These days, when families are often so far apart, friends, especially close ones are as much a part of Christmas as those to whom we have more official ties. After a cosy and intimate Christmas day with just the very nearest and dearest open your doors, front and back to the friends who’ve meant so much to you all year and throw a festive al fresco feast.
Why a barbecue? You’ve spent a fortune on making your home look as fabulously festive on the outside as on the inside now get out there and enjoy your handy work. Get the lights from the summer out too to adorn tables and planters – these Christmas evenings draw in quickly and what a lovely atmosphere fairy lights festive or otherwise create.
What evokes memory better than scent, odours and cooking smells? The whole aromatherapy business is built on that fact and what other method of cooking is so aromatic, as evocative as barbecuing? Anyway, you have a barbecue now get your money’s worth out of it and make it work through the winter.
Give the turkey a break: After all the indulgences of the day before, maybe opt for a lighter kind of supper yet just as warming and comforting. Barbecue whole fish such as salmon or sea bass. Envelope in tin foil, throw in a few wedges of lemon, parsley and a knob of butter and when you open that package you’ll set free a gorgeous aromatic gift every one of your guests (and those looking on enviously over the fence) can enjoy.
Welcome your guests with a festive tipple: Pop a tray on top of the rack to keep hot drinks warm and from which to serve a glass of that most festive of drinks, mulled wine. For a deliciously cheek alternative, try this recipe for wicked wassail:
150ml dry cider per guest
35ml young calvados (the cheaper stuff!) per guest
Mulling herbs and spices (cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon)
Slices of barbecue seared apple to serve
You can produce the whole, steaming hot concoction on the barbecue and ladle out as required. Delicious and it’ll keep your guests’ hands warm too!
Delicious desserts: Keep desserts sweet and simple. Chestnuts roasting on the barbecue anyone? Truly irresistible drizzled with warm chocolate sauce. You can easily make a decadent fondue on the barbecue combining cream and some of those festive chocolates out of the tin. If this is an adult’s only dessert add a drop of rum or coffee liqueur too. And to dip? What could be more delicious than barbecue toasted marshmallows and grilled fruit?
Try a Boxing Day barbecue this year and I bet it will become a Christmas tradition for many years to come. You may even feel a pang for the ice and snow when the barbecue season gets going in the summer!