Food & Drink: Festive meal ideas

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Like many who love to cook, I adore this time of year, it excites my creativity. So many dishes to plan and think about, food is rarely far from my mind. I’d like to say I start with a plan, but I don’t. Instead I tend to let my imagination go and see where it takes me. Of course that’s fine till mid November, once I know what I’m cooking it’s planning all the way. Planning stops me worrying later on that I’ve missed something, for example have I thought about a gravy for my Mum who’s coeliac!

Whilst I enjoy cooking Christmas dinner, glass of something sparkling close to hand, it’s often the other gatherings around this time of year that I enjoy most. Whether a quiet dinner with my husband or small gatherings of friends and family, I love to feed good food to those I love.

set table

There are plenty sites out there giving advice on how to cook for the main event, with timings well documented. Instead this post concentrates on those special meals we enjoy around the festive season. Recipes we like to cook that are just a little more special and that we take a little more time over. Here I have a 3 course festive menu that can be easily multiplied to feed a larger dinner party gathering.


First up in this festive menu is a recipe for Scallops with Celeriac & Bacon, a simple yet impressive starter. I like serving seafood as a starter as it adds a nice lightness to the meal, particularly if I’m serving a heavier main. Seafood is also quick to cook.



For a main course a simple, but impressive steak with a sauce. Our Sirloin Steak with a Mushroom & Madiera Sauce is ideal for an intimate dinner, but easily increased if you are planning a larger party. Although rich and decadent, this is not a dish that takes a lot of preparation, nor cooking time, allowing you to spend time with your guests.

steak & mushrooms


Finally, to finish off this festive menu our Vanilla Baked Cheesecake with Mulled Plums. This is a great make ahead dessert that can be assembled when you are ready to eat. Also worth mentioning is that this recipe will feed a crowd with 12 generous servings for cheesecake.

Vanilla Cheesecake

Further recipes to enjoy over the festive period:


These delicate Homemade Smoked Salmon Pate Appetisers shared by Daniela of My Gorgeous Recipes would make a lovely starter. However also work great as canape when feeding a crowd or hosting a drinks party.

Main Course:

A great crowd-pleaser is Janice of Farmersgirl Kitchen’s recipe for Baked Salmon with Herbs. A great recipe that can be enjoyed either hot or cold.

Another great prepare ahead main from Lost in Food is our Pork Wrapped in Bacon with Sage. This dish is easily multiplied to feed a crowd and can be prepared ahead of time ready to pop into the oven when you’re ready.

Vegetarian & Vegan:

Jacqueline from Tinned tomatoes creates a tasty Butternut, Red Pepper & Potato Puff Pastry Platt and another great prep ahead dish. Check the ingredients on the puff pastry and you also have a great vegan alternative.

For another vegan option we have Camilla of FabFood4All sharing her Nut Roast recipe. Enjoyed hot with roast potatoes, but also delicious cold the day after.


Tempting me to try her Spiced Prune Chocolate Pots with Amaretto is Choclette from Tin & Thyme. A great seasonal make ahead dessert for dinner parties.

Jacqui from Recipes Made Easy also shares her recipe for Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, a beautifully decadent layered cake. An impressive centrepiece for any dining table.

Finally I would like to thank all contributors for sharing their festive recipes with us. Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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About Lesley Garden

Lesley (foodie; cook; spice loving; gardener; city breaker) born and
brought up in the North East of Scotland and has settled there with her
family. With a background in Organisational & Business Development, she
has worked across the globe including: China; India; and Singapore,
fuelling her love of cooking and all things spicy. Lesley seeks out good
food wherever she goes and is rarely seen without her notebook. With a
palette many envy, she is able to pick out the key elements of most dishes which she then likes to recreate at home. Lesley’s guilty secret is her addiction to cookbooks, although she does claim to “read them like


  1. 11 December 2018 / 17:31

    Mmmm, I do love this time of year. It’s a good excuse to indulge and try recipes you haven’t made before.

    • 13 December 2018 / 20:24

      Me too, I always like trying out a few new recipes at this time of year along with my family favourites. Thank you for sharing your delicious dessert, it’s on my must try list.

  2. 12 December 2018 / 00:31

    Lots of delicious festive inspiration here, I just want to dive into all of it! Thanks for including my Nut Roast:-)

    • 13 December 2018 / 20:26

      You’re very welcome Camilla. I’m looking forward to cooking over the festive holiday and can’t wait to try a few new recipes.