Complete Festive Guide
I love the few days before Christmas. In fact, I think I prefer them to the day itself. I thrive on the frantic last-minute shopping, the armfuls of bags, the evenings wrapping and tying presents. Queuing out the door of the greengrocer’s to overfill my basket with every possible thing I might need (and then the same on top again).
Crisp late-night walks, when the world seems empty and the frosty air clings to the gap between my winter coat and the thick, folded wool of my hat. Christmas Day, with all its clattering of forks and spoons, is a joy, but I love the days before, where I can soak up the spirit of what’s going on, carefully gather prized ingredients and make sure everyone’s favourites are on the table.
That said, we all know it can get pretty busy in the week or two before the big day. Here I’ve gathered all of my very best recipes and articles, from my website, The Guardian, and The Pool, which I hope will make cooking your Christmas fare a little easier.
1 DECEMBER IDEAS
How to Make a Christmas Wreath – this year, my friend and florist Alex showed me a clever way of making a wreath using little bunches which made things look very pro. The house smelt of Christmas for days afterwards. This wreath is made from the things I love – foliage, subtle berries and different tones of greens.
Christmas Gifts for Food Lovers – I’ve gathered a collection of gifts that I’ll be buying for the food lovers in my family.
Homemade Christmas Gifts – There is so much delight in making at Christmas time – giving something you have stirred some love into is for me what the festive season is all about.
2 PARTY PARTY PARTY
Three Recipes for a Great Party (via The Pool) – these recipes can be made in small batches if it’s a couple of friends on the sofa, in front of the fire, with a good film, or scaled up easily to feed a party crew until the small hours.
Christmas Canapés (via The Guardian) – I am that person at a party, desperately following the one tray of vegetarian canapés around. This year I’ve come up with some new ideas to avoid the same old ones (I have genuinely been served a single broccoli floret inside a pastry cup on one occasion). So there’s mini noodle bowls and little squash dumplings, perfect alongside a glass of something sparkling.
3 THE MAIN EVENT
Top Ten Christmas Dishes – this remains one of my most popular blog posts to date with lots of eating inspiration around the big day, from the ultimate nut roast, to stand-out delicious parsnip rosti.
What I’m making this year (via The Guardian) – my husband maintains that this pie is one of the best I’ve ever made (his words, not mine.) Put it on your Christmas table and the meat eaters will be guaranteed to want a slice.
4 WINDING DOWN
Warming Hot Drinks – warm up after cold winter walks with a soothing cup of chamomile hot chocolate or golden turmeric milk.
Festive Leftover Ideas – These recipes are inspired by making the most of the Christmas leftover glut but also by the desire for fresher, cleaner, more vibrant food to counter the wonderful indulgence of Christmas.