Blogmas – Festive Friday

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We are edging ever closer to Christmas and this Festive Friday my thoughts are on desserts to be served after dinner on the big day!  There are so many different desserts to choose from and every store seems to create a fantastic show-stopper of a dessert that it is really hard to choose any single one!

I am a huge fan of any kind of dessert, seriously, it’s my favourite food group!  The problem I have is whether to choose a fruit-based dessert or chocolate or caramel!  I have come to a conclusion though, after a lot of thought… after a big meal, something that is light and fresh is a good choice so I am thinking of serving something like a lemon mousse or meringue, or even some sorbet or ice cream after dinner.

I have seen a lot about serving 2 desserts, one after the main course and then one later on with coffees, and I really like that idea.  The great thing about this is that you can serve a richer dessert later then with the coffees.  A dark chocolate torte would be the perfect accompaniment to coffee!

What are you thinking of serving as dessert on Christmas Day?  Let me know what you would suggest in the comments!

Blogmas – Festive Friday

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We are getting so much closer to Christmas that I can almost smell the Christmas dinner cooking!  And, today that is what this post is all about…Christmas Dinner!

When I was a kid I remember Mum spending so long preparing and cooking the main course of our dinner, the turkey taking the longest, being roasted and basted and roasted some more until it was perfect.  The smells in the house were amazing and my brothers and I would eagerly await the meal.

I still stick to a fairly traditional Christmas dinner and have roast parsnips, carrots and potatoes, mashed potato, peas, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower cheese, broccoli, Yorkshire pudding and gravy.  The only thing I switch is the meat, I’m pescatarian (I eat fish but most of my food is around 75% vegetarian with a very slow switch over to vegan) and in years past I have cooked a Quorn Vegetarian Roast which has been a big hit with family and friends.

This year I am cooking Christmas dinner with my friend and then having a dinner cooked by my Mum on Boxing Day which will be shared with my brothers, sister in law and my niece and nephew as well as my Mum and Dad.  I have no idea what Mum will be cooking but I know that it will be tasty whatever we have.  I do know that it will be along the lines of a traditional dinner though, just meat-free for me.  The meal that my friend and I will be preparing and cooking will be fairly traditional too though I have been looking at vegan options for the main course and I can’t wait.

Brussel sprouts, peas and broccoli are my favourite veg and I’d be happy with that and vegetable gravy!  I like to just steam those and then serve.  The roast root vegetables (parsnips and carrots) always get part roasted in oil with a tiny bit of salt before I remove from the oven and drizzle with maple syrup before they go back into the oven to finish off.  I find that the maple syrup adds to the sweetness of the vegetables and gives them a sticky, almost chewy consistency which is lovely.

Most of my energy goes into the preparation of the vegetables – so much peeling and chopping before cooking but, having some music on and a nice glass of gin and tonic help the time to pass quickly!  I am really looking forward to all the preparation and cooking of dinner this year!

What are your favourite things to serve for the main meal on Christmas day?  I’d love to hear about what you have so let me know in the comments!

Blogmas – Merry Monday

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It’s now the second Monday in December and I am back with another Merry Monday Blogmas post!  Today’s post is all about dinner planning!  Hopefully, by now you will have an idea of who will be coming to Christmas dinner and have a list of guests along with any dietary requirements so we can start to plan the meal!

Christmas dinner in my house tends to be a lot like a traditional roast dinner but with a few extra special touches.  I don’t eat meat so serve either a nut roast or some kind of meat-free main, such as a Quorn Roast as an alternative to meat.

I have a look at food magazines and Pinterest to get an idea of things that I would like to serve for starters and dessert, and I also use store magazines (Asda and Tesco both do brilliant magazines with some really lovely recipes).  Once I have decided on the starter and dessert I print out or cut out the recipe, write out a list of ingredients and then file the recipe away safely.

Next on my agenda is to write out all of the ingredients for the main course that I want to serve, things like potatoes, carrots, peas, Brussel sprouts all go on the list.  I then think about all of the extras that go along with the meal – gravy, other condiments, drinks, garnish, cream and other things.

Once I have a full list made up I then check the cupboards and assess what I have and what I need to stock up on.  By this point, my list looks awful and is full of crossings out and notes that I have made beside things.  When I have an idea of what is needed and I have checked all of my cupboards I then re-write the list out tidily so I can understand it at a glance when I take it shopping!

I like to calculate the amounts of things I will need so I look at how many people I will be cooking for and make calculations based on roughly what a portion of each vegetable and other food is, then multiply it by the number of guests before adding on an extra portion (just in case anyone else may come).  Once I have all of this figured out I then make a start on buying all of the ingredients that are either frozen or won’t go off.  I leave buying the fresh vegetables, cream and other perishables until nearer to Christmas Day.

Have you decided on your Christmas Menu?  What will you be having?  I’d love to hear about your food plans in the comments!