The past year has just flown by and I am loving Christmas more so than ever before. I’ve taken some time to embrace the Christmas spirit earlier than usual this year. I spent my Sunday afternoon decorating my tree with over 250 baubles which included a reindeer, cat and a few cupcakes – naturally.
On Monday I channeled my inner Nigella and made a little Christmas cookery show. The show focussed on making a three course Christmas dinner for £5 per head for six people. We decked out my apartment with plenty of fairy lights, despite it already looking like Santa’s grotto – except with added food and no Rudolph in sight.
I started by making a light nibble of toasty bruschetta topped with tomatoes, onions, olives and drizzled in oil. This dish was super easy to make and was a great welcoming dish for friends to enjoy alongside our homemade and authentically spicy apple, orange and cinnamon punch.
To make the punch simply pour two cartons of apple juice, slices of lemon, a few sticks of cinnamon, chunks of orange stuffed with whole cloves and a spoonful of sugar into a big dish and leave to simmer on the hob until you’re ready to serve. The punch impressed everyone and it’s alcoholic free so not only is it easy to make, but easy to enjoy without the fear of a hangover!
Normally the favourite roast at Christmas is a turkey, but due to my fairly small oven I thought a medium-sized chicken would be a great alternative. I stuffed the chicken with a garlic clove, satsuma segments and chopped onions, before drizzling it in olive oil and adding a scatter of salt and pepper. I lay the chicken on a bed of sliced onions for extra flavour and popped it in the oven for an hour and half. I served the chicken with roasted honey-glazed potatoes, carrots and parsnips with a sprinkle of sea salt.
I am by no means a fan of Brussels sprouts and always aim to avoid them at our family’s Christmas dinner. But by pan frying them with a few lumps of butter, smoked bacon and leeks they were absolutely delicious. The saltiness from the bacon, butter and sweetness of the leeks certainly gave them a completely new flavour. I made a version without bacon for my vegetarian friends but still kept the butter and leeks.
And here you have it – the full main course with all the trimmings!
Of course we didn’t stop there, earlier in the day I made a traditional apple, cinnamon and raisin crumble. I followed the recipe and instructions from Merrilees Parker (BBC Food), but added a handful of raisins and left a few chunky pieces of the mixture for extra crunch. The dessert was served fresh out of the oven and everyone around the table became silent – it was sweet and deliciously chewy. I served the dessert with a few dollops of vanilla ice cream and offered mince pies for those who still had room in their tummy!
So there you have it, a delicious three course Christmas dinner for £30. Now all that’s left to do is invite your friends over, create a festive playlist and choose your favourite Christmas jumper!
Unfortunately the £30 didn’t include any alcohol – but there are some great deals available at the moment including £4.99 mulled wine at Lidl/Aldi.
In other news, on Saturday I had a great time with my friends at the Romanian evening. We ate amazing traditional food (including salata boef, sarmale with mamaliga and apple pie), enjoyed a few drinks of Captain Morgan and danced the night away – perfect.
Unfortunately we didn’t take too many photos, but I managed to take a few before we left…
Greta and I also visited the Christmas markets for some spicy plum mulled wine and enjoyed the festive stalls. I will be posting another post dedicated to the Manchester Christmas Markets, but for now here are a few photos for you to enjoy!
Hope you’ve been enjoying your advent calendar and stay tuned for my series of Christmas 101 posts – to be published soon!