Occasional Dishes for Christmas.
At this time of year, when we’re busy with shopping for gifts, food shopping, visiting family and friends, it’s easy just to eat snacks on the run. It’s also very easy to get very bored with turkey. Here are some fairly simple dishes you can cook to make your pre and post Christmas evenings, lunchtimes, and mornings a little more interesting.
Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked harvest has given us this pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin, looks delicious, and I will be definitely making this dish for dinner on Christmas Eve. There is some real comfort food here to take away the stresses of Yuletide.
Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
Chungah at Damn delicious offers us sheet pan steak and veggies. You can’t find an easier meal than this and it looks damn delicious too.
Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies
The lovely Averie at Averie cooks has this dead simple dish of curry coconut sweet potato fries with cucumber dill dip. Great to snack on or as a side dish with steak or pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin.
Curry Coconut Oil Sweet Potato Fries with Cucumber Dill Dip
Something a little different from Cooking Without Limits; nests of meat stuffed wine vines rolls for Christmas. I’ve had these in Greece, and I can tell you they are a fabulous dish.
Nests of Meat Stuffed Wine Vines
If you have a house full of guests over Christmas, just what can you make at breakfast time that doesn’t involve loads of pans and mess. Well, thanks to Elise Baur at Simply Recipes and Sheryl Julian, you can make this ham and cheese breakfast casserole, and it will satisfy the hungriest house guest.
Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
I really like lamb, and although I don’t cook it often, I will be roasting a leg of lamb for this coming New Year’s Eve. So this recipe for slow roast lamb with ancho chilli and garlic marinade from Australian Cooking Up The Pantry is very apposite today. But beware, this dish will take around 6 hours in the oven.
Onion Brie Appetisers
a great big thank you to all the cooks featured this Christmas, and throughout 2016
have a very Merry Christmas
Christmas Party Booze
‘Tis the season to be jolly.
Some people like parties, and some people like drinking. For people who like a lot of both, here are some drinks that should probably go down well at Christmas Parties. Good Grief!
Remember, anyone can make a really strong cocktail that will get people very drunk very fast ~ but how good a party does that make? So here are some more tastefully interesting drinks.
First up this week is a great looking cocktail I found on Jessica Merchant’s site how sweet it is we have this great recipe for rose champagne mojitos. I would serve these to my discerning guests.
Rose Champagne Mojitos
For a different take on the mojito, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest gives us this brilliant looking White Christmas Mojito.
White Christmas Mojito
Maple Apple Cider
Here’s something for a Californian Christmas. Recovering pastry chef, the bojon gourmet has these rosemary, pomegranate and grilled meyer lemon vodka sparklers. Don’t try saying all that after drinking five or six of those things.
Rosemary Pomegranate and Grilled Meyer Lemon Vodka Sparklers
From Chungah at Damn Delicious there’s a simple and easy strawberry pineapple mimosa, although in England we call champagne and orange juice Buck’s Fizz, and we make it a lot stronger. Add a splash of brandy to that and you’ve got yourself a fresh juice Barbotage. Consume that Barbotage very carefully.
Strawberry Pinapple Mimosa
This recipe for holiday rum punch, by Tracy Shutterbean, (aka Tracy Benjamin), is straight from the San Francisco bay area. I’ve drunk rum punch in San Francisco, and I know that if you’re not careful this punch could get you very drunk. Nice.
Holiday Rum Punch
At some time during your own party, you may want to retire to a quiet corner, perhaps with a special friend, and enjoy a glass of the water of life. If you don’t know about whisky, here’s a post from Todd and Diane in LA, the White On Rice Couple, telling you all about the different types of whisk(e)y. Back in the day I drank Laphroaig ~ too strong and too sophisticated for most ordinary men.
If all that wasn’t enough, from Country Living magazine here are 28 Christmas cocktails that will make you forget all about the presents. These are are pretty easy, including this winter wonderland cocktail, originally from Nicole at the Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie.
