Christmas nibbles by E J Catering

Christmas nibbles to put in the freezer.

MAKING Christmas food ahead for the freezer, spreads the cost, the hassle, the pressure and the mess but, as I found out this week, the most important part of cooking for the freezer is to make sure you have room in it before you start!

I spent an evening prepping, imagining Christmas and all the noise and mess with just a small amount of dread but the radio was on and the tunes helped my thoughts flow away – until I opened the freezer and discovered it was full.

This weekend’s job is to defrost and eat. At work my freezer is 3mx2m, big enough to keep a snowman in there, so I know my Christmas nibbles will be safe, even if they are six miles away from my house!

Twisted cheese and chorizo straws

2 sheets of puff pastry

1 egg

1 tablespoon of mustard – any type

100g chorizo or smoked bacon

4 spring onions

60g parmesan cheese

1 stick of celery

Remove the skin from the chorizo and dice small, or slice the bacon and cook in a hot pan until crispy.

In a small chopper or magimix put the chorizo / bacon, chopped spring onions, grated parmesan, celery stick and whizz it to a chunky paste

Lay a sheet of puff pastry on the work top and stab it all over with a fork. Now crack the egg and beat it with the mustard. Spread this generously over the pastry before spreading on  the chunky paste.

Lay down the second sheet of pastry, stab it and egg wash it and now put it on top. Gently stick them together. Put this all back in the fridge because it is much easier to cut and twist when it is firm and chilled.

A few hours later, remove from the fridge and cut strips lengthwise about a centimetre wide. Twist one hand to the right and another to the left till you have a lovely twist of pastry with the colour of the chorizo coiled through. Put them back on the baking tray and into the freezer.

On Christmas morning put them on a baking tray from frozen and into the oven at 175C for about 8-12 minutes. The family will be queuing at the oven door for the twists which look a little like sticks of savoury candy

Other fillings:

Sautéed leek and brie; red onion, tomato and Caerphilly (use a squeeze of good quality sundried tomato paste); blue cheese, walnut and celery – all delicious.

Christmas shortbread – make, roll and freeze

2 oz caster sugar

4oz butter

6oz flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves or lemon or orange zest whichever takes your fancy

Cream the butter and sugar together, add the flour and spice and work into a dough. Rest it in the fridge. Roll it out onto a floured surface about ½cm thick and cut into a shape. Freeze these on greaseproof paper until you are ready and cook from frozen at 140C for 8-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and lightly dust with sugar. Warning: the family will be queuing again!

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