Christmas Eve - It's Party Time
Ahead of the big day, Christmas Eve is the perfect opportunity to have friends over for some simple, yet great tasting canapés and a glass of fizz!
For a vegan version, Violife Creamy is a great alternative with chopped black olives and fresh dill.
Roast some baby new potatoes then fill them with cream cheese, smoked salmon and Stokes Mustard & Dill Sauce. The mustard and dill gives the salmon a gravadlax-style elegance.
Your guests will love my mini prawn cocktail crostini.
Toast slices of ciabatta in the oven, drizzled with olive oil and sea salt until crisp. Shred some baby gem lettuce finely and mix with diced cumber, tomato and our Cocktail Sauce.
Place a dollop on each crouton, top with a cooked king prawn and add a drizzle of Bloody Mary Ketchup.
You’ll find a number of other tasty ideas in our Recipe Pages – HERE.
The 'Big Day': Cooking Ahead
The key here is preparation. As a chef, I always try and do as much as I can beforehand. Doing a veg dish that can be done in advance is always a winner.
A favourite of mine is slow cooked red cabbage.
Take finely sliced red cabbage and in a pan, season it with brown sugar, a slug of orange juice to just cover the red cabbage, mixed spice, a dash of port, salt & pepper, a handful of sultanas and, my secret ingredients, a couple of spoonsful of Stokes Redcurrant Jelly and a good dollop of Seville Orange Marmalade.
Slowly simmer until the cabbage is tender and the liquid should be slightly like a syrup. This can be done a couple of days in advance and kept in the fridge. On the day, it can be warmed through in the oven or with a blast in the microwave.
Roast Potato Tips
Peel the potatoes for the roasties the day before and place in a pan of water on the stove ready for pre-cooking.
On the day, bring to the boil with a pinch of salt and cook for about 10mins. Drain and allow the steam to dry the potatoes. This will give you really crisp roasties.
After that it’s up to you, as long as you have a hot oven you can use a good rapeseed oil, a little bit of butter in with the oil, or an indulgent goose fat to roast the potato.
Just before the potatoes are ready, I infuse mine with fresh herbs and Stokes Cider & Horseradish Mustard. The wholegrain mustard seeds ‘pop’ with flavourful sensations and the horseradish lingers on the palate – delicious.
Favourite 'Bits & Pieces'
Make up your Pigs in Blankets with good butcher’s chipolata sausages and streaky bacon. These then can be frozen and defrosted on Christmas Eve, then cooked fresh on the day.
Try finishing them with our Seville Orange Marmalade, simmered gently for pouring, or simply spooned into the frying pan with the sausages for a couple of minutes before serving.
Enhance your Christmas roast gravy with a spoonful of Stokes Redcurrant Jelly. Just stir it into the gravy as it warms before serving.
Boxing Day Treats
Boxing Day for me is about long morning walks and simple cooking after a busy day entertaining family and friends.
Here’s a few ideas.
A simple brunch of toasted crumpets topped with bacon & eggs and Stokes Bloody Mary Ketchup. It’s a great start to any winter morning.
You should have plenty of leftover lovelies to make up a festive sandwich or fill a pita pocket or two.
One of my absolute favourites is leftover veg turned into bubble and squeak with our spicy ‘grownup’ Brown Sauce. Add bacon if you have any; stuffing too adds a herby dimension; and, of course, a runny egg on top is essential.
Enjoy Some Wonderful Festive Feasting
We hope you find some of Andy’s tips useful and will try something new this year.
Whatever you do, enjoy yourselves.
Warm wishes from all here at Stokes.