Complete Christmas menu: For two
At Christmas, the spotlight turns to feeding crowds and bustling family affairs. But if you fancy a break from the hubbub, weâve put together a full festive feasting menu so the cosy duo need not miss out.
During the festive season, the focus is on big gatherings and bustling family time. But if a Christmas dinner that has the feel of a bottle-necked M1 motorway is unappealing to you, cooking for a couple requires a bit more imagination. Festive food is geared towards feeding a crowd, the highlight being the big bird, but there's plenty of other indulgences, which can be enjoyed on a smaller scale.
The right approach
A meal for two offers more opportunity for the whole experience to be savoured - without a 5-year-old cousin hanging off your leg, you can discuss your food minus distractions. It's well worth splashing out on some special touches - a really good bottle of fizz, a great cheeseboard, and more expensive luxury items like oysters, lobster, game and the best free-range, organic meat.
Start the day
You're likely to have excess when buying certain ingredients- smoked salmon being a good example. Use leftovers from brunch as a starter later in the day.
Spinach and smoked salmon egg muffins
Making gallons of homemade hollandaise for a large breakfast gathering would result in a raised pulse and kitchen breakages beyond just the eggs. But it's the kind of special touch for two you can take some special care over.
Video guide to making hollandaise sauce
The meal begins...
Just like at breakfast, you're likely to have excess when buying the main component of your starter. Choose things like a high quality blue cheese, which can then be used on a cheeseboard.
Roquefort toasts with peppered pears
Expensive smoked salmon left over from brunch can be worked into plenty of vibrant salads.
Smoked salmon salad with crab dressing
Shellfish like scallops and oysters can be bought individually, so hit up your fishmonger for as many as you're willing to splash out on.
Pan-fried scallops with butternut squash two ways
Oysters with oriental dressing
The main course
Game is at its best in November, but try to catch it during the festive period before it goes out of season completely. Game birds are often modestly- sized so perfect for feeding two generously. Try pheasant with earthy accompaniments.
Roast pheasant with wild mushroom, potato and bacon
Guinea fowl is sometimes more poussin-sized so you could have one each if feeling particularly hungry!
One-pot roast guinea fowl
If you donât want to carve a whole bird, pick up some high quality steaks, like venison.
Venison steaks with stroganoff sauce and shoestring fries/p>
If all this talk of wild red meat leaves you cold, try making your own pasta as a light vegetarian alternative and serving with wild porcini as that special touch.
Open ravioli with squash and porcini mushrooms
While baking a cake or stirring up a fruity basin pudding isn't out of the question as dense desserts like this keep for weeks, you might be eating currant cake well into February! Individual puddings are a good way forward and chocolate fondants are always a safe bet.
Chocolate and almond puds with boozy hot chocolate
The mould shape of fondants is a similar to little Christmas pudding, as a nod to the time of year, plus throw in some contents from your festive bag of nuts.
Chocolate pecan fondants
Take a break from chocolate and experiment with your type of sponge.
Warm honey cup puddings
Replace pudding batter with zabaglione mix for a iced Italian dessert.
Iced hazelnut zabagliones
Toast the occasion
If you're going to splash out on one drink at Christmas, it should definitely be a really good bottle of fizz. Champagne and Cava have given way to Prosecco in recent years - it's cheaper from the off, so spend a little extra and you can get a really high quality version. Try it in a cocktail.
For something a little more seasonal try warming up your cocktail.
Winter Pimms punch
Go for a luxurious coffee and cream boozy combo, with a romantic-sounding Angel's kiss.
For all that downtime when you'll be kicking back and watching festive TV specials, you'll need sustenance from a customary selection of nibbles, treats and morsels.
Ok, so this isn't exactly a tin of chocolates, but if you fancy a quick snack with a bit of finesse, try some luxurious shellfish.
Griddled langoustines with hazelnut butter
Roast and glaze your own nuts - they last for ages and make a great accompaniment to a cold drink.
Spiced pecans and peach fizz
Take a break from festive food with something comforting and cosy.
Smoked haddock rarebit