Today’s Day Two of our latest Tenner Week budgeting challenge, and it’s time to move on to the festive prep side of things. Today we are sketching out some festive menus and getting a few recipe ideas for food and drink that can be created ahead of time. If you can, try for a zero spend day as well.
Do you know where you’re spending the festive season this year? Are you hosting Christmas? Are you planning on having friends over for parties or New Year celebrations?
Have a look at your calendar or diary and start to make a rough plan of events, dates, and likely numbers of guests. This will give you plenty of time to start thinking about catering, finding recipes and making menus. That’s a lot better than doing everything at the last minute, and buying everything in ready made.
What could you make this weekend that would keep, maybe in the freezer or an airtight box? Start looking at a few food blogs and recipe sites and collect one or two good recipes.
Here are a few ideas:
- Shortcrust pastry to freeze raw or baked blind (i.e. ready made pastry cases that just need filling and a final blast in the oven)
- Mince pies to freeze
- Bread or pizza dough, or fancy baked breads – great for starters, making meals go further, buffets or easy suppers
- Soups, casseroles or stews – handy for when extra guests drop by unexpectedly, just add extra rice, bread or vegetables
- Stuffing, pigs in blankets, brandy butter or other side dishes
- Fruit cake or other cakes, such as sponge cake to freeze and later put in a trifle or tiramisu
- Christmas pudding
- Canapes to freeze (anything from mini fish cakes to pastry parcels or herby falafel)
- Savoury or sweet fillings to go into pies
- Sweet mincemeat, chutneys, pickles or jams
- Infused oils, vinegars or spirits
- Pickles, jams or relishes, or fruits in syrup or brandy
In short, anything that can be prepared ahead of time so that you can take it easier on the day and relax a bit more.
What’s happening here?
We’re hoping for a fairly low-key Christmas Day this year, nothing too fancy, but we’ll also be having friends over for drinks and meals so I’m concentrating on buffet food and snacks to have with drinks.
I’m looking for interesting bread recipes to make tear and share loaves, and some interesting soup recipes for seasonal ingredients. If there’s time, I’m also going to look for alternatives to mince pies, maybe some kind of mini bakewell tarts if these can be frozen.
What might you be thinking about making ahead of time, and maybe freezing?