This week I’m craving… fuss-free comforting meals with a seasonal twist. After weeks of eating easy-to-heat soups and stews, I’m ready for some solids again but without too much hassle and bother. After all, who wants to be in the kitchen for hours the week before Christmas? On my wishlist this week are a chicken pie that’s as easy as it gets, glorious vegetarian stuffing that I’d equally love with a roast dinner or in sandwiches, a cheeky winter cocktail to get your Christmas party going and a dessert that reminds me of Christmas markets.
My culinary inspiration for the week ahead:
No-fuss chicken pie
As much as I’d like to after all the fuss of getting the kitchen back in working order, I’m not going to become a regular at the local pub’s new Pie and a Pint night. I do however, fancy a pie more than ever. Usually, I’d go for a red meat pie like steak and ale or venison, but I’d prefer a lighter touch for a weeknight. This recipe (originally Jamie Oliver) seems like the perfect antidote to long hours fussing over pastry and my pie cravings.
Apricot & hazelnut stuffing
Ever since I made my own vegetarian stuffing only a couple of weeks ago (meat is the general staple in our household), I’m hooked. Vegetarian stuffing is such a delicious way of using up odds and ends that you’ve been storing in the fridge for the last week. Add some breadcrumbs, the last wedge of this week’s butter, a few dried herbs and you’d never recognise the fragrant mass that comes out of the oven. This apricot and hazelnut stuffing sounds divine and just the ticket for Christmas (you don’t need pigs in blankets, turkey AND meaty stuffing really, do you?). Also equally yummy in a baguette with melted brie (heaven!), which is how I’ll be having it this week.
Sloe gin fizz
There’s a sloe tree outside my in-law’s front door. Almost every year it’s yielded a good crop of sloes ready to be drowned in gin. We have a little glass of this homemade beverage on Christmas morning while we’re unwrapping the presents. It’s one of my favourite seasonal drinks, but why only have it on Christmas Day? This cocktail would be great at a pre-Christmas or New Year’s Eve party (even a party for one if you like)! I’d sub the cream soda for standard soda water to make it less sickly sweet but that’s a matter of personal taste. If you don’t have homemade, there are plenty of people who sell it commercially nowadays.
I don’t have a huge sweet tooth but this week I haven’t been able to get the thought of nutella crepes out of my head! Maybe it’s because I’ve been sauntering through town on my lunch breaks, unable to get away from the sights and smells of the Christmas market. Something about crepes reminds me of these seasonal stalls and a slathering of Nutella, above all other toppings, is what I’m craving at the moment. If you’re not near a Christmas market, or prefer to make your own, why not give this recipe a go?
What’s on your menu this week? Are any of these dishes making your mouth water?