As the festive season rolls around, you could already be planning your family-friendly menu for when guests arrive at your door.
Whether you actively observe a religious holiday at this time of year, or simply wish to participate in general merriment and festivities, there is a smorgasbord of culinary delights just waiting to be eaten by you and your loved ones.
Need festive food inspiration? You are in the right place. Here are eight decadent festive foods you simply have to enjoy this year.
1. Honey-glazed ham
Honey-glazed ham is the perfect addition to a festive table, acting as a tangy-yet-sweet centrepiece for your family meal.
A typical portion of locally sourced bone-in ham can feed up to 10 people, meaning that when accompanied with delicious vegetables and a decadent dessert, your ham will be plenty to feed the array of guests you welcome into your home.
Combining sweetness with a rich, meaty flavour, honey-glazed ham is a definite crowd pleaser during the holiday season.
2. Potatoes roasted in goose fat
Roast potatoes are the staple of any roast dinner, and if you are planning a decadent Christmas feast, these simply cannot be missed.
By rubbing the potatoes in goose fat before popping them in the oven on a high heat, you enable the potato skins to crisp up, giving your roasties that all-important crunch.
You can source high-quality goose fat from your local grocer or butcher, and store it in the refrigerator for a few months after use.
3. Smoked salmon blinis
If you have been tasked with making canapés for your guests this holiday season, look no further than smoked salmon blinis.
It is said that Russian and Polish immigrants taught Englishmen how to smoke salmon back in the 19th century, and today, it is a staple food for many special occasions.
By combining palm-sized wheat blinis with horseradish, lemon, smoked salmon, and a sprig of dill, you will find yourself with a delicious, easy-to-assemble canapé tray your guests will love.
4. Rum and raisin trifle
If your family loves a rich, sweet, ever-so-slightly boozy dessert, a rum and raisin trifle will tick all their boxes.
By soaking the raisins in high-quality rum for up to an hour before making your trifle, the whole dessert will be infused with the sweet, spicy aroma of your chosen alcohol.
Then, by layering home-made brownie mix, cream, vanilla, and a plethora of other deliciously unhealthy ingredients, your festive dessert will come together beautifully.
To be shared among the adults of the family after a hearty savoury meal (or perhaps to be enjoyed with coffee at breakfast time the next day!), rum and raisin trifle is a truly decadent inclusion to your festive table.
5. Slow-cooked beef brisket
A traditional Hannukah meal, slow-cooked beef brisket is a wholesome dish bound to warm the cockles of your heart.
One of the “tougher” portions of the cow or veal, a brisket needs to be cooked to perfection in order to tenderise it. So, investing in a slow cooker, or simply preparing your dish well ahead of time, is crucial.
Then, combine aromatic herbs including thyme and bay leaves to roast your brisket beautifully. Enjoy with root vegetables and an onion gravy to moisten the meat even further, and your festive meal will be a roaring success.
6. Brussels sprouts sautéed with pancetta
Brussels sprouts are not known for being a family favourite, but when cooked in a more inventive fashion, can be absolutely delicious.
Instead of simply boiling your sprouts and adding them to the plates of your less-than-impressed family members, you can sauté your sprouts on a high heat after cooking.
Sprinkle locally sourced pancetta on as you fry, and even splash meat stock from your other recipes on if you wish, to create a surprisingly decadent side dish for the holiday season.
7. Chocolate tart topped with salted caramel
Another holiday dessert fit for a king, a chocolate tart topped with salted caramel is mouth-watering to say the least.
The overwhelming sweetness of rich, melted milk and dark chocolate encased in pastry is sliced by the tartness of crumbled salted caramel, offering the delicious sweet-and-savoury combination that makes this dessert so special.
If you want to take your chocolate tart to the next level, scooping creamy salted caramel ice cream on top of a fine slice can bring the flavours out even further.
8. A decadent cheeseboard
Of course, it is not Christmas without a cheeseboard fit to feed Henry VIII.
Between your succulent main course and your sweet dessert should come a selection of cheeses, crackers, and grapes.
Depending on the tastes of your guests (and how many you are feeding), you can combine hard cheeses, such as cheddar, comté, and red leicester with the smellier blue, stilton, and camembert.
A generous helping of chutneys, grapes, and an array of crackers can make your cheeseboard both decadent and delicious, satisfying even the pickiest of festive guests.
With these eight unmissable festive foods, your home will become the place to be this holiday season!