11 December 2013

Fuss Free Christmas


I have a toddler.

He's adorable.

He's nearly 4 and starting to make his mind up about everything and deciding what he likes and doesn't like.  He has an opinion about everything and loves to share his opinions.

On the last few Christmas days I've missed all the fun.

I've, yes you guessed it been stuck in the kitchen. Now I love to cook and I like to share food with my family, but I missed out on so much of the fun and the joy of his excitement on Christmas Day. I have family over from morning until night, so there is breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to provide.

This year I am doing it differently. He won't be little much longer, so I'm going to join in the fun this year. I'll make soup the night before for lunch and I'll do my own gravy and roast potatoes, but for everything else I will be relying on Mr Marks and Mr Spencer.

I've been trying out a few of their dishes ahead of time to get an idea of what I might serve. For Christmas dinner, I tried:

  


Starter:
Indian-Style Snacks with a dip and some salad

Main Course:
Caramelised Onion & Goats Cheese Tarts
Parmentier Potatoes  
Red Cabbage
Peas and Carrot Batons

Dessert:
Sicillian Lemon & Ricotta Cheesecake 



The Indian snacks were lovely, crisp and spicy. The tarts are a new favourite. I have to give them 5 stars, they were delicious and will definitely be making an appearance on Christmas Day. The sides were good too and then lemon cheesecake finished off the meal beautifully. I'll be buying the cheesecake again too.

For Boxing Day I tried:

  • Vegetable Quiche
  • Potatoes in Herb Butter
  • Mexican Coleslaw
  • Festive Fruity Couscous with Pecans
  • Orzo Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
 and


I would serve this as a buffet on Boxing Day with a dressed salad,  bowls of pickles and maybe some crusty bread and let everyone help themselves.

M&S quiches are always good, the festive couscous had a lovely dressing and a nice crunch from the pecans and I really liked the Mexican coleslaw, which had a pleasant kick to it.

The cake, as they say on The Great British Bake Off is a showstopper and would be great on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. It will definitely wow your guests.

An all-butter fruit cake, packed with jumbo vine fruits and nuts, and fed twice with Cognac and covered in marzipan and soft icing, then hand-finished with soft and royal icing decorations to look like a fairy forest.

Moist, delicious and just wonderful! It tastes like Christmas.

Simple, but delicious food, that requires little work after a hectic Christmas Day. Perfect!

Hurry though, there are only 5 days left to order Christmas Food from M&S.

Have a very happy and stress-free Christmas!


Disclosure: M&S provided some samples of their vegetarian food for me to try. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed were my own.


 

15 comments:

  1. Good. A cook needs rest from all the hard work sometimes. Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks, I think you are right. I shall have some fun this year.

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  2. Several things have me longing in this post Jacqueline. Sadly Marks and Spencers is gone from Canada. It is also hard to believe that Cooper is 4. How the time flies. It is very wise to get out of the kitchen during the holidays.

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    1. Ah that's a shame Val, It's a great shop. I know what you mean about Cooper turning 4, it has all gone by in a flash!

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  3. Oh, good choice, Jac, to just buy dinner and enjoy the diners. That makes just so much more sense. We use our ordinary dishes on that day, too, because we can bung them in the dishwasher and not wash them by hand. A lovely table runner and stacks of festively colored napkins is good enough.

    The nephew (5) started violin lessons, and will be playing Jingle Bells for us. We're all pretty chuffed he's learned that in only a week of lessons! (Okay, it's not perfect, but he's practicing like mad.)

    Happy Christmas, all! ♥

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    1. Wow, that's pretty good in a week. Entertainment laid on for you then Tanita. Excellent!

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  4. Oh wow, I want a fuss free Christmas too. I wish M&S would send me some veggie and vegan goodies to try out, esp as they have some enticing veggie treats for Christmas.

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    1. I was too early to try out the Christmas food, apart from the cake, but you know it is all going to be great when it comes from Markies.

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  5. Good for you! It's the one day when the food should take care of itself!

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    1. Thanks Janice, I am beginning to think that.

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  6. Good for you! When my daughter was 4 and younger we had Christmas lunch at my in-laws - staying for several days. We all pitched in so it wasn't too onerous on hubby's mum. Christmas has been here for years (daughter is 17) but I do pre-prepare stuff for the freezer (having whittled down its contents over the preceding months!), and the day before prep fresh stuff. Then - then! - hubby and father-in-law get the glory as they put it all together while I hover nervously with a glass of Champagne. One year they caught a tea towel on fire... Lucky you having a wee break and enjoying loads of good M&S goodies AND being involved with other aspects of Christmas. Have a wonderful, wonderful time, Jac. x

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    1. Oh dear, I can see why you hover, but bless them for trying. I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year. You have a great time too x

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  7. We have our Christmas meal on Christmas Eve. That we we still have a traditional home cooked meal, but can enjoy Christmas Day without all the bother of cooking...I actually prefer Christmas leftovers anyway!

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  8. Your son is adorable! I can totally relate to wanting to spend more time with family than stuck in the kitchen, and if one can get some help, why not? All the food looks amazing. Have a wonderful Christmas, Jacqueline!

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  9. he is gorgeous and I bet he loves spending time with his mum too. We have christmas dinner with my parents and everyone brings something so it is isn't too much fuss - but it is the reason I make a very simple nut roast for each christmas - can make it with my eyes closed because it is so easy - well almost - I have tried the Marks and Sparks nut roast a few years ago (don't know if they still have it) and loved it. Here's to a stress free christmas for you.

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I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x

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