If you’re planning on inviting people around for a buffet during the festive season, and are looking for easy, hassle-free ways to feed a crowd then feast your eyes on these delicious recipes and handy tips.
Turn your leftovers into something spectacular. Get creative with any spare Christmas pud and transform it into a trifle with fruit, custard and whipped cream, or give turkey a delicious revamp by making a spicy biryani. You’ll be amazed at what tasty things you can do with your Christmas leftovers.
Make things easy for yourself and fill your table with informal platters that everyone can tuck into. For some classy street food try these loaded lobster fries, or go for something a bit spicy as a break from rich festive fare, such as this crispy-coated miso fried chicken with sriracha mayo.
Don't forget ingredients you've already got stashed in the cupboards when thinking about your menu. Everyone loves pasta, so rustle up your favourite macaroni cheese with a festive twist by adding some leftover ham. Chickpeas could be whizzed into these veggie fritters or fried as falafel with houmous to dip, or for dessert, try a warming pud for a hit of nostalgia with this easy spiced rice pudding that can be cooked in the slow cooker.
Why mess around with intricate canapés that take ages to make when you can create this trio of impressive canapés with only three ingredients for each one. It takes just minutes to whip up cucumber and feta rolls for a savoury bite, or mini salted caramel brownies and meringue sandwiches for a sweet treat.
There’s no need to worry about topping up anyone’s glass if you mix up a big batch drinks ahead of the party. Try a spicy ginger rum punch, boozy pear and brandy cocktail or a fruity cranberry mocktail to keep all your guests happy.
Worried about last-minute guests? Stash a few sneaky standbys in the freezer in advance to get you out of a tight spot. For a hearty meal, this beef and barley pie freezes brilliantly ready to bake when needed, while this spicy lentil stew makes a delicious veggie dinner ready with just an hour's notice. For an impromptu lunch, this smoked salmon and potato tart can be reheated from frozen ready to slice and serve.
Everyone loves a sweet treat, so be sure to have plenty to go around. It wouldn't be Christmas without a batch of mince pies to hand round and these Viennese whirl mince pies will be an unexpected delight. Packed with festive spices, this sticky ginger cake keeps well so is a great bake to stash in a tin for a few days.
Mexican dishes are naturally made for sharing, with tortillas and tacos that guests can load up themselves with whichever toppings they like (no need to worry about fussy eaters!). Try cooking up a big pot of chilli con carne or platter of spicy pulled pork tacos. The serving options are endless... bowls of rice, soft wraps, crunchy nachos, zingy salsas, creamy guacamole, grated cheese, cooling soured cream, extra chillies and juicy limes to squeeze over. Dig in!
You can't beat a good cheeseboard. As a start include a hard, soft and blue cheese for balance, such as Cheddar, Brie and Stilton, then pair with crunchy crackers, refreshing grapes or celery and a sweet, sticky chutney for a good mix of flavours and textures. You can then ring the changes with different cheeses, flavoured crackers, roasted nuts, honey, figs, dried fruit and more alongside. For the ultimate cheese feast, go for this gooey baked Camembert with homemade fig and shallot bread swirls.
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