Recipes To Get You In The Christmas Spirit (Without A Turkey In Sight)

Photo Courtesy of Top With Cinnamon.
Is it even worth acknowledging how weird and different the festive season is going to be this year? Or are we beyond stating the obvious now? Because I know it, you know it, and at this point we're trying to find comfort that doesn't break the tier rules or endanger our loved ones.
Nothing elicits that sense of comforting festivity (other than maybe Home Alone) like food. There are so many flavours, scents and textures that are intimately intertwined with the season: warming spices and root vegetables, starchy stuffings and honey glazes, chocolate, peppermint, orange and cinnamon.
These food memories can be personal too. I have a very specific sense memory linked to orange Matchmakers which always reminds me of childhood. I only need to see the box or catch a whiff of that synthetic citrus to be thrown back to a particular Christmas at home, aged 7, when I ate too much chocolate before mass and fainted on the altar (true story).
Mountains of work can go into Christmas food – the brining, the peeling, the baking, the steaming – and that's often part of the fun. But when our family units are fractured or compartmentalised thanks to a pesky pandemic, it's harder to work up the energy for all the faff. Not impossible, but way harder.
And so, as a sort of middle ground between huge amounts of food-related labour and nothing at all, we offer you festive recipes which capture the spirit of the season without taking a million years to prepare. These are meals suitable for weeknights or snacking or having a socially distant cocktail, so you can still eat, drink and be merry without pushing the boat out too far.

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