When the days turn colder and the nights fall darker, we all seek solace in the comforting sights, smells and flavours of seasonal treats. From turkey and the trimmings to puddings and pies, hot chocolates and tipples to sweeties and trifles, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a festive feast.
But what are the options if you don’t like mince pies, or you’re bored of Christmas pud? Luckily there are some very simple and equally tasty alternatives to the age-old favourites that are guaranteed to be just as welcomed – they might even become your new traditions for years to come.
If you don’t like Christmas cake, try… GINGERBREAD
This aromatic, moist and long-lasting cake has a history nearly as old as Christmas itself and is still a must-make for many families, particularly in places such as Germany. It’s filled with butter, sugar, syrup and spices, which as well as being fittingly festive also means it gets even better with age. Try this recipe from Nigel Slater if you love ginger, or this alternative sticky syrup cake from Ruby Tandoh if you don’t.
If you don’t like mince pies, try… MINI TREACLE TARTS
This is a great recipe to try at home, especially for those who don’t like or can’t eat mincemeat. Just buy or make 100g of shortcrust pastry, roll until 0.5cm thick, then cut into rounds and push them into a lightly greased bun tin. Warm 100g of golden syrup and add 25g white breadcrumbs and a dash of lemon juice. Pour into the pastry cases and decorate with pastry stars. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 200’c / gas mark 6.
If you don’t like sweet treats, try… CHEESE SCONES
There’s nothing festive about a cheese scone, but they’re the perfect indulgence if you don’t want a sugar rush. Better still, you can make them yourself – just mix 175g of self-raising flour with some salt and pepper then rub in 25g of cubed margarine. Add 70g of grated cheese (ideal for using up that cheese board!) and a beaten egg. Gradually add up to 2 tablespoons of milk until you get a soft dough (you might not need it all). Form into rounds, place on a lined tray and bake 220’c / gas mark 7 for 10-15 minutes. Serve them with lots of butter and maybe some leftover chutney, or pop them in the freezer for later.
If you’re looking for more alternative festive food ideas then the BBC Good Food website has some great recipes too.