Whether you planning a quiet Christmas at home this year or raising the roof with raucous parties – it’s always good to have a few quick and easy go-to recipes up your sleeve, so you don’t feel like you’ve spent the entire holiday period slaving away in the kitchen, or if unexpected guests turn up – you will never get caught short. Here is a round-up of some of our favourite quick and easy, but completely delicious, Christmas nibbles.
You will need:
- A whole camembert or brie – if you don’t have a camembert baker, look for one in a box that is stapled and not glued (as the glue will come unstuck in the oven)
- 1 Garlic clove, sliced thinly
- A few springs of fresh thyme
- A drizzle or dry white wine (or olive oil)
- If using a baker, simply place the cheese into your baker, if baking in its own box, remove the plastic wrapping from the cheese and line the inside of the box with tin foil, then place the cheese back in the box
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C for Fan Ovens)
- Pierce the top of the cheese with a sharp knife and place a sliver of garlic and a few thyme leaves in each hole
- Gently drizzle the wine over the top and replace the lid of the baker, or box. (You can use olive oil here instead - if you don’t want to use any of your wine, or have teetotallers visiting)
- Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes, or until the centre is moulten and sumptuous
- Serve with crusty bread – French bread, sourdough, garlic bread, all work wonderfully
- To make it more of a meal, you can serve with cold meats and pickles
- But be careful – hot cheese is addictive, after all!
Honey & Mustard Sausages
You will need:
- Cocktail Sausages (or Chipolatas if you like them a little bigger!)
- 3 Tablespoons Clear Honey
- 3 Tablespoons Whole Grain Mustard (or 1 Tablespoon of Dijon, if you prefer)
- 1 Tablespoon Cooking Oil
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C Fan Ovens)
- Add the oil to a roasting pan and warm in the oven for a few minutes
- Toss your sausages to coat them in the oil and then roast in the oven for around 20 minutes (times will vary depending on the size of your sausages)
- Once they are cooked through and a lovely brown colour remove from the oven and drain well on kitchen paper.
- Tip your sausages into a clean roasting pan (or back into the previous one, that has been wiped out)
- In a small bowl thoroughly mix the honey and mustard and pour this all over the cooked sausages, stir to ensure every sausage is coated
- Place them back in the oven for 5 minutes, stirring them halfway through.
- They can be served warm or cold (be careful – they will be very hot when first taken from the oven) – serve in a lovely dish or bowl with a pot of toothpicks so everyone can dig in.
To save time when entertaining, you can cook the sausages in advance, then simply glaze and warm when your guests arrive.
BLT Lettuce Boats
You will need:
- 1 Pack Streaky Bacon (pre-cooked Streaky Bacon will work well)
- A handful of cherry tomatoes (any sweet tomatoes will work)
- 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 2 Teaspoons Tomato Ketchup (optional)
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Gem Lettuce
- Cook the bacon until crispy, then set aside to cool. It will get even crispier as it cools. (Skip this step if using pre-cooked bacon)
- Once cooled, crumble the bacon into a mixing bowl
- Finely chop the tomatoes and add to the bacon, stir in the mayonnaise and ketchup 9if using)
- A quick grind of black pepper and you are ready to go
- To serve, simply separate the Gem lettuce leaves out into individual ‘boats’ and pop a spoonful of the BLT mix onto eat.
- Serve on a beautiful platter and enjoy
Devils on Horseback
You will need:
- Large dried fruit – such as dates, stoned prunes or apricots (allow 3 or 4 per person)
- Streaky bacon
- Place a rasher of bacon on a board and wrap each fruit in a single slice, secure in place with a toothpick and place on a grillpan, leaving a little space between them
- Grill until they are sizzling and the bacon is cooked, turning as needed.
The beauty of this recipe is that it is consummately adaptable to whatever ingredients you have to hand. The bacon can be substituted for Palma ham, the fruit can be whatever you have to hand – it doesn’t even have to be fruit! Angels on Horseback traditionally had an oyster in the middle, but it works with Chicken Livers too. Nigel Slater even recommends soaking your prunes in Brandy before wrapping them, or stuffing them with whole nuts. The variations are endless!