It is that time of the year when the mercury dips and the days get shorter. The shedding of leaves marks the beginning of the holiday season here in the UK. A mood of festivity swirls around cities, towns and villages as homes are lit with lights and Christmas trees. The dark and cold skies see a fair share of fireworks. It is also the time when family members and friends come home. So, what are some of the best British food dishes to serve during the holiday season?
The quintessential food dish for the holiday season is the turkey. All other dishes play the side roll to this main star. And, preparing a turkey is fairly straightforward these days thanks to the frozen ones you find in the supermarkets. Bring it home, thaw it and roast for a couple of hours in the oven. Turkey is served with a bunch of side dishes and stuffing. The stuffing is sometimes served inside the turkey or on the side. The stuffing varies throughout the UK. You can make a stuffing of sausage, sage and onion, apricot and hazelnut, triple nut and apple or chestnut, bacon and cranberry.
Bacon Wrapped Sausages
Christmas turkey is incomplete without side dishes. And, since bacon is everyone’s favourite, bacon wrapped sausages are a must. Cut sausages into small pieces, wrap the bacon around them, toss in some herbs and bake them for 30 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce and honey to make them mouthwatering. It is a quick and easy side dish that everyone will thank you for.
Across the pond in the US, cranberry sauce graces the Thanksgiving dinner table. Here in the UK also, it is a must-have side dish for holiday dinners. It is fairly simple to prepare. Cook frozen cranberries, sugar, orange or lemon zest in two tablespoons of water over low heat for about 10 minutes. Up the heat to medium and cook for another 12 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour some over the turkey and see everyone lick their fingers.
Mince Pies are the harbinger of the holiday season. It is the British food that marks the beginning of the holiday season in the UK. You can find them everywhere from the supermarket to mom-and-pop coffee shops. They feature at office parties, family gatherings and cocktail dinners. You can prepare your own or get one from the supermarket.
Christmas time is incomplete with the Christmas cakes. Christmas cake is an eclectic mix of fresh fruits, crunchy nuts and liquor, preferably whiskey or brandy. The traditional Christmas cake is baked months before the holiday season. It ages nicely over time as a few spoonfuls of liquor is added to it each week. Serve it with tea or at cocktail parties. You can also add it to the Christmas dinner even though it is not traditionally part of it.
Christmas cake isn’t part of the Christmas dinner but Christmas pudding is a must. Crispy nuts, flavoursome dried fruits, aromatic spices and alcohol meet flour, eggs and butter to create this wintertime delight. Just like the Christmas cake, the Christmas pudding is prepared well ahead of time and aged to pique its flavours. Keep adding whiskey or brandy to it on a weekly basis and pour hot brandy over it right before serving it. Custard, whipped cream and ice cream are good accompaniments to the pudding.
There were times when potatoes were the lone saviours during the long, dark and cold months of winter. Naturally, they ended up being an indispensable part of the holiday meals. Cut in small squares, topped with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and dashed with aromatic herbs like parsley and thyme and roasted, these potatoes and simple and satisfying.
Immaculate flavours of Brussel Sprouts along with its nuttiness set it apart from other veggies. Cook, saute, stir-fry or roast Brussel Sprouts using olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper. You can add flavourful herbs like thyme and parsley. Bacon, balsamic vinegar and cheese impart delicate flavours.
The holiday season brings with it a wide assortment of desserts. Folks love to indulge in sweet temptations to keep the cold away. Custard, sponge cake, fresh fruits, jelly and whipped cream come together to create the perfect holiday trifle. Pour some sherry or port wine on the sponge cake and let it soak in the flavours.
Very English in nature, the Yorkshire Pudding is a favourite Christmas dessert in some parts of the UK. It is a classic pudding that requires just flour, eggs, milk and oil. These baked delicacies are a hit in tea gatherings and cocktail parties.