Words & images by Annabel Karmel
Throwing a party this holiday season? Get the whole family involved in creating a spread to remember! From mini hotdog wreaths to sausage stockings and baked Rudolf’s, you’ll be the talk of the town.
And there’s always lots of prep work for the kids do; whether it’s icing cakes, wrapping pigs in blankets or simply weighing out ingredients, it’s time you’ll all enjoy spending together.
In need of some inspiration? These ideas are sure to impress your guests this Christmas so get those invites out, don your best festive apron and get cooking.
Christmas Food Idea 1: Doughball Pizza Wreath
Make this easy and very festive pizza for your Christmas celebration. The kids can help create the wreath and there is a delicious surprise of warm melted cheese in each doughball.
- 350g strong white flour
- 7g fast action yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 250 ml water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg, beaten
Tomato & Basil Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 x 400g chopped tomtoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- Pinch of sugar
- 75g Cheddar cheese, diced into 12 cubes
- 100g mozzarella cut into 6 slices
- Bunch of fresh basil for decoration
- Measure the flour, yeast, oil , water and salt into a large bowl. Mix together to form a dough. Knead on a floured work surface for 5 minutes until smooth and shiny. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 1 to 2 hours until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 200C Fan.
- Whilst the dough is rising make the sauce. Heat the oil in a saucepan . Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced and thickened. Leave to cool.
- Knock back the dough on a work surface, then divide into 12 pieces. Roll into balls insert a cube of cheese inside each ball.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with non stick paper. Make a circle of dough balls leaving a small gap between each ball. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Christmas Food Idea 2: Sausage Roll Christmas Crackers
A truly festive sausage roll; a delicious mix of apple, squash, sage, and pork, all wrapped up in golden, crispy filo pastry cracker.
- 100g sausage meat
- ½ apple, peeled and finely diced
- 25g squash, peeled and grated
- 1 tsp sage, chopped
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- 320g packet ready rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Ribbon or string to decorate
- Mix the sausage meat, apple, squash, sage and spring onions together in a bowl and season.
- Unroll the pastry and trim to measure a 20cm x 35cm rectangle. Re-roll the trimmings and cut out stars using a small star cutter. Brush the pastry with beaten egg. Slice the rectangle into four strips widthways.
- Divide the sausage meat into four and spread in a line about 6cm long onto the middle of one side of the strips of pastry. Fold the pastry over and then gently roll into a cylinder to encase the filling. Pinch the pastry around the filling to make a cracker shape.
- Brush with more beaten egg and decorate with stars of pastry. Repeat three more times.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with non-stick paper. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C Fan.
- Bake for 25 minutes until golden and crisp and the filling is cooked through.
- Decorate the ends of your crackers with ribbon once they have cooled down a little.
Christmas Food Idea 3: Christmas Tree Cupcakes
These majestic Christmas tree cupcakes are a complete show stopper for any seasonal get-together. The secret? Simply use an upturned ice-cream cone and then pipe with beautiful spiky green icing!
To make the Cupcakes:
- 125 g butter or margarine
- 125 g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 85 g self-raising flour
- 30 g cocoa powder
- 40 g plain chocolate chips
- ice cream cones
To make the Icing
- 500 g vanilla buttercream
- green food colouring
- edible silver balls
- To make the chocolate cupcakes, pre-heat the oven to 160°C Fan / 180 C / Gas 4. I used a silicone muffin tin with fairly straight sides but you could use an ordinary muffin tin.
- Sift the flour and cocoa into a bowl. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and smooth, and then add the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour mixture with the second egg. Mix in the remaining flour and cocoa, then stir in the chocolate chips.
- Pour the mixture into the paper cases – they should be two thirds full.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Leave in the muffin tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile colour 350g of buttercream green by mixing some of the green food colouring into the vanilla buttercream. Pipe some of the remaining white buttercream around the edges of the cupcakes.
- Take the ice cream cones (if they are too large, you can trim off the end using a sharp knife). Apply a thin layer of green frosting all over the exterior of the ice cream cones using a palette knife. Stand these upside down on top of the cupcakes.
- Transfer the remaining green frosting to a piping bag fitted with a small star shaped nozzle. Pipe green spiky leaves onto the trees. Dust the trees with icing sugar so that it looks like snow on some of the leaves.
- Finish off by garnishing with some edible silver balls.
For more recipe inspiration visit www.annabelkarmel.com