Last weekend I threw the house open to the lovely people in my tower for our now annual Christmas social. We initially decided we ought to have a Christmas social but that everyone’s diary in December is too hectic, so we have ours in February instead.
I like cooking for people and having people in my house but I actually don’t do it very often, so it’s nice to have an excuse.
(Laid the table before counting properly AGAIN! and had to put an extra place setting in at the last minute.)
I thought that the menu had not evolved much from last year, but looking back it seems I did simplify quite a bit. I did the mulled apple juice again and offered some of the crab apple vodka to those who were both not driving and suitably aged.
It’s been cold this year, so I didn’t want to do cold starters and desserts again, and so went for a slightly ambitious three cooked courses. Crudités were still the main feature of the starter, then I was initially thinking fondue… but it would be hard to put the pot where everyone could reach it, so went for two separate baked camemberts so that each half of the table could reach. I was planning for 8 but one of us was ill on the night and we were 7 instead. Two vegetarians amongst our numbers and I was conscious that anything properly called camembert is by AOC definition not vegetarian, so there was some hummus available instead.
The mains as last year were baked potatoes with beans, cheese (veggie cheddar), sausages and Quorn sausages and homemade coleslaw.
I actually took hardly any photos this year, but I did take quite a lot of the dessert. I was making Simon Hopkinson’s sticky toffee pudding – I blogged about it before in 2013 and the recipe is still on the BBC, and it’s still decadent and delicious. The basic recipe says serves 4, and the only way that is true is if you don’t eat anything else for an entire weekend. I still doubled it and cooked it in a disposable foil roasting tin for a dessert that fed 7 people on the night, did doggy bags to take for absent partners, fed my neighbours who liked the photo on Facebook, and did me and T the following day. I still have spare ingredients and I’m making it again today for half term pudding club tomorrow 🙂
In its doubled up form you end up needing to buy over a litre of cream!
The basic date sponge cooked the night before.
With the first sticky toffee sauce poured over the top then put back under the grill.
Loads of leftovers!
I also made fudge – this Nigella recipe ish. There weren’t shelled pistachios available when I went shopping and I didn’t fancy shelling 150 grams myself, so I just used chopped hazelnuts. And glacé cherries, because why not? And then, having made fudge, and having been given two boxes of After Eights… I forgot to bring either of them out with the tea and coffee! So there were loads leftover which made nice end of term gifts at school for colleagues instead as well as satisfying my own chocolate craving whenever I walk past the fridge.