Winter Wonderland Cocktail
How about some appetisers to go with all this booze? Heather Christo has the ultimate vegan appetizer platter, Damn Delicious has cheesy garlic bread, and easy firecracker shrimp, Cooking up the Pantry has cheese and mustard puffs, Half Baked Harvest has a cheese fondue board, or you can check out Food on Friday # 25 ~ Bar Snacks.
Easy Firecracker Shrimp
just don’t be a crass American and serve beers in the bottle, give your guests a glass.
Brussels Sprouts are one of those vegetables which should be much better liked than it is ~ it’s a superfood packed with nutrients and health-giving trace elements. In England we typically only serve brussels sprouts at Christmas, but I guess that in the USA they are a popular side dish at Thanksgiving.
At Thanksgiving and Christmas you need all the oven space you can get, so first up this week we have a crockpot dish. From Chungah at Damn Delicious we have slow cooker balsamic brussels sprouts, and while this may take 4 hours to cook, it only takes 10 minutes to prepare.
Slow Cooker Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
Next from the lovely Southern California girl Averie, at Averie Cooks, we have another slant on balsamic brussels sprouts ~ roasted this time. This is a 35 minute dish, so it will cook while the turkey is resting.
Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Here’s something fun and very different from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; nutty wild rice & shredded brussels sprouts stuffed mini pumkins. This dish may persuade even the hardest die hard brussels sprouts hater to try the damn things.
Nutty Wild Rice and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Stuffed Mini Pumpkins
Another roasted brussels sprouts recipe, this time from Andrea at Cooking With A Wallflower; teriyaki glazed roasted brussels sprouts. Andrea says this is only a 15 minute dish, so it’s great if you’re pressed for time.
Teriyaki Glazed Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Another interest in recipe, from Cooking Up The Pantry, brussels sprouts with chorizo and red onion. Add some garlic and you have a really powerful dish.
Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo and Red Onion
Or, you could just boil your brussels sprouts and add a little butter. This is a very simple recipe from Epicurious.
Buttered Brussels Sprouts
Finally for this week, from Cooking at the New York times we have their 17 best brussels sprouts recipes for Thanksgiving, including this 45 minute dish of roasted brussels sprouts with garlic by Mark Bittman. One thing’s for certain, this dish is going to make you stink a little bit.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic
A very big thank you
to all the great cooks
featured in this week’s
Food on Friday
There’s nothing quite as nice as a home-made soup. So, how about some soups for early autumn?
Here in my part of England there has been a sudden change in the weather. The bright sunshine has gone, to be replaced by cold, grey, damp mists. A warming soup is the perfect thing to come home to after a long walk in the early autumn.
Also, soup is great to make for dinner, and then taking to work for lunch the following day. A good tip, when you cook, always make enough so there are some leftovers for another meal. Who can find the time to cook every single meal from scratch?!?
First this week, from Simply Recipes we have a dish by Sally Vargas ~ creamy tomato and white bean soup. I know my friend in Orange County will like this because the recipe calls for a lot of garlic. I think I’d be tempted to cheat on this dish and use canned chopped tomato ~ if I couldn’t find the time to go and buy fresh wholesome produce.
Creamy Tomato and White Bean Soup
This is a cracking dish from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest ~ crockpot French onion soup with cheesy French toast. And this post from Tieghan is a video. You know what, a couple of bowls of this would make a lovely dinner for a cooler evening.
Crockpot French Onion Soup with Cheesy French Toast
I can’t say that I’m a big fan of pumpkins, but I like the look of this creamy pumpkin and cumin soup from English girl Petra at Food Eat Love. And, I’ve just been reading some stuff that says cumin, especially black cumin, is incredibly good for you. So, I’m going to try this dish with black cumin…
Creamy Pumpkin and Cumin Soup
Now from Ros at Cooking Up The Pantry we have a great looking, and different, cream of carrot soup with fresh garlic and thyme. What’s not to like?
Cream of Carrot Soup with Fresh Garlic and Thyme
Chungah at Damn Delicious gives us this tasty, healthy, and unbelievably easy 30 minute recipe for Thai shrimp soup. This looks bloody brilliant!
