I’m very excited about Christmas this year as I’ll finally be getting my hands on my very own copy of Larousse Gastronomique – it’s basically an encyclopaedia of French cookery and I’ve been ogling it for many years now without plucking up the courage to actually buy it (it’s very expensive you see). Anyway, my auntie (who owns a book shop) has come up trumps since I’ve been advising her on the cookery books she should have in stock – which have all been flying off the shelves faster than she can stock them - so I’m beside myself with excitement at the moment….
Christmas is going to be very hectic this year – my boyfriend’s birthday is on the 22nd, his brother is getting married in Killarney on the 29th , I’ve to try and tie in with all my regular friends as well as the friends I only see once a year and help with the Christmas preparations at home. I’m not complaining, I enjoy the madness and for New Years, I’ve decided to bring the gang to me and host a New Years party at home.
With everything going on, I’m not going to have much time to prepare anything too fancy but I’ll give you some ideas on what I’ll be doing if you’re having people over yourself and don’t have time to prepare anything too complex.
Homemade Sausage Rolls
These can be made in advance & frozen. Just buy some ready made puff pastry and some minced pork. Season the pork and add some chilli flakes & paprika, mix well and shape into a sausage. Lie this on the pastry and cover over sealing with egg wash. Chop into bite size sausage rolls, dip the top into a bowl of sesame seeds and score the pastry with a knife. If you’re freezing these, freeze on a baking tray until frozen and transfer to a bag once frozen – this prevents them from sticking together. Pop it into an oven at 180C for 20 minutes and add 5 minutes if cooking from frozen. You’ll be so smug when people enquire as to where you got the delicious sausage rolls!!!
Feta, Olive & Tomato Tartlets
Cut some 3” rounds out of store bought puff pastry and place in an oiled bun tin. Mix some chopped feta (about a regular sized pack) with a smaller amount of either semi-sun dried tomatoes or cherry tomatoes with the seeds removed and a couple of tablespoons of tapenade (I got mine in olio e farina). Put a spoon of this onto the pastry and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. These are yummy & may be served hot or cold.
Smoked Salmon & Cherry Tomato Bites
This is a bit fiddley so if you don’t want the hassle of stuffing cherry tomatoes, the salmon mix is lovely as a dip, on a cracker or on brown bread. All you need to do is blitz equal amounts of cream cheese & smoked salmon with a squeeze of lemon and a good twist of black pepper; then cut the tops off the cherry tomatoes, scoop out the seeds, spoon in the mix and put the ‘lid’ back on top. Allow 2 per guest (not everyone likes smoked salmon).
Take a tortilla chip, spoon on some salsa, then some cheese then top with some chopped jalapeno and put under the grill til the cheese melts. Scoff!
Crudites with Hummus
Slice some peppers, carrots, toasted pitta bread and serve with hummus. Hummus is easy to make if you have a good mixer (it’s 5 parts chick peas to 1 part tahini, some garlic, lemon juice and salt) but the store bought stuff is great if mixed with a tub of greek yoghurt. It makes it really Moorish!!!
There’s a few ideas for you which won’t be a killer to prepare.
Have a Merry Christmas y’All…..