All I want for Christmas is… food!

Christmas is the perfect time to get cooking and baking, especially this year when we can’t do much else than be in our own home! I personally love making Christmas treats so I thought I’d share some that I have made. These recipes vary from sweet to savoury and some are healthier than others, but it is Christmas after all! I won’t pretend these all went to plan as it was the first time I attempted a lot of them, but I hope you take some inspiration from these and do a better job than I have by using my advise.

Recipe 1) Peanut butter and coconut and chickpea Christmas cookies

 I found this recipe in the Sainsbury’s Eat Veggie 2020 magazine and I adapted it to make it a Christmas treat using Christmas cookies cutters.  

Nutritional information

  • 63 calories
  • 5 g of fat
  • 2 g of saturated fat
  • 1g of fibre
  • 3g of carbs
  • 2g sugar

What you will need

  • 400g can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 banana
  • 8 tbsp of peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp of desiccated coconut (I didn’t add this as I don’t like it)
  • 2 tbsp of melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp of any milk

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c, for a fan oven 160°c or gas mark 4.
  • Line the baking tray with baking paper
  • Put all ingredients in a blender and mix till smooth
  • Spoon the mix into cookie cutters and flatten using a fork or wet hands (make sure this is a thin layer as I did mine too thick and it took longer to cook).
  • Remove cookie cutters
  • Bake for about 30 minutes until golden and crisp (I cooked a bit longer as mine didn’t really feel hard enough so mine were more brown then golden)

Recipe 2) Orange and cardamom shortbread biscuits

If a healthier biscuit isn’t your thing then this is the perfect treat for you! This recipe was a Waitrose card and is the perfect Christmas treat! I over cooked mine slightly because they didn’t feel done yet. I think this was because they were on the thicker side due to the star shape I opted for. Although Christmassy I’d recommend a more basic circle shape for your biscuits.

Nutritional information per biscuit:

  • 366kj/88kcals
  • 4.7g of fat (2.9g saturated fat)
  • 10g of carbohydrates
  • 3.8g of sugar
  • 0.5g of fibre
  • 0.9g of protein
  • 0.07g of salt

What you will need

  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 60g golden caster sugar and 1tbsp for sprinkling.
  • 110 g of softened unsalted butter
  • 1 large orange, zest
  • ¼ tsp of fine salt
  • 170g plain flour

Instructions

  • Split the cardamom pods open and crush the seeds in a pestle and mortar.
  • Using electric beaters, cream the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  • Next, beat in the orange zest, crushed cardamom seeds and salt.
  • Sift in the flour and use a wooden spoon/ spatula to combine.
  • Bring the dough together with your hands and place on a large sheet of parchment paper
  • Cover with another layer of parchment paper and roll out the dough, between the sheets (should be a thickness of about 1.5cm).
  • Leave to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 170°c/ gas mark 3.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it further (thickness now needs to be about 0.3cm).
  • Remove the top layer of parchment and place on a large baking tray.
  • Cut the biscuits out with a cookie cutter and carefully transfer to a lined baking tray
  • Sprinkle the extra golden caster sugar over the top
  • Bake for 14-15 minutes until light-golden (not as dark as mine are).
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool

Recipe 3) Carrot & Halloumi fritters with a coriander dip

I found this recipe was from a BBC Good Food magazine and makes for a perfect Christmas nibble. Don’t be fooled by the appearance of this on a nutrition blog, this recipe is not a healthy one, but we deserve a treat every now and then. Full disclosure I wasn’t much of a fan of these as I am not a massive fan of fried things but I love halloumi so I thought I’d give it ago. I have only made the fritters at the time of writing this as I am freezing the fritters for Christmas nibbles but the dip seems easy enough to make! Also, a pre-warning this recipe takes so long due to the preparation of the grated foods, so if you can get pre-grated products it will save you time.

Nutrition Information

  • 176 kcals per serving
  • 12g fat
  • 8g of saturated fat
  • 8g of carbohydrates
  • 4g of sugar
  • 2g of fibre
  • 7g of protein
  • 0.7g of salt

What you will need

For the fritters

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1 onion grated
  • 4 carrots grated
  • 250g halloumi  grated
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated.
  • 1 red chilli (finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp of ground coriander
  • Small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
  • Vegetable oil

For the dip

  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • ½ tsp of smoked paprika
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • ½ tbsp of crushed coriander seeds

Instructions

  • Whisk the egg and flour in a large bowl.
  • Once the mixture has thickened and is lump free, fold in the onion, carrots, halloumi, ginger, chilli, grounded coriander and half of the fresh coriander and season.
  • The mixture should be stiff, but if the batter does not cover the veg then add a tablespoon of flour or a small amount of milk (or milk alternative).
  • Fill a medium heavy-based saucepan and fill no more than a third of the saucepan with vegetable oil and heat until a cube of bread sizzles when added and it browns within 30 seconds.
  • Using either your hands or two spoons, form the mixture into bite sized balls.
  • Fry the fritters in batches of 5/6 and turn them in the oil every few minutes. They should take around 5-6 minutes but wait until golden and crisp.
  • For the dip, combine the yoghurt, the remaining coriander (leaving a small amount to top the dip) and some seasoning. Melt the butter in a small pan and add the paprika, chilli flakes and coriander seeds. Leave this to sizzle for one minute and then pour onto the yoghurt and top with the rest of the coriander.
  • Drain on a kitchen towel and serve either freshly cooked or leave to cool and reheat. To reheat: heat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C fan and gas mark 7 and place the fritters on a baking tray and bake for 5-10 minutes.
  • These are suitable for freezing in air tight container for three months or in the fridge for three days.

Recipe 4) Butternut and Harissa Hummus

This recipe was from BBC Good Food and is the perfect dip to go with your Christmas nibbles. This is suitable for freezing.

Nutrition information per serving of hummus

  • 155 kcal
  • 9 g of fat (1g of which is saturated fat)
  • 13g of carbohydrates
  • 3g of sugars
  • 3g of fibre
  • 4g of protein
  • 0.4g of salt

You will need

  • 400g of butternut squash (peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces.
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of tahini paste
  • The recipe said 1 tbsp of harissa but I used about 3 (plus extra for drizzling on top)
  • 400g can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions

  • Heat oven to 200C/ 180°C/ gas mark 6.
  • Put the butternut squash and garlic cloves in a roasting tin and season well.
  • Add 100ml of water and cover the tin with foil and bake for 45 minutes (the squash should be tender when done).
  • Once cooked leave to cool
  • Tip the squash into a food processor and the juices from the roasting tin.
  • Add the garlic cloves and the remaining ingredients and blend into a paste.
  • Scrape the hummus into a bowl and drizzle with harissa.
  • Serve and eat with tasty treats.

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