Easy Thai Shrimp Soup
This is just a fabulous recipe from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet It Is ~ late summer corn tortilla soup. And I know my friend in Orange County will be impressed with this, because it’s garnished with sliced radishes ~ and there’s no cheese!
Late Summer Corn Tortilla Soup
Finally for this week from Heather Christo we have this great collection of 25 soups to soothe. How cool is that?
25 Soups To Soothe You
A big thank you to the fabulous cooks featured
in this week’s Food on Friday
I hope ‘the girl riding shotgun’ appreciates
these recipes I’ve found.
On British television there used to be an honourable tradition of advertising the benefits of eating eggs. (Food rationing did not end in Britain until 1954…. no wonder I was a very small baby…) One famous slogan was; Eggs is cheap, eggs is easy… But, for goodness sakes, how many things can you do with an egg….? Well, as it turns out, a lot.
The thing is, eggs on their own are well, just eggs.
First up this week we have Chungah from Damn Delicious with her Italian baked eggs. Chungah says she used left-over marinara sauce in this dish. I guess if it came right down to it you would get away with some chopped tomato or passata…
Italian Baked Eggs
The very first time I was left alone in Southern California I made the twin mistakes of calling at an authentic Mexican roadside diner and ordering authentic Mexican Huevos Rancheros…. Terrible! But Heather Christo has this wonderful recipe for Huevos Rancheros to die for.
The lovely Averie Sunshine has something which is right up my street, an easy one pan dish. Averie offers a recipe I would eat for breakfast, lunch, or a midweek dinner ~ this easy eggs, sausage, and hash browns skillet.
Easy Eggs, Sausage, and Hash Browns Skillet
Next, and we are a little heavy on the potatoes here, but in my view they are a better source of carbohydrates than bread, and they make a great base for a work-lunch salad. Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest gives us this grilled potato salad with almond-basil chimichurri and 7-minute eggs. And, that’s one substantial lunch, or a fairly good dinner. If I was avoiding carbs I think I’d substitute with extra mushrooms and some red peppers.
Grilled Potato Salad with Almond-Basil Chimichurri & 7-Minute Eggs
From reformed pasty chef, The Bojon Gourmet, we have rice and eggs. Allegedly this fairly sensible breakfast is authentically Chinese ~ doesn’t look like it, it looks nice. This dish is the kind of thing I would eat for breakfast, or a light lunch.
Rice and Eggs
Here’s something I hadn’t thought of, but now Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has told us, it’s flippin’ obvious that egg in avocado topped with turkey bacon is a flippin’ good idea. Although, here in England I would likely use regular bacon.
Egg In An Avocado Topped With Turkey Bacon
Here’s something else I hadn’t thought of, from Cooking Up The Pantry, baked eggs in mushrooms with parmesan. I guess if you don’t have parmesan to hand you could give this a try with any decent cheese.
Baked Eggs In Mushrooms With Parmesan
A personal favourite of mine is to fry off some bacon and onion with a little garlic, in a small skillet. Add a small can of chopped tomatoes, and cook it down a little. Carefully break a couple or three eggs onto the top, and then bake in a medium oven for about 5 minutes. A one pan complete meal in 15 minutes or so. (Should have taken a picture the last time I made this.)
A great big thank you to all the fine cooks featured this week.
Figs? FIGS!!! I used to believe figs only came in biscuits called fig rolls, (or cookies called fig newtons). Now I am more of a worldly-wise guy I know figs are delicious fresh, and in a load of cool recipes. I’m also given to understand that the warmer parts of the world are awash with ripening figs just now.
Figs are the original superfood. As well as being highly nutritious, they are also good for helping with constipation, (I knew that), indigestion, piles bronchitis asthma, and high blood pressure. There is a couple of millenia of anecdotal evidence that figs are an aphrodisiac too. (male or female or both?)
From the White on Rice Couple, Todd Porter and Diane Cu, we have this cool and very easy dish; baked figs with bacon, blue cheese, roasted nuts. Todd and Diane are based out of Orange County in SoCal, and I think my friend who lives out there will like this recipe.
