Christmas is not a healthy time, generally. There’s a lot of drinking (or at least, there would be if I wasn’t about to pop a baby out), there’s a lot of over-eating, there’s a lot of staying indoors because it’s nice and warm inside, and cold and dark outside. Plus, you know that January and new year resolutions are just around the corner, so it’s fine to be a bit unhealthy! I try to inject a big of balance into my Christmas eating, and have more light, healthy meals on days when there is no big feast planned, but I also don’t like to think about how much butter has gone into something on the day itself! So I’m afraid my favourite festival recipes aren’t very healthy. That said, they DO all appear to have some kind of fruit or vegetable in them, so… at least you might get 1-2 vitamins from them? Hmmm… I might be stretching it a bit here…
1. Glazed pork with fig and apple stuffing
I cooked this for my parents and in-laws at the weekend, and it was absolutely delicious. It’s from the Ultimate Festive Feast* cookbook, which is the only Christmassy cookbook I own. There are loads of recipes from different chefs in here and so far all the ones I’ve tried have been a success. I will say that there are two issues I had with the recipe: 1) The juices from the pan got a bit burnt and treacly, so I ended up making a separate gravy and 2) because of all the basting, there was no crackling, which was disappointing. But the meat is very moist, the stuffing is totally gorgeous, and it makes damn fine sandwich the next day, too.
2. Brussel sprouts with bacon and nutmeg
Apparently there are people who don’t like brussel sprouts. I am not one of them. I love them. Just boiled on their own with a bit of salt, or sliced up and stirred into a creamy pasta sauce or jazzed up for Christmas with bacon and nutmeg. Chop up some bacon and fry off until brown. Meanwhile, boil some brussel sprouts for 4-5 minutes. When done, cut in half and toss in with the bacon and grate some fresh nutmeg over the top. Add a small knob of butter for good measure and serve straight away.
3. Sausage rolls with chutney
This is a recipe from Gizzi’s Kitchen Magic* but it’s pretty easy to improvise. You basically make your usual sausage rolls, using whatever your favourite recipe happens to be, and add a layer of chutney to the pastry before you roll it all up. And wow, it’s so good! Amazing how such a simple trick can make this staple about 100 times better.
4. Sloe gin with prosecco.
We cracked open the sloe gin that we made earlier this year at the weekend, and although I only had a sip, it was totally gorgeous. Pour about about 1cm of gin into a champagne flute and top up with prosecco. The perfect festive drink.
5. Spiced ham with mango
Another great recipe from Gizzi’s Kitchen Magic*. I love doing a ham around Christmas because it’s so great to have one in the fridge to make sandwiches from and pick at over the holiday period. This one is absolutely delicious and a little bit different from the usual.
So those are my favourites – what are yours? Also, with all the eating and drinking going on around this month, how do you stay healthy and active over the holiday period?
*I used to work for the publisher of these books, so got these books for free, but the fact that they are still on my book shelf shows that I do love them, as I try to only keep cookbooks I actually cook from!Follow BeNourishd