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids (don’t bother with milk as it’d be way too creamy)
- 300ml double cream
- 50g butter (unsalted)
- For the toppings/insides (use as you like): Coconut shavings, small chewy caramel pieces, ground pistachio, hazelnut, orange zest, cocoa powder, or try some popping candy, white chocolate shavings or almonds.
Heat the cream and butter in a saucepan. When it starts to simmer, pour into a bowl over broken chocolate. The mix until a smooth chocolatey paste has been created. Then take two teaspoons, fill up one with the chocolate mixture and shape using the other. When formed into a truffle shape, roll in any of the toppings. Be creative and mix and match. To create a flavoured truffle on the inside, simply use your hands to shape the truffles instead and sprinkle bits of the ingredients onto your hands to make an even truffle. Then roll in cocoa powder. Pop onto greaseproof paper and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Add any flavourings to the truffle mix at this stage (divide the mixture between bowls and mix in liqueurs or other flavourings, a tsp at a time, to taste. Try bourbon, Grand Marnier, coconut rum or the zest and juice of an orange), or leave plain. Cool and chill for at least 4 hrs. Use a bit of alcohol inside to create a liqueur tasting truffle. Yummy.
What will you be making this December? Xx