Baked Figs With Bacon, Blue Cheese, Roasted Nuts
Teighan Gerard hails from Silverthorne, Colerado, and there must be a lot of figs there too. Teighan, (aka Half Baked Harvest), always has fabulous-looking salads, and this one is no exception; nectarine and fried mozzarella caprese salad, (there are figs too).
Nectarine & Fried Mozzarella Caprese Salad
For a cool mixture of sweet and savoury in an allergen-free recipe, Heather Christo has this couscous salad with currants, figs, and pistachios. Great to make too much and take the leftovers to the office for lunch.
Couscous Salad With Currants, Figs, & Pistachios
I don’t drink these days, but I still enjoy booze in cooking, and I think pork tenderloin is such a great cut. Add some figs to that and we have bourbon fig & gorgonzola stuffed pork tenderloin, thanks to Jessica Merchant at How Sweet It Is.
Bourbon Fig & Gorgonzola Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
This is such a classic dish, either as an appetiser, or as a party staple, and I’d forgotten all about it until I was writing this post. So, thanks to Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower, we have bacon wrapped figs. (The good news is these are zero carbs and do your digestion the power of good.)
Bacon Wrapped Figs
I know a girl who will love this dish, and I promise her this is the most exotic easy appetiser ever, or a great snack. So from Cooking Without Limits I strongly recommend that ‘the girl riding shotgun’ tries these pears and figs with blue cheese.
Pears And Figs With Blue Cheese
Finally for this week, something classic and simple ~ from the Perth Hills in Western Australia, Ros at Cooking up the Pantry, has this great fig and macadamia salad with labne. (Labne is marinated yogurt balls.) ((I may try this with almonds instead of macadamia…))
Fig And Macadamia Salad With Labne
Thanks ever so much to all the great cooks featured in this week’s Food on Friday
Some say that we should aim to eat a couple of portions of oily fish a week. And, that fish like salmon is a rich source of omaga 3, which does good things like stave off heart disease. All I know is that a well cooked salmon steak is much more fun than taking cod-liver-oil capsules.
When I mentioned to my friend in Orange County that I was intending to do a post on salmon recipes, she said I should include some other ‘fishy’ dishes. So there is also a cod recipe here. Who am I to ignore a smart woman?
First up this Friday, from Cooking up the Pantry, we have a pretty easy dish for a dinner with an Indian flavour, cheats salmon tikka.
Cheats Salmon Tikka
This is a really good post from Elise at Simply Recipes, because it also gives you some tips on buying salmon, (and other fish). Leaving that aside, I’m certain my friends will like this dish, salmon with lemon cream sauce, partly because you could also save some and have it cold as the basis for a great salad.
Salmon With Lemon Cream Sauce
This recipe fascinates me, so I make no excuse for including it today, even though it was only just in Food on Friday #32 which was all about BBQ. From Teighan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest, I really must cook this cedar plank salmon with watermelon feta salsa. (that’s if my friend ever lets me near her barbecue again).
Cedar Plank Salmon With Watermelon Feta Salsa
Cooking fish in foil is a brilliant idea. If Chungah from Damn Delicious hadn’t had this garlic butter salmon in foil recipe, I would have had to invent it myself. You really must try this, it’s so quick, easy, and so damn delicious.
Garlic Butter Salmon In Foil
This is different, 30 minute cajun salmon with salted lime butter, fromPennsylvania girl Jessica Merchant at how sweet it is. You know what? I think this is a 20 minute dish, which will please my friend in Orange County no end.
30 MInute Cajun Salmon With Salted Lime Butter
I found this site by courtesy of at Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower. So then, Lisa at Healthy nibbles + bits is a lawyer turned food blogger, and she has this summery salad for you. Summer teriyaki salmon salad, which is an easy 35 minute dish In the same post she also has the start of her free 4-week meal planning challenge ~ pretty cool.
