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A full Festive Lunch

It’s not easy, especially with three kids wanting to help/eat/cook/play/sleep. BUT….we did it! The most difficult part is the fact that I had to make 2 starters, 2 main dishes, 3 sides and 1 dessert with one oven, all in one morning but if you pick relatively easy recipes in terms of preparation everything is possible.

Timing is also an issue when cooking more than one dish as you need the food to be served hot and surprisingly everything was served cooked and ready.

All ingredients are from Alpha Mega (convenient!).

1. Pigs’ blankets

Ingredients

  • 1 package of small sausages
  • 1 pack of bacon

Method:

Place the bacon on a tray and the sausages on top (I put 2 sauasages on each slice) and cook for 20 minutes at 180C. Wrap the bacon around the sausages and hold together with tooth picks.

2. Cheese platter

I like to use a selection of soft and hard cheeses as well as some mild and stronger ones which can be used as dessert as well. Served with sliced dried figs and crackers.

3. Cauliflower Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower (or 2 small ones)
  • 500ml full fat milk
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 50g butter
  • 100g strong cheddar, grated
  • 2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs

Method

  • Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, then add 1 large cauliflower, broken into pieces, and cook for 5 mins – lift out a piece to test, it should be cooked.
  • Drain the cauliflower, then tip into an ovenproof dish. Heat oven to 220C (I used 180C as I was cooking other things together).
  • Put the saucepan back on the heat and add 500ml milk, 4 tbsp flour and 50g butter.
  • Keep whisking fast as the butter melts and the mixture comes to the boil – the flour will disappear and the sauce will begin to thicken. Whisk for 2 mins while the sauce bubbles and becomes nice and thick.
  • Turn off the heat, stir in most of the 100g grated cheddar cheese and pour over the cauliflower. Scatter over the remaining cheese, and 2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs if using.
  • Put in the oven and bake for 20 mins

TIP: boil the cauliflower earlier, set aside and prepare the sauce 35-40 minutes before serving so it’s served melting hot.

4. Roast potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1-2 potatoes for each person (peeled and cut in large cubes)
  • 4-5 tbs flour
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Sage leaves

Method

Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes and drain.Mix with 4-5 tbs with flour and place in a baking tray (this will make them crispier). Add 4-5 tbs of olive oil, salt pepper and sage leaves. Cook for 1 hour at 200C.

5. Greens

Ingredients

Brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower broccoli and anything else you may like

Method

  • Peel the carrots, break the cauliflower and broccoli in smaller pieces and halve the Brussel sprouts.
  • Roast with 1-2 tbs of olive oil for 20 minutes at 180C. I also added lemon zest on the sprouts. Season well. You can also boil them English style.

6. Roast Beef

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg topside beef (you can also use sirloin)
  • 2-3 celery sticks
  • 5-6 small carrots
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 onions
  • Rosemary, sage, bayleaves or any other fresh herbs you may have.

Optional: horseradish sauce, Bisto, wine and garlic for the gravy

Method

Roughly chop the greens and herbs and place in a tray. Place the beef on top, rub with 3-4 tbs of olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 1:15 at 180C. I used topside but I am guessing sirloin could work better.

7. Sausage pasta

Ingredients

  • 500g of Rigatoni or Penne pasta
  • 6-8 pork sausages
  • 2 x 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onions
  • 1tbs brown sugar
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 150ml milk
  • Rosemary sprigs

Method

  • Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Fry the onion with a pinch of salt for 7 mins. Add the garlic, chilli and rosemary, and cook for 1 min more. Tip in the tomatoes and sugar, and simmer for 20 mins.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a medium frying pan over a medium heat. Squeeze the sausage meat from the skins and fry, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 5-7 mins until golden. Add to the sauce with the milk and lemon zest, then simmer for a further 5 mins.
  • Cook the pasta following pack instructions. Drain and toss with the sauce. Scatter over the parmesan and parsley leaves to serve.

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