Christmas Classics with a Twist
Perhaps you fancy a bit of a change this Christmas, but aren’t quite radical enough for a complete overhaul. You still want a traditional dinner, but at the same time you’re a bit bored of the same old thing. Spruce things up this year by adding new flavours, ingredients and variations to the table...
Devils or Angels on Horseback
Not a family tradition in your house? Perhaps pigs in blankets are. These are pretty similar but the 'Angel' version uses oysters wrapped in bacon, whilst 'Devils' contains dried fruit. Bring them to life by adding blue cheese and dates or a hint of chilli, finely chopped almonds or make it very festive by soaking fruit in brandy.
Ditch the dry, over-cooked packet stuffing and swap it for a fruity Middle-Eastern one. Recipes vary but the best ones contain pistachios, raisins, orange peel and a little cardamom. Very festive, and (if you want) very spicy.
Pimped up Brussel Sprouts
A vegetable that's recieved a bad reputation over the years, not just for it's gassy nature but for it's taste too. Plain old Brussels can come across quite bland and tasteless, yet they always find their way onto the table at Christmas. Pimp them up by rather adding a mixture of spices and finely slicing them or crisp up in the oven with parma ham, garlic cloves and parmesan cheese.
Alternative Mince Pies
As amazing as mince pies are, sometimes change is good. And if you're quite the baker, then there are any tasty changes to be made to test your skills. Instead of using ouff pastry, swap for shortcrust pastry and making mincemeat swirls, similar to cinnamon rolls but with mince added. Fill the pie with mince, dark chocolate drops and orange oil and top with cream - enough said.
Spicy Potato Wedges
Why not replace your roasties with something a little Mexican? It saves the effort of peeling – simply cut the potato into wedges and season with paprika, salt and garlic.
Sticky Pulled Pork
Turkey... so last year. Just because it's a classic doesn't mean we should force ourselves to have this every Christmas dinner right? Swap your meaty centrepiece for a pork shoulder; coat in maple syrup or honey and rub in olive oil and wholegrain mustard, then leave in the oven for around an hour on a low-medium heat and watch it fall apart!
This Mexican punch is an ideal winter alternative to mulled wine – and the spices will warm the cockles just as effectively. Rather than red wine, the central flavour comes from tejocotes – a Mexican species of hawthorn – so the non-drinkers won’t be left out. Yet the drinkers can add a measure of rum or brandy to their glasses; transforming it into a ponche con piquet.
Image credit: Melbourne Mermaid
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