Top 8 Christmas foods and drinks
What do you think about when you say Christmas? The nativity scene, Santa Claus and his reindeers, children singing carols, Christmas trees, spending time with your loved ones, exchanging gifts, going to the church (for the religious ones) and, of course, lots of delicious Christmas delights and traditional dishes. It’s no wonder we dream about these goodies all year long and there are special Christmas cooking books launched very year to inspire those who like to prepare their Christmas feast by themselves. If you have some spare time before Christmas Eve, you are probably hunting the best holiday recipes and asking friends, mums and grandmothers for advice, and also sifting through Google and Pinterest. We have gathered a list of the 8 most important Christmas foods and drinks to inspire you for this year’s feast:
1. Christmas turkey
Ideal for those who are not too keen on pork and prefer something lighter, turkey contains less fat than other meats. You can’t go wrong with turkey and there are dozens if not hundreds of recipes – brined, bacon-basted, with made-ahead gravy, with lemon and herbs, with stuffing, with caramelized apples on the side, with vegetables, and the list can continue for pages. Keep it simple because Christmas should be about fun and relaxation rather than working hard to cook like a chef just to impress your guests.
2. Christmas pudding
A classical recipe usually prepared in Britain, Ireland, and other countries where it has been brought by British emigrants, Christmas pudding has its origins in medieval England. The tradition says that every member of the family should stir the pudding while making a wish. Again, there are dozens of Christmas pudding versions, some easier to do, others more complex, and you can give the pudding different flavours using ingredients such as raisins, cinnamon, nuts, and vanilla.
Also known as milk punch or egg milk punch, eggnog is consumed mainly in North America during the Christmas season. Ingredients include milk, cream, sugar, whipped eggs, and distilled spirits such as rum, brandy, or bourbon. Some people also add cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. It’s the perfect drink to have while wearing one of those ugly Christmas sweaters.
4. Gingerbread cut in Christmas shapes
It’s hard to imagine the Christmas season without gingerbread. It is easy to make for anyone, and the one ingredient that should never miss is nutmeg, which gives gingerbread its specific flavour. For Christmas gingerbread you’ll need writing icing and cake decorations – if you let the kids decorate it, they’ll be very happy. And, if you have time and patience, you can try making a gingerbread house for this year. Keep in mind that gingerbread should be prepared a couple of weeks in advance, because it takes time for these cookies to soften.
5. Cranberry sauce
A healthy and delicious food, cranberry sauce not only looks festive due to its beautiful red colour, but it also complements perfectly your roast turkey. Health benefits include large amounts of vitamin C.
6. Roast potatoes
Another simple recipe, although with more calories compared to boiled potatoes, roast potatoes shouldn’t miss from your Christmas dinner. Crispy, crunchy roast potatoes are the dream of any guest coming in from the freezing cold outside. The secret of getting potatoes that are soft inside and crunchy on the exterior is boiling them before roasting (it’s important to boil them partially – don’t wait until you can make a mash out of them).
Not exactly a Christmas recipe, Tiramisu wins the battle for your Christmas cake dilemma because it’s delicious and so easy to prepare. This type of cake helps you save time and effort because you don’t have to do any baking and you can use ready-made panettone or ladyfingers instead. The ingredient common to all tiramisu recipes, however, is mascarpone. Most people prepare Tiramisu with espresso or strong coffee, while others also add amaretto liqueur. The important thing when preparing Tiramisu for winter holidays is to use your imagination to create a Christmas-themed garnish or décor – or you can look for decorating ideas on the Internet just as well.
8. Mulled wine
Are you celebrating Christmas in a colder climate? A steaming mug of spiced mulled wine is a must! It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare this flavoured wonder and ingredients include red wine, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, oranges, lemons, and brown sugar.
What Christmas recipes will you cook this year? Although it is easier to buy ready-made Christmas delights, it’s worth trying at least one item on the list above. Nothing says Christmas more like feeling the smell of a traditional dish being cooked while you are waiting for Santa. Invite over some friends who will bring the garnish and salads while you will be cooking beef or turkey, or at least try a fast mulled-wine – you won’t regret it!