Christmas time causes so many people stress because they worry whether the meal will be cooked just right or if they have supplied enough food as they do not want anyone complaining that they are still hungry.

 

To avoid this stress the best idea is to go to the hotel or restaurant for your Christmas dinner. That way you are not put under that kind of stressful situation, although not everyone can afford that either. Christmas is also very expensive without having to eat out on top of all the other expenses.

 

The best idea is to start saving money earlier in the year, and then you will be prepared, money wise at least.

 

Christmas vegetables

 

Christmas is the time to do something special with the vegetables so here is some different ideas for you to try.

 

Glazed Sweet Potatoes

 

5 or 6

medium sweet potatoes

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup seedless raisins

1/4 cup brandy, bourbon or whisky

Instructions

Wash the sweet potatoes, do not peel them. If the potatoes are large cut them into smaller pieces. Cover them in salted water and boil until just tender. About 15 minutes. Drain, cool and peel and cut into slices. Arrange these slices in a greased shallow ovenproof dish.

 

Add the brown sugar, butter, raisins and water into a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Add the brandy and pour over the potatoes. Bake in a moderate hot oven approx 180degrees Celsius uncovered for approx 30 minu

tes or until golden brown and glazed. Baste from time to time with the syrup in the dish.

Serves 4-6

 

Brussel sprouts with Chestnuts

Ingredients

1 kg Brussels sprout

s (or you could even use frozen sprouts)

1 cup chicken stock

1 stalk celery

Freshly ground pepper

250 grams can whole chestnuts

1 teasp

oon sugar

1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

Blanch fresh or frozen brussel sprouts in boiling salted water for 7 minutes then drain.

Put the spr

outs in a saucepan with the drained whole chestnuts, stock sugar and celery and bring to boil then simmer for ten minutes. Then cook on high heat to reduce the liquid.

Remove the celery, Add the butter and season with freshly ground pepper.

 

Roasted carrots and honey

500g small carrots
65g vegetable oil
juice of lemon or lime
salt and pepper
1 tbsp clear honey

Peel carrots
Cut them in half from top to bottom, and then cut again in half

In hot oven heat oil in baking dish, approx 180- 200 Degrees for about 10 minutes
At the same time, bring saucepan of salted water to the boil, and add the carrots, bring back to the boil. Drain carrots then place in baking dish in hot oil and season with salt and pepper and return to the oven.
Cook 15 – 20 minutes, turn over and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until crispy and golden. Pour the honey and lemon or lime juice over carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes to glaze. Be careful as they will burn easily with the honey.

For that little bit of extra zing add some grated ginger to the heated oil while waiting for carrots to boil.

Preparation where possible the day before will save you a lot of extra work on the actual day.

I'd like to wish you all a great Christmas and a safe and happy New Year