T’is the season to be jolly, merry and for operators at least, very, very busy. It’s at this time of year that Christmas party season starts to get under way and operators need to plan their menus accordingly to ensure Christmas parties go off with a bang. Menus can be one of the trickiest things to get right, as they need to both impress and be relatively painless to pull off.
With this in mind, here are five quick and easy recipes for operators looking to provide fuss-free, show stopping party food this Christmas.
1. Spicy sausage rolls
Sausage rolls are a no-brainer at any party and a firm festive favourite. The recipe for these is really simple, all it needs is for the pastry to be rolled out, filled with sausage meat and the Branston Mediterranean Tomato Chutney then folded onto itself. These should then be sealed, coated in the egg and popped in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the pastry is crispy and golden. The sausage rolls should be left to cool for 20 minutes before serving. If you’re making a larger batch for use across multiple functions, then any spares can also be frozen and kept back for use at a later date.
- Butter or oil, for greasing
- Plain flour, for dusting
- 320g sheet of puff pastry
- 350g sausage meat
- 50g mild Cheddar, chopped into small cubes
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (we recommend Sarson’s)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 100g Branston Mediterranean Tomato Chutney
- 1 egg, beaten
- Ground black pepper
2. Goat’s cheese crostini
Super easy to serve on a platter, goat’s cheese crostini is quick to make, yet ensures an elegant canapé perfect for any party. Another benefit of this recipe is that it uses minimal ingredients and can also help use up any leftovers, ensuring minimal food waste. Simply toast baguette rounds and season with oil and garlic before topping with pickle and goat’s cheese. It really is that simple!
- 1 French baguette sliced into 1cm thick rounds
- 1 garlic clove
- 300g goat’s cheese
- 3 tbsp walnut oil
- 1/2 360g jar of Branston pickle
- A few thyme sprigs, leaves picked
- 3 tbsp walnuts chopped
3. Veggie Cheese and Dorset Ale Chutney Puffs
Another great option for operators looking for crowd-pleasing party food which only requires hands to eat are our Veggie Cheese and Dorset Ale Chutney Puffs. This recipe does take a little longer to pull together as the veggie filling needs to be pan fried and left to cool for at least fifteen minutes before being layered over the pastry. This recipe uses our Branston Dorset Apple Chutney which should be combined with the cheese and pre-cooked vegetable filling before being carefully piled onto the pastry. A second piece of pasty should be placed on top of this one and sealed with a fork along the edges to create the little parcel. Don’t forget the all-important egg wash to prevent the pastry from burning as it cooks. These can be served hot or cold with an accompanying Dorset Ale Chutney dip to serve.
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 peeled, diced carrot
- 1 peeled and diced parsnip
- 1 peeled and diced onion
- 1 peeled and diced potato (approx. 150g)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 75g roughly chopped spinach
- 8 tbsp Branston Dorset Ale and Apple Chutney
- 100g reduced fat mature cheddar cheese cubes
- 2x 320g sheets of ready rolled puff pasty
- 1 egg beaten for brushing
- 2 tbsp mixed seeds
- Extra Branston Dorset Ale & Apple Chutney to serve
4. Cheese and Smooth Pickle Doughnuts
As a quirky and surprisingly tangy twist on a classically sweet dessert option, we’ve created a recipe for Cheese and Smooth Pickle Doughnuts, offering not only a talking point for guests, but something a little different to the norm.
All it requires is a really simple dough (which should be left to rise), filled in the middle with a small chunk of cheese. The mixture then needs to be left to rise again before being fried in oil, left to cool and filled with a portion of our tangy Branston smooth pickle and dusted with a ‘snow’ of garlic salt and paprika.
What’s great about this recipe is that you don’t have to stick to a traditional cheddar cheese filling. This cheese filling can be substituted with any hard or soft cheese or even a handful of different cheeses. This can also ensure any leftover cheeses can be used up, helping to avoid food waste.
- 300g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- 2tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil, plus approximately 1 litre for frying
- ½ tsp caster sugar
- 7g sachet easy bake yeast
- 60g parmesan, finely grated
- 40g Red Leicester, coarsely grated, plus 60g cut into 1cm cubes
- 1tbsp chopped chives
- 2tsp English mustard powder
- 1½ tsp garlic salt
- Good pinch cayenne or chilli powder
- 2 medium eggs
- 100ml warm milk
- 6tbsp Branston Smooth Pickle
- 1tsp mild paprika
5. Pickle me cheesy cocktail
For the more adventurous guests, we’ve created our very own Branston based cocktail to toast the festive season! All ingredients should be combined in a cocktail shaker with cubed ice and shaken for around 30 seconds. After that, the cocktail should be strained over fresh ice into a clean Branston Pickle jar (or any glass will do) and garnished with a cracker, cheese and pickle combination of choice!
- 1 spoon Branston Pickle Puree (blitzed in blender)
- 35ml Irish Whiskey
- 15ml Lemon Juice
- 15ml Sherry
- 25ml Cloudy Apple Juice
- 30ml Egg White
- 15ml Demerara Syrup
- 2 Dash Angostura Bitters
Menus can be one of the trickiest things to get right especially over the Christmas period, as they need to impress guests and not cause major disruption to an operation. These five quick recipes will help operators provide guests with a selection of delicious, alternative dishes that won’t prove too difficult to make.
For detailed step-by-step instructions and even more menu ideas, head to the Branston website.