With Christmas just around the corner, I thought I would share some of my favourite food and drinks to enjoy at this time of the year.
First, you may be thinking about stocking up on drinks a few days ahead. If you fancy something warming to keep the cold away, I really like Drambuie, which is made with fifteen year old Speyside malt whisky. It’s a very nice drink to sip by the fire on a cold night.
For something more refreshing, you can’t beat a good gin and tonic. Using a good gin and a good tonic makes a real difference. It’s also a great to have up your sleeve for unexpected visitors over the festive period. I always buy Bombay Sapphire, which is, amazingly, celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. Fevertree tonic is, in my opinion, the tonic to serve with gin, and, to my delight, is now sold in larger bottles. Just add a slice of lime and some ice for the perfect G&T!
Last year, I tried Vanessa Kimbell’s recipe for orange and cinnamon brandy. It is just gorgeous. I’ve made it again this year, and have used it in the Christmas cake and homemade mincemeat. It makes a delicious drink on its own or in a cocktail, too.
If you are steering clear of anything alcoholic, or perhaps if you have drawn the short straw and are designated driver, I like to serve freshly squeezed clementine juice. It takes around three fresh clementines to make one small glass of juice. I am lazy and use my Magimix to extract the juice, but as clementines are quite small, you can juice them using a citrus juicer very easily.
And, if you fancy something hot, Steenberg’s Christmas hot chocolate and tea are just lovely. Gently spiced and very warming. Highly recommended.
And now, to food. Firstly, if you have not made your Christmas cake, do not panic. It’s not too late! I always make Delia Smith’s last minute Christmas cake, which also adapts very well to gluten free/dairy free.
If you like cheese at Christmas, try and buy the very best you can afford – you can tell the difference. We love Colston Bassett stilton and Spenwood with quince cheese most of all.
My final tip is not to buy too much food. We never buy large boxes of chocolates and snacks, as the temptation is just to snack all day. We keep our meals delicious, and that is more than enough. You can also feel comfortable and happy after Christmas, rather than bloated and regretting having eaten so much.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas.