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Creating the perfect Boxing Day buffet

Insights

After the big event on Christmas comes the buffet. FG’s cookery editor Leah Byrom offers up some ideas for creating an impressive spread.

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Boxing Day is when the real feast happens isn't it? Make the most of your leftovers! #food #Christmas

I love to make a Boxing Day buffet for our family. Our Christmas festivities officially kick off with a big fish pie on Christmas Eve and then a traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings on Christmas Day.

 

So by Boxing Day we are always ready for a less formal and lighter dinner. Though I am sure after all the helpings it probably ends up as much food as the previous couple of days. And we always add a great big bowl of king prawns fried in gallons of garlic and parsley butter.


I always think of Boxing Day cooking as a bit of a challenge. A great time to dream up new recipes. I hate food wastage, so try to think of every way possible to reuse food so as not to throw it away. Even down to making just a couple of snacks to use up ingredients.

 

So I hope this week’s recipes will inspire you to use any leftovers rather than buying more and more food.

 

Turkey, sausage and cranberry quiche

Turkey, sausage and cranberry quiche

Great for a buffet as this quiche is delicious served hot or cold

 

Ingredients (serves six)

 

Prep time: 40 minutes; Cooking time: 40 minutes

 

For the pastry:

 

140g plain flour

70g butter

One tspn fresh thyme leaves

½ tspn rock salt

 

For the mixture:

 

300ml double cream

Two eggs plus two egg yolks

75g cheese

One tspn dijon mustard

Two onions

125g Turkey meat

100g Sausages

One tbspn cranberry sauce

 

Method

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 190degC/375F/Gas Mark 5
  2. To make the pastry rub the butter into the flour. Stir in the thyme leaves and enough water to make a soft but not sticky dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest
  3. To prepare the filling, finely dice the onion and completely soften in a knob of butter. Cut the turkey into chunks and the sausages into thick slices. Grate the cheese
  4. Lightly grease and flour a 25cm quiche dish. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface and use to line the dishes. Bake blind
  5. Spread the mustard over the base of the quiche. Spread the turkey, sausages, cheese and onion in the quiche case
  6. Mix the cream with the eggs and egg yolks and season. Pour over the filling
  7. Place small spoons of the cranberry in the top and bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden in colour

 

Leah’s tip

  • Make double the pastry required and keep half in the freezer

 

Christmas cous cous salad

Christmas cous cous salad

A very beautiful and festive looking salad. Looks great as part of a buffet

 

Ingredients (serves eight)

 

Prep time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 20 minutes

 

200g cous cous

50g dried cranberries

½ butternut squash, cubed and roasted

25g pine kernels

50g walnuts

125g Halloumi cheese

Couple of sprigs of mint, reserving some for garnish

One pomegranate or a small tub of seeds

Juice of ½ lemon

 

Method

 

  1. Place the cous cous and cranberries in a mixing bowl and cover with boiling water, as per cous cous packet instructions. Leave to stand
  2. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts and kernels. Cut the halloumi into chunks and pan fry until golden. Chop the mint
  3. Once the cous cous is ready, mix all the ingredients except the pomegranate and season to taste
  4. Place in a serving bowl and scatter over the pomegranate and remaining mint

 

Leah’s tip

  • Should you have any sweet roasted vegetables left over from Christmas day, they will be delicious chopped and stirred into this salad
Potato and parsnip frittata

Potato and parsnip frittata

An excellent and tasty way of preparing your potato dish in advance. Cut into slices to serve

 

Ingredients (serves eight)

 

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: 40 minutes

 

Two onions

500g potatoes

150g parsnips

Two sprigs fresh thyme

Four eggs

 

Method

 

