5 of our favourite recipes to try this Christmas

You may have already done your Christmas food shop but if you’re looking for a quick appetiser, snack, festive drink or veggie alternative to add to the menu we’ve got you covered! Here are a few of Meze’s favourite Christmas recipes.

Christmas Wraps

Another recipe from over the pond. Great for any occasion and not just Christmas, this recipe is ideal for getting the children involved in making these delicious no-cook appetisers.

Preparation time: 10 minutes | Makes 36 pieces

Ingredients

3 large soft wheat tortilla wraps

120g soft full-fat cream cheese

Rocket leaves

90g dried cranberries

Pinch of black pepper

9-12 slices of Parma ham or similar

Method

Lay out the tortilla wraps on the work surface, then divide and spread the cream cheese evenly over them. Sprinkle the rocket and cranberries over the cream cheese then gently press down to firm. Season with a little black pepper and then lay the slices of Parma ham over the rocket. Don’t be afraid to be generous with the fillings.

Roll each tortilla up tightly and wrap in cling film, twisting the ends to keep the rolls tight. Chill the wraps until required. When ready to serve, remove the cling film and cut each wrap into 12 slender slices. Try to cut at an angle and then place them cut-side down onto a serving platter.

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Mushroom and Lentil Welly

Beef Wellington is an English favourite, usually made with fillet or tenderloin that’s wrapped in paté and puff pastry to seal the juices in. When done correctly, mushrooms and lentils are a great replacement for that meaty texture.

Serves 6

Ingredients

750g brown mushrooms

1 brown onion

4 cloves of garlic ¾ cup (80g) walnuts

1 tin (400g) lentils

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

160g baby spinach

¾ cup (90g) grated cheese

2-3 tbsp oats

2 tbsp mustard

Sprig of fresh thyme

1 sheet of puff pastry

2-3 tbsp oat milk

½ tsp ground turmeric

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°c. Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms, dice the onion, finely chop the garlic and walnuts, and drain the lentils.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan. Add the diced onion and sauté for about 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms, lentils and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper, then fry until the mushrooms are golden brown. Transfer the mixture to a plate lined with kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil and liquid.

Reheat the pan with the remaining oil and saute the garlic for a few seconds, then add the baby spinach and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until wilted. Transfer this mixture into a colander to drain.

Combine the mushroom and spinach mixtures with the grated cheese, oats, mustard and thyme (discarding the stalks) in a bowl. Stir until everything is well mixed, then lay the puff pastry on a lined baking tray and spoon the filling into the middle of the sheet. Carefully fold the sides over the filling to create a loaf shape. Press the ends of the pastry together and seal, then roll over so that the seams are underneath.

Gently cut little slits in the pastry along the top of the wellington using a sharp knife, to let the steam escape. Whisk the oat milk with the turmeric, then brush this all over the pastry to glaze it.

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Damson Brandy

My favourite warming tipple! I make this in autumn so it’s ready for Christmas and New Year. In the past I’ve also made it with Calvados, an apple brandy which adds extra fruitiness.

Ingredients

500g damsons

250g caster sugar

1 litre brandy

Method

You’ll need a two litre wide-necked bottle with a lid or a two litre Kilner jar to keep the brandy in. Start by washing and drying the bottle or jar thoroughly.

Wash and dry the damsons, remove any stalks or leaves and check for blemishes. With a sharp knife, make a slit down the side of each damson then put them into the bottle or jar.

Tip the sugar over the damsons in the bottle then top with the brandy. Seal the lid then shake or tip the bottle gently a few times to mix the contents together. At this stage the sugar won’t dissolve fully.

Over the next 2 to 3 weeks, occasionally repeat the gentle shaking or tipping to dissolve the sugar in the damson juices and alcohol.

After 1 month, the damson brandy is ready to drink but I prefer to leave it for at least 2 months as the flavour improves on keeping. Strain or decant into a smaller bottle for serving

Warm Mixed Nuts and Seeds

Serves 6 as a snack

Fragrant and warming with a hint of chilli, these nuts and seeds are delicious to nibble on with drinks by the fire, served warm straight from the pan.

Ingredients

150g mixed whole nuts (almonds, cashews, brazils, hazelnuts, walnuts)

50g pumpkin or sunflower seeds

1 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary

2 tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp fine sea salt

¼ tsp chilli flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

Method

Add all the ingredients to a large frying pan, then warm gently and stir for about 5 to 7 minutes until the seasonings have coated the nuts, the spices have released their aromas and everything is warmed through.

Tip the spiced nuts and seeds into a serving bowl to cool a little before eating. You might need little serviettes to wipe your fingers on!

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The Winter Garland

A festoon of festive favourites, this garland will be the centre of attention at any of your winter gatherings. It’s an easy indoor activity to do with the family too; choose your favourite cheeses and accompaniments and create something magical together.

Ingredients

40g rosemary sprigs

50g saucisson

2 fresh figs

3 slices of orange (fresh or dried)

30g Double Gloucester

65g cherries

50g raspberries

50g blackberries

50g mixed coloured grapes

90g olives

75g pearl mozzarella

125g redcurrants

1 packet of sourdough crackers (or any other crackers of your choice)

Method

Take a paddle board or another circular board, approximately 30cm in diameter. Evenly spread the rosemary sprigs around the edges of the board, leaving the centre open, to create a ring.

Slice the saucisson into small sections and evenly place them on top of the rosemary.

Cut the figs in half and space the pieces equally around the ring on your board. Cut the orange slices into semicircles and arrange them around your board.

Use a small star cutter to cut the Double Gloucester into small stars. Alternatively, cut the cheese into small cubes around 2cm in diameter. Place the cheese stars onto your garland.

Arrange the cherries, raspberries and blackberries around your board, distributing the different colours evenly.

Halve the grapes vertically and add them to the garland along with the olives. Scatter the pearl mozzarella around your board, filling in any remaining gaps in the ring.

Lastly, arrange the redcurrants around your board in small bunches.

Serve your winter garland with sourdough crackers and a sweet chutney of your choice.

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