Does the thought of preparing a huge holiday feast for your friends, family and loved ones fill you with Christmas spirit? Nope, me either. It often means hours - days even - in the kitchen. It means endless trips to crowded shops for essential ingredients. Even the planning can be overwhelming. Just a simple christmas lunch still equates to several dishes, each containing a lot of different elements. All of those starters, mains, sides & desserts have accompaniments, garnishes and sauces. And we haven’t even discussed drinks yet!
I’m going to share one of my hot tips when it comes to Christmas cooking: You can cheat on the big stuff if you do one or two little things from scratch.
Outsource that ham and roast turkey! Call the deli tomorrow and tell them you’ll swing by on Christmas eve to pick up a couple of their cracking salads. Choose the already cooked prawns from the local seafood vendor. And treat yourself to a carton of pre-made custard.
Nobody will notice, because they’ll be so impressed when you casually let slip that you made the cranberry sauce. The delicious, vibrant cranberry sauce that costs you 3 ingredients, 20 minutes and zero perspiration. You don’t even need to fork out for fresh cranberries because this recipe calls for dried. It also calls for an orange, but honestly you can leave it out if you’re orange-less. Same goes for the cinnamon.
Seriously, if you have a good handful of cranberries on hand and a bit of tap water, you can make an excellent cranberry sauce. You can even make it a week or so before it’s needed. And if you make a little extra, pop it in a jar in the fridge and you have a lovely little gift on hand for someone.
Prep Time: 5 min Cooking time: 5 mins
Makes approx 1 x 250g jar
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup water
1 stick cinnamon
Zest then juice the orange. Reserve both zest and juice.
Place cranberries, cinnamon stick, orange juice and water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 mins until cranberries are soft.
Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stick.
Use a stick blender, blender, food processor or just a potato masher and a bit of rage to pulse the mixture into a puree - not too smooth though, as some pieces of cranberry add a nice texture. Add orange zest and stir through.
Place mixture in a 250ml jar (or 2 smaller jars).
Cranberry sauce keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When using from frozen, simply remove it from the freezer and place in the fridge the night before you serve it.
Pimp My Recipe
Try adding some christmassy spices like ginger, clove and nutmeg. A pinch of each will suffice.
If it’s a little tart and you’d like it sweeter, a teaspoon or two of maple syrup stirred through at the end is delicious.