We all know how it is, Christmas comes around and the first thing that anyone thinks about is food. That mince pie by the fire, the perfect golden roast potato and the horror of being made to eat brussels sprouts for another year. But we think that sometimes the humble Christmas dinner can seem a bit same old-same old and that by injecting a new leash of life into those fundamental dishes that this festive season can bring about your most accomplished and delicious dinner yet! So why not think outside the box a little and try these recipes that are the good old classics with just a little twist injected into them. From maple syrup glazed parsnips to Victoria's famous filo pastry mince pies, you can be sure to impress your guests with these this December.
Easy Filo Pastry mince pies;
First up it's Victoria's famous filo pastry mince pies. Now we all know that there's nothing better than tucking into one of these during the festive period or before if like us you simply cannot resist these little parcels of joy. The filo pastry makes them lighter than your average mince pie but also means that there is minimal stress, almost no preparation time at all, meaning you can be from prep to pie in under 20 minutes. That sounds like the perfect solution if you ask me! Maximise your pie time!
Jar of good quality mince meat approx 200g
filo pastry approx 180g
40g unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C and place a non-stick baking tray in the oven.
Lay the sheets of filo out, stacking them on top of each other. Cut the stack into six 15 cm (6 in) squares. Brush each square very lightly with melted butter and layer them, with the corners offset, to make 12 stacks of 3 squares each.
Place about 1 tbsp of the mince meat on each stack, then gather up the edges and pinch together at the top to enclose the filling.
Place the pastries on the baking tray and brush lightly with the remaining butter. Bake for 12–15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar.
Parsnips with maple syrup;
Finally, it's once again the turn of the veg. We ask the question: who doesn't like maple syrup? From our experience the answer we have found to this is actually no-one (correct us if we're wrong) . So we've developed a recipe that merges the two and gives your parsnips a sticky sweet coating that perfectly compliments their natural sugar content. Completely addictive, outrageously simple and a tried and tested winner, this formula will be getting rave reviews as soon as it hits the table.
1 kilogram parsnips
125ml olive oil
80ml maple syrup
Peel the parsnips and cut them into quarters. Parboil them until they are slightly soft and cooked most of the way through, this should take about 3-5 minutes. Place them in a roasting tin, we recommend buying the disposable foil ones, drizzle them in oil and make sure they are all coated. Then pour the maple syrup and roast until brown and tender at gas mark 6/200°C/400ºF
1 kilogram parsnips
125 ml vegetable oil
80 ml maple syrup
Brussels sprouts and chestnuts;
l Next it's all about the most feared part of Christmas, the brussels sprout. Now if like us you have memories of smushy green tasteless things then we understand why you wouldn't want to go near one. But we ask you to kindly reconsider this year as we have discovered a recipe that honestly tastes better than most vegetable dishes out there. This one is completely vegetarian but if you like your meat why not add in a handful of pancetta or lardons just to add an extra decadent touch. We promise you that your opinion will be swayed in the right direction and that sprouts will take centre stage on the table this year! BBC Good Food have the answer...
600g Brussels sprouts, halved
100ml double cream
half nutmeg, grated
200g pack vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly chopped
Place the sprouts in a pan and cover with boiling water. Cook them for around 8-10 minutes or until very soft.
Drain and leave them to cool for a few minutes before tipping them back into the saucepan and mashing to a coarse texture.
Then simply add the cream, butter and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
Turn the heat back on and cook for another 2 minutes, chuck in half the chestnuts and then sprinkle the rest over the top to serve.
This recipe inspired by Delish, ensures that your stuffing will never be overshadowed by its much larger friend; the Turkey. It combines delicious seasonal ingredients and sweet and salty taste sensations. Its really the perfect accompaniment and to be totally honest, we think we might prefer it to the bird. Make it the star of the show this Christmas.
1 round loaf of whole-grain bread
¾ of a cup of pecans
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion
1 celery stick
455g sausage (we recommend Cumberland)
1 tsp. chopped sage
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1 Granny Smith apple
2½ cups of chicken stock
salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 190°/Gas mark 5.
- Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cut up your bread into chunks and toast it on a baking tray for around 15 minutes until it has dried out and is lightly golden. Be careful not to burn it. Transfer it to a bowl.
- Now place the pecans on the tray and roast for around 9 minutes. Cool and then chop or blitz to a coarse texture.
- In a frying pan, melt the butter and add the onion, celery and sausage. Cook over a moderate heat, until the sausage is cooked through. Add the sage and thyme and stir until all incorporated. Then add the mixture to the bread in the bowl with the chopped pecans and the apple.
- On the side whisk the chicken stock together with the egg and pour over the bread mixture, season well. Scrape it into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Refrigerate it for at least one hour or if you can, overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Bake the stuffing for about 30 minutes until it is hot throughout. Then remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes longer, until the top is lightly golden with a crust. Remove and serve!
So there we have it, a whole host of ideas to spruce up your Christmas meal, using traditional ingredients but with a small twist. We cannot wait to cook this year and sharing our new-found recipes with friends and family around the table. Here's to Festive Fuel!