Summer Teriyaki Salmon Salad
From English girl Petra at Food Eat Love, we have something that should satisfy anyone’s craving for seafood. I give you salmon with scallops, pickle sprats, and roasted fig quinoa. taa daah!!! You know what? I would much rather eat this plate of seafood than I would like sushi.
Salmon With Scallops, Pickle Sprats, And Roasted Fig Quinoa
At the suggestion of a close friend I include this elegant recipe from Tasting Everything; cod with summer vegetables. The picture shows a very elegant dish as befits Anne, who is a professional chef from the California wine country.
Cod With Summer Vegetables
And, finally this week, from Heather Christo we have a bit of a collection for you, starting with grilled tahini glazed salmon with cucumber noodles. I’m very certain my friend in SoCal will like this dish.
Grilled Tahini Glazed Salmon with Cucumber Noodles
and then, how to cook salmon in 15 delicious ways, including this BLT salmon salad with creamy avocado green goddess dressing.
BLT Salmon Salad With Creamy Avocado Green Goddess Dressing
Also, how about this post? How to perfectly cook salmon ~ how cool is that?
How To Perfectly Cook Salmon
May I say thank you to all the cooks featured this week.
When an average Englishman has a BBQ he usually makes a mess of it ~ unless he’s roasting a whole animal on a spit. (I can’t even spell barbecue without looking it up.). However, I know the rest of the English-speaking world likes to have a BBQ, so here are some ‘cool’ recipes for things to ‘throw on the barbie’ (as our Antipodean Cousins would have it).
(All men think they can grill a great steak ~ so no steak recipes here.)
We start today with a recipe from the lovely Averie Sunshine at Averie Cooks. Normally I would go a long way to avoid chicken wings of any description, but these baked spicy barbecue chicken wings look very appetising.
Baked Spicy Barbecue Chicken Wings
For me this is a fabulous dish from Real Simple ~ lobster tails with cilantro butter.
Lobster Tails With Cilantro Butter
From Chungah, (aka Damn Delicious), I can offer you these easy Korean short ribs, which are a 10 minute recipe… So maybe my friend from Orange County will like this dish…Personally I like my short ribs pretty well done…
Easy Korean Short Ribs
I don’t think we can do a feature on BBQ without one burger, at least, so from Pittsburgh girl Jessica, (How Sweet It Is), we have this bbq havarti burger with curly sweet potato fries. (I had to look up Havarti, turns out it’s a soft cheese… well there you go.)
BBQ Havarti Burger With Curly Sweet Potato Fries
This looks nice from Heather Christo, bbq turkey with blackberry jalapeno sauce ~ my friend from Southern California may like this too, I know she loves jalapeno chillies.
BBQ Turkey With Blackberry Jalepeno Sauce
This HAS to be my favourite recipe this week. Until I saw this from Tieghan Gerard, I had never heard of cooking on a BBQ grill by placing the food on a cedar plank. But, now I’ve seen this cedar plank salmon with watermelon feta salsa from Teighan’s site Half Baked Harvest, this is something I must try the next time I’m in California ~ that’s if my friend will let me. As I said, I’m an Englishman, and my friend knows I’m terrible at a BBQ.
Cedar Plank Salmon with Watermelon Feta Salsa
Australians do like to barbecue. Ros from the Perth Hills in Western Australia, (aka Cooking Up The Pantry), has a nice and easy recipe for barbecued prawns with smoky chipotle butter. Two greatingredients in this recipe are the garlic, (add more), and the smoked paprika, (be careful), my friend in Orange County likes both of those…
Barbecued Prawns With Smoky Chipotle Butter
I’m pretty certain Petra, (Food Eat Love), is a London girl, but she can cook. Here’s her barbecue with quinoa salad and refreshing coconut water drinks. (You know what? I’ve never eaten quinpa ~ I must get out more).
Barbecue With Quinoa Salad And Refreshing Coconut Water Drinks
At a barbecue most people will drink beer. But, given that I’m no longer allowed booze, here’s a refreshing alternative; fresh mint limeade from Jessica at how sweet it is. I have to try this.
Fresh Mint Limeade
Thank you to all the cooks featured in this week’s Food on Friday.