Blogmas – Festive Friday


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


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 – Festive Friday


It’s the first Friday of Blogmas also known, here on the blog, as Festive Friday!  The theme for today’s Festive Friday is food and drink, specifically Snacks, Starters and Drinks that can be served to guests over the festive period.

Snacks are brilliant to place out for guests to help themselves to between meals or after dinner, things like crisps, nuts and chocolates are perfect as are finger foods like vegetable sticks, breadsticks, dips, cheese and crackers.

When it comes to drinks, I like to have a selection of wines (at least one bottle of red, rose and white), fruit juices – normally apple, orange, cranberry and pineapple, posh fizzy pop (I really like the Rose lemonade), a few different spirits (gin and vodka are my usual go-to spirits), and an Irish liquor.  I also like to keep handy a selection of teas and coffee too.

There are so many different starters to choose from in the shops now that it can be hard to make a choice.  My top tips when choosing a starter are to

  • Think about what you are having for the main course and dessert and choose something that will complement the flavours of those dishes
  • Don’t choose something with super-strong flavours or is really spicy as you don’t want the starter flavour to interfere too much with the flavours of what is to come
  • Choose something that is light and not overly filling.
  • Go for something fresh like a salad if in doubt

My favourite starters have been a wild mushroom tartlet made from puff pastry, prawn cocktail and a lovely smoked salmon salad.

What are your favourite drinks, starters and snacks over the festive period?