Festive #foodiesecrets are the flavour of the month here at Circulon, and we’ve been fascinated to learn your closely guarded tips for wowing guests at Christmas time. Now, we’re going to take over your role and round up a few #foodiesecrets of our own to help you to enjoy all the traditional flavours of Christmas in a whole new way.
1. Add a Modern Twist to a Retro Classic
A classic prawn cocktail makes for a beautiful Christmas starter that’s perfect if you’re cooking for pescetarians, but it does evoke slightly retro images of the 1970s, when the dish was considered the height of sophistication.
Update this old-favourite first course for the 21st century by ditching the cocktail glass and instead serving your prawns (grilled in a non-stick skillet pan) in an elegant yet understated small pile on your plate, alongside a few sunblushed tomatoes - lightly seasoned with chilli flakes if you’d like a little extra kick - and a smudge of avocado cream. Recipe here.
Think of it as a deconstructed prawn cocktail - with that Michelin star-esque presentation, your Christmas guests might not even recognise it as this and fall in love with the classic starter all over again.
2. Find the Best Foodie Christmas Markets
For serious foodies, the run-up to Christmas is all about the food, and the UK is home to some of the best Christmas markets in the world. From Dutch waffles to German bratwurst and from continental cheese to hearty hog roasts, the food on offer at these markets can be incredible.
Many stalls offer free samples to people passing by, allowing you to delight your taste buds with a whole host of flavours, so you can decide which treats you want to bring home and serve to your guests to impress.
The Manchester Christmas Markets frequently top lists of the best in Britain, while Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham, and the Belfast Christmas Market all have a brilliant festive food offering of their own.
3. Conquer Canapés by Making Ahead
Homemade canapés make for much more impressive nibbles for Christmas guests than a bowl of crisps or nuts, but you don’t want to be rustling them up on Christmas Day when you should be enjoying everyone’s company and soaking up the festive fun.
Non-stick baking trays will be your best friend for batch-cooking canapés, letting you line up row after row of blinis to be topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon if you’re going down the retro classic route, or red pepper hummus and bacon jam for a modern twist.
Spend an afternoon making your canapés in the weeks before Christmas, freezing any baked or pastry elements, so you only have to add your fresh toppings on Christmas Day itself.
4. Master Festive Vegan Recipes
Veganism is becoming increasingly popular, which means it’s now more likely that you’ll need to have a few meat and dairy-free recipes up your sleeve so you can cater for vegan Christmas guests.
A nut roast would be the obvious choice for a Christmas Day main, but if you have the time to be a bit more creative, a lentil bake with cranberry sauce would be a tasty festive option, while a pie (make sure your pastry is butter-free) filled with beautifully seasoned carrots, parsnips, sprouts and other winter veg would make another delicious alternative.
When baking vegan desserts, go for soy or almond milk instead of dairy, and substitute egg whites for aquafaba, which is the water that surrounds canned chickpeas - start saving this when cooking with chickpeas, as it has all kinds of uses.
You might find that some recipes, such as vegan meringues, are stickier in consistency than what you’re used to, so make sure you’re using Circulon non-stick bakeware for the best possible results.
5. Turn Leftover Turkey into a Showstopping Savoury Bake
When it comes to using up leftover turkey, we all know that turkey sandwiches, turkey curry and turkey stir fry are potential options, but they can quickly get tiresome if you’re working your way through a particularly large bird. However, using the little extra free time you have over Christmas to conjure up a showstopping savoury bake can provide a welcome change from the usual leftover turkey options.
A homemade pie filled with turkey, cooked ham, leftover sage and onion stuffing and even a light layer of cranberry sauce can be a real treat for Boxing Day and beyond.
6. Lay Your Table Michelin Standard-Style
Once you’ve decided what you’ll be serving to your Christmas guests, you need to decide how you’re going to serve it, and surely only Michelin-starred restaurant standard table settings will do.
Tips from the Michelin Guide itself suggest thinking carefully about the type of plates you use to present each course, and you could even use your gourmet cookware to lay on the table for a rustic and homely yet sophisticated feel.
Michelin also recommends placing the star of your Christmas dinner in the middle of the table and elegantly illuminating it with tea light candles to make it the real centrepiece of the day.
Give just as much thought to how you’re presenting your side dishes too, and even your sauces; after all, Christmas is a time for celebration, and why shouldn’t that be extended to celebrating the beauty of a jug of freshly made cranberry sauce?
Keep napkins and other table decorations understated and to a minimum - too much red and green on your table could look gaudy. Remember: less can be more, even at Christmas time.
Because it’s Christmas, you can have the chance to enter our #foodiesecrets competition! All you have to do is tell us what your Christmas #foodiesecret is! Enter here: https://contest.app.do/circulon_christmas
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