THERE is nothing quite as festive as cooking up tasty treats for Christmas.
But the countdown to the big day can get pretty frenetic, what with all the the gift-buying, decorating the house and so on.
So here are some quick and easy recipes for festive fare – a Christmas pudding, mince pies and a vegan feast.
But if you are really pushed, you can save time, and even money too, by snapping up similar off the shelf at the supermarket.
Morrisons have a great festive range, and we include some suggestions.
Jewelled stuffed butternut squash – total cost £13.25
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 1 hours
- 2 butternut squash, halved
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 200g chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh sage
- 1 tsp cumin, ground
- ½ tsp cinnamon, ground
- 2 tbsp cranberry sauce
- 125g quinoa
- 2 tbsp pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
- 75g pomegranate seeds
- 1 handful fresh coriander leaves
- Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Scoop the seeds out of the squash and score the flesh. Place cut side up on a baking tray, drizzle with half the oil and season. Cook for 40-45 minutes.
- Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion until softened. Stir in the garlic and chestnuts, cook for a minute then add the sage, cumin, cinnamon and cranberry sauce and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Put the quinoa into a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and stir into the onion mix with the pistachios and all but 1 tbsp of the seeds.
- Once the squash is done, scoop out the flesh, chop it and add to the quinoa mix. Spoon back into the shells and bake for 10 minutes. Scatter with the remaining seeds and coriander.
ON THE SHELF: Morrisons The Best Layered Vegetable Tart 2 x 250g, £4 at Morrisons.
Christmas pudding – total cost £20.37
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 5 hours
- 150g currants
- 150g sultanas
- 150g raisins
- 150ml dark rum
- 100g glacé cherries, halved
- 25g blanched almonds
- 1 large carrot, finely grated
- 1 medium orange, zest and juice
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 125g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 100g vegetable fat, plus extra for greasing
- 100g dark muscovado sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 50g self-raising flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- Prepare ahead: The day before you make the pudding, stir together the currants, sultanas, raisins and rum or brandy in a large mixing bowl. Cover and leave to soak in a cool place, stirring once or twice.
- Grease either a 1.25litre (2-pint) or two 600ml (1-pint) pudding bowls with a little baking fat.
Stir the cherries, almonds, grated carrot, orange zest and juice, mixed spice and breadcrumbs into the fruit mixture.
- Beat the baking fat and sugar together until light in texture and paler in colour. Slowly beat in the eggs. Sift in the flour, salt and spice and fold it in with a large metal spoon. Add this to the fruit mixture.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared bowl(s), pressing it down firmly. Cover the bowl(s) securely with greased greaseproof paper, tie on with string, then cover tightly with pieces of foil. Steam the puddings for 4–5 hours, taking care that the steamer does not boil dry. Top up with boiling water as necessary. (The longer you cook them, the darker the puddings will be.) If you don’t have a steamer, cook the puddings in large saucepans, with enough boiling water to come about one third of the way up the sides of the bowl. Cover and simmer for 4–5 hours, topping up with boiling water as needed.
- Cool the puddings, remove the foil and re-cover with fresh pieces. Store in a cool, dry place. To re-heat, steam for 2 hours. Serve with brandy butter, rum sauce or fresh cream.
ON THE SHELF: Morrisons The Best Christmas Pudding, £5.
Starry mince pies – total cost £5.75
(Makes 12 pies)
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 25 mins
- 250g shortcrust pastry
- 200g mincemeat
- 50g icing sugar, for dusting
- 1 snowflake sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 190C/ 170 fan/gas 5.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Use an 8cm round cutter to stamp out 12 circles.
- Place on a lightly oiled bun tray and press down lightly.
- Using a teaspoon, fill each tart with equal amounts of the mincemeat.
- Re-roll any pastry trimmings and stamp out star shapes to decorate the tarts, or simply leave them plain. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden. Carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Serve lightly dusted with a little icing sugar and some snowflake sprinkles.
ON THE SHELF: Morrisons The Best deep-filled mince pies, six per pack. £2 at Morrisons.