Not long until Christmas now, and the star of the show for most people (mountains of gifts aside) is the Christmas dinner. Every family seems to have their own way of doing the most important meal of the year, and these traditions are often fiercely protected and passed down through the generations with pride.
While traditions are great – especially at Christmas time, it’s also nice to add to them with little extra special touches each year. Here are some scrumptious Christmas dinner ideas, both traditional and modern, so that your Christmas dinner this year can be the most memorable one yet:
Set the Scene
Christmas is the time of year when we all go to town on decorations and trimmings, and as the dining table is at the heart of the day it’s expected that we will really go to town on making it look special.
The first step is to decide on a colour scheme, which may be dictated by how you usually decorate the rest of the house. Those who go for a traditional scheme could stick to lush greens and reds, perhaps adding cheery touches such as candy canes at each place setting or gingerbread man candles (available from Sainsburys) if children are dining.
Gold and silver are always popular, and you’ll be spoilt for choice in ways to dress a sparkly table. For something a touch unusual that shows that you’re prepared to go that extra mile why not spray some fruit with metallic spray paint and display on a complementary charger?
Modern hosts however may want to try out a bright scheme, with bowls of baubles in clashing pinks, blues and greens on display. One cute touch is to hang a stocking full of treats at each chair, perhaps stuffing them with luxury foodie gifts such as chocolate truffles or miniature bottles of fizz to whet your guest’s appetites.
You can take the expense out of setting a magical dining table when you use the vouchers and offer codes for homeware retailers such as Next and Marks and Spencer at Moneysaver.ie.
Once the scene is set it’s time to move on to…
Traditional starters often include prawn cocktails or smoked salmon, but why not go one better this year and serve a whole salmon? When put out with breads and salad, this spectacular looking dish will really impress your guests, and they can enjoy some flakes into leaves with a simple drizzle of lemon juice for a light starter and prelude to…
The Main Event
Most people go for traditional turkey at Christmas, but you could ring the changes with a sticky joint of roast beef or gammon, or even a three bird roast! Whichever meat you decide to go for it’s the accompaniments that really make this meal special. Try mixing up a simple honey and mustard glaze to make those roast parsnips deliciously sweet, adding chopped bacon and chestnuts to the brussels, and sprinkling semolina on those roasties for an extra crunchy finish. No matter how delicious the main event is however, you must always leave room for…
While some people still make up an actual Christmas pudding (and if you do you must add the five pence piece to the mix and you must flambé it in brandy!) some prefer to mix things up a bit when it comes to finishing off the meal with desert.
Ice cream is a popular choice as it’s simple and refreshing, but make it special with luxury sauces and toppings such as smashed honeycomb, crushed nuts and chocolate chips.
One sweet idea is to bake individual Christmas cupcakes, so that each person can have their own little treat without having to face a heavy end to the meal. Particularly festive would be to ice in white buttercream and add fondant holly sprigs. Alternatively, a cake ‘bomb’ covered in white buttercream and white chocolate flakes makes a ‘snowball’ that’s as pretty as it is delicious.
While Christmas dinner is no doubt a special occasion, this can also equate to a lot of hard work. Instead of repeating the process on New Years Day why not book a restaurant for your group instead? There are always great restaurant offers to be found on the daily deals section of Moneysaver.ie, so why not try out a few in the run up to the festive holiday to find your favourite?
You might also want to book in a few meals out for January too, as all that slicing, dicing and prepping may have taken the fun out of a roast for a good few Sundays to come. Still, the hard work and effort is always worth it when you see your loved ones gathered around the table on Christmas day, eagerly awaiting their feast. Just make sure one of that lovely lot gets to do the washing up, and you can put your feet up – after all, it’s your Christmas day too!