How To Entertain This Month – With Alexandra Dudley
I love a festive-themed dinner party, but it’s easy to feel bored by too much turkey, potatoes and sprouts. To ensure everyone still has an appetite for their Christmas lunch on the 25th, I prefer to serve a bit of a twist on classic festive flavours. Sticky marmalade chicken has notes of orange and whisky but is peppered with aromatic fennel and caraway seeds. It pairs wonderfully with a citrusy herby dressed spinach and sunflower seed salad. My boozy fruit tart is essentially a giant mince pie, only elevated. Go as boozy as you like with this one and serve it with good double cream.
I cannot resist drinking champagne at this time of year and love a good blanc de blancs. It works especially well as a drink to carry you from pre-drinks through to supper. My go-to is Champagne Lanson. It has a wonderful crisp flavour and delicate bubble.
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THE MAIN: Sticky Marmalade Chicken
Marmalade may seem like an odd ingredient to pair with chicken, but it works perfectly in this. The natural sweetness creates a flavourful marinade that becomes glossy and sticky as it cooks. I love a splash of whisky to add depth of flavour and a little festive indulgence. Crispy roasted new potatoes or wild rice go well alongside it, as does the salad below.
THE SIDE: Spinach Salad With Zingy Coriander Dressing
Bursting with flavour, this simple salad is one of those sides that tastes good with just about anything. I love to throw it together when I feel the table needs a burst of green. If you are a coriander hater, it would be delicious with basil too.
THE PUDDING: Boozy Fruit Tart
I love a festive pudding and this is just that. Sticky dates, raisins and sultanas all married together with Christmas spices and a good glug of whisky. If you don't like alcohol you could use apple juice in the place of the whisky. It is important to assemble the tart with everything as cold as possible, so do not skimp on the chilling time for the pastry. This recipe also works very well for traditional mince pies. Just follow these steps but make it to a smaller size using a cutter and a cupcake pan.
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