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Tasty Christmas alternative recipes

We’ve come up with a few tasty ideas to help inspire you this Christmas Day if you’re looking for alternatives to the usual Christmas menu.

Traditional Christmas fare is great, but let’s face it, probably more suited to colder climes for which it was invented. Here are some other delicious options for a (hopefully) hot, sunny Christmas Day. Just make sure you leave room for all those goodies….

Christmas fruit platter with cinnamon mascarpone, yoghurt or ice cream

There’s something very festive about a bright, fresh array of summer fruit and it makes a nice change from the heavy Christmas pudding.

Ingredients
 
• peaches, halved and stoned
• 3 apricots, halved and stoned
• 6 mango cheeks (3 mangoes)
• 1 small pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks
• 1 punnet (150g) raspberries
• 1 punnet (125g) blueberries
• 1 punnet (250g) strawberries, halved
 
Method

Arrange the fruit on a large serving platter.
Serve with bowls of ice cream, yoghurt or 250g of mascarpone with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of icing sugar.
The fruit and side dishes can be prepared in advance, covered in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge. When you’re ready, serve and enjoy!
As mentioned the fruit platter could work as an alternative dessert, but equally it could make a nice brunch.

Mini spinach & pinenut quiches

Mini spinach and pinenut quiches will go down well with everyone. They're a particularly good choice if you've got a large group to cater for and they make for excellent leftovers come Boxing Day, if there are any left after Christmas Day that is!

Ingredients

- 3 sheets of frozen puff pastry
- 4 eggs 
-  1/2 cup milk (or cream depending on your preference)
- 1 packet frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup grated tasty cheese

Method

• Put sheets of pastry on the bench to thaw – this should take about 10 minutes.
• Preheat your oven to 180C and lightly butter a 24-hole cupcake tray (or 2 x 12-holes).
• Cook your onion and spinach in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat until the onion starts to brown.
• Cut 24 rounds of pastry and place in the tray.
• Place about a teaspoonful of spinach and onion mixture into the pastry cases and sprinkle about the same amount of cheese.
• Whisk the eggs and milk together in a jug, then gently pour into the pastry cases until just below the rim of the pastry. Sprinkle a few pine nuts on top.
• Bake for 10-15 minutes until filling has risen and is golden. Serve warm.

You can make your quiches the day before. Take them out of the oven when they start to brown, then cover and store in the fridge. Simply reheat when you plan to serve them.

Rhubarb and champagne jelly

This one's a sophisticated dessert just for the grown ups. It's surprisingly easy to prepare, but is bound to wow your family and friends. It should take around 40 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

- Take 750g of fresh rhubarb washed and cut into 2cm chunks
- 110g of fine sugar
- 1 litre of water
- 250ml of champagne (you can use sparkling wine, but champagne is preferable)
- 10g of powdered gelatin in a little warm water

Method

• Put the rhubarb in a non-aluminum pan, add sugar and water and bring gently to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes then remove from the heat and leave until completely cold.
• Pour the rhubarb into a fine sieve over a large bowl. Leave the juice to drip for 10 minutes. Do not force the rhubarb through. Pour 500ml of the strained juice and place into a small pan.
• Dissolve the powdered gelatin in 3 tablespoons of water. Add the gelatin to the rhubarb juice in the pan and heat gently until the gelatin is completely dissolved. DO NOT BOIL. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then add the champagne and mix gently.
• Pour into four glasses and chill for at least four hours before serving.

For more inspiration, see how Menus readers describe their perfect Christmas dinner or, better yet, try our traditional Christmas pudding recipe.

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