Christmas is about giving and sharing – getting together and sharing good food with your family and friends. So I’d like to share my Christmas foodie favourites with you here.
My attitude towards Christmas food has definitely become more moderate these days; it’s about enjoying good quality food and knowing when I’ve had enough so I don’t get that horrible stuffed feeling that comes from over eating (not to mention the extra kg’s that stay with you afterwards).
The best thing is that I’m not depriving myself of anything – we have dips and crackers and cheeses and chocolates; we have turkey and ham and roast veggies and Yorkshire Pudding and gravy; we have Christmas pudding and custard and trifle and shortbread and of course, champagne. The difference is that some of it is now made with recipes that area bit healthier than the traditional ones and the rest is simply eating smaller amounts.
Stopping when you’re full is the key to enjoying food all the time, including Christmas. And knowing what can be made healthier and still taste good helps a lot too. Like my mother’s trifle – it’s absolutely amazing and so rich and indulgent, I wouldn’t dare try to change it. My sister now makes it and does an amazing job. I just have a smaller portion these days and really enjoy the decadence of it because it is truly a once a year treat!
I like to make shortbread as a Christmas indulgence; home made shortbread is soooo good! I’ve tried using different sweeteners instead of good old white sugar and Stevia was the most successful. However, we really didn’t like the ‘aftertaste.’ So our shortbread is still made using the same simple, traditional recipe. We enjoy it once a year and share it with family and friends.
Below you’ll find links to my favourite sites of recipes that I think are a good alternative for the not so healthy traditional recipes.
I’m not going to specify any links here. If you know anything about me, you know that I’m a massive Jamie fan, especially his Christmas food. Just browse his website, his video’s and his cookbooks and you’ll find recipes for wonderful hams, roast meats, home made gravies, Yorkshire puddings and whatever else Christmassy that you fancy!
Remember that making your own food is always best when you can and Christmas is no different. It’s easier than ever to do a little bit of Google searching and find amazing free recipes.
Think about things like seed crackers, dips and vegetable chips: all easy to make and they taste so much better than any you buy.
Make your own puddings, cakes, biscuits, etc if you can. Use real, good quality ingredients and you’ll avoid the artificial additives of the commercial versions. And that brings me back to moderation – don’t overeat and you’ll be fine!
Last but not least, here’s a couple of my own favourite indulgent recipes too!
My Chocolate Truffle recipe isn’t just for Valentines Day, they’re perfect for Christmas too.
And these Christmas Crostini are always a big hit to get the ball rolling on Christmas Day, as well as being a delish healthy party appetiser.
These Little Strawberry Tarts combine a pastry case recipe from Wholefood Simply and the filling is adapted from a recipe I found in the Woolworths Christmas magazine a couple of years ago. Get the pastry case recipe here: Little Lemon Tarts This recipe makes three tart cases and here is the filling recipe:
- 50g softened cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon honey or rice malt syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 175g mascarpone cheese
- 1 punnet strawberries, halved
- 2 tablespoons strawberry or raspberry jam for the glaze
- Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Add the honey and vanilla and continue to mix on medium speed until well combined and creamy.
- Stir in mascarpone and spread pastry cases with the filling.
- Arrange strawberries on top.
- Warm the jam in a small saucepan and brush over the strawberries.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
- It's best to make your pastry cases first and then make your filling while the cases are cooling.
- These tarts are big enough to share and you won't believe how good they taste.
I think the key is to enjoy a few indulgences at this time of year without going overboard, but you have to decide for yourself what you’ll compromise on – there’s no point copying anyone else or trying to follow a plan because “it’s the right thing to do” – that’s a sure fire recipe for disaster. You have to be honest with yourself about what you really can’t or won’t compromise on and work backwards from there.