  1. Finely slice the onion into whole rings and soften in a generous knob of butter in a good non-stick 25cm frying pan
  2. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and slice into 3mm thickness. Place in a pan of cold water, bring to simmer and parboil for about four minutes. Drain
  3. Do the same with the parsnip, only slice these as finely as possible and parboil for four minutes
  4. Over a gentle heat lay the thyme on top of the onions and neatly arrange the first layer of potatoes on the onion and thyme. Press in half of the rest of the potatoes, then layer the parsnips and finally the remaining potato
  5. Break the eggs into a jug and break up with a fork. Season and slowly and evenly pour over the egg mixture. Place in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes
  6. To serve warm a plate, gently run a spatula round the edge of the frittata and give it a shake until it comes loose. Place the plate, upturned, on the pan and turn the frittata out

 

Leah’s Tip

 

  • Try this recipe using other thinly-sliced root vegetables in the middle. Celeriac and sweet potato also work really well
sticky date

Sticky date, Stilton and apple salad

Prep time: 40 minutes; Cooking time: 40 minutes

 

A sweet and savoury salad that helps use up remnants from the previous days cheeseboard

 

Ingredients (serves six)

 

Mixed salad leaves

One red apple

10 dates

One tspn brown sugar

Two tbspn port

50g Stilton

Four tbspn olive oil

Two tbspn balsamic vinegar

One tspn dijon mustard

One tspn honey

 

Method

 

  1. Slice the dates into lengths and place in a small saucepan with the sugar and port and gently simmer until absorbed
  2. To make the dressing, whisk together the oil and vinegar, add the honey and mustard and season
  3. Crumble the stilton into small pieces and slice the apple into thin matchsticks
  4. Just before serving, dress the salad with the dressing and toss with the cheese. Scatter the dates and apples over the top

 

Leah’s tip

  • Whilst this salad does require assembly just before serving it can all be prepared in advance. To prepare the apple in advance simply slice and leave in cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice

 

Chocolate orange pavlova

Chocolate orange pavlova

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: 2 hours

 

By only having to slice oranges there is less faff involved than preparing lots of different fruits…

 

Ingredients (serves six)

 

Three egg whites

160g caster sugar

60g dark chocolate

275ml double cream

Four oranges

 

Method

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 130degC/260F/Gas Mark 3. Line a baking tray with paper
  2. Melt the chocolate. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and gradually add the sugar a spoon at a time. Gently fold the molten chocolate in, but just enough to give a rippled effect
  3. Drop dollops of the meringue mixture onto the paper to form a 20cm circle and fill the middle in with the remaining mixture. Place in the oven for about 1.5 hours
  4. Gently peel off the paper and place on a serving dish
  5. To prepare the oranges, slice the tops and bottoms off each orange and slice the outside peel away. Very finely slice about 10g of the peel into thin strips to decorate. Finely slice the orange across ways
  6. Whisk the cream and spread over the centre of the pavlova
  7. Place the oranges on top and finally the sliced peel. Decorate with edible glitter

 

Leah’s tip

  • Before whisking egg whites, always rub the inside of the mixing bowl with a piece of kitchen roll dabbed with vinegar. This will just remove any trace of grease and help your egg whites whisk better

Christmas Day leftovers

Bag up the turkey carcase ready for a cold winters day in January. Then defrost and place in a large pan with a roughly chopped onion (skin still on to give a beautiful rich brown colour), bay leaf, carrot, celery, bunch of parsley and roughly chopped leek ready to produce a beautiful stock for a special turkey and barley soup

 

Make a tasty Christmas dinner pie – Make a rich and creamy bechamel sauce and add to it a selection of chopped turkey, sausage and leftover chopped vegetables. Place in a gratin dish and cover with a sheet of shortcrust pastry. Either bake and enjoy or pop in the freezer for another day

 

A brunch alternative using an abundance of left over roasties – Place leftover roasties in a mixing bowl and use a rolling pin to crush them. Heat a frying pan and place greased egg-frying rings in and cram with the crushed potato mixture. Fry until golden and top with shredded turkey and a fried egg.

 

And then there’s the sprouts…. Bring a non-stick pan of double cream to the boil and reduce by one-third. Finely shred the sprouts and mix into the cream. Add a handful of grated parmesan, a generous amount of seasoning and a spoon of chopped parsley. My favourite way with sprouts

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