Oh, the festive season - when your social life goes from nought to 60 in 2 days and you start spend your evenings at events of enforced jolliness, trying not to embarrass yourself in front of your workmates! Though I shouldn't complain - at least I'm not in the team that had to go to karaoke last night. That sounds like enforced jolliness on an epic scale.
Not that I'm a bah humbug type, far from it. I've been having a fine old time seeking out festive fun. And that's why I missed the Wednesday round-up last week. And I've been getting very behind in my blog reading - I had to work my way through over 250 posts this evening. Which is a fine way to spend an evening - as long as it's not the same evening you simply must make your Christmas biscuits to hand out at work! But there have been some delicious looking goodies around over the last week or two, so here goes.
First of all, I really like the sound of this recipe for Stuffed peppers, from Nigel Slater's new book Tender. It sounds incredibly simple but tasty - just the sort of thing you can rely of Nigel for. And he's also responsible for this Chickpea and chorizo stew, a colourful, comforting one pot meal made with two of my favourite ever ingredients. And while I've got chorizo in the house, I'm also going to make Refried beans with salsa and chorizo. Liz puts anchovies in her recipe, and I'm dying to give it a try, having become a total convert to adding anchovies for extra flavour to all kinds of dishes.
Other delicious savoury treats I spotted this Welsh Rarebit soup, made with leeks, beer and cheese, this Empanada Gallega, a classic Spanish pie perfect for filling with leftover fish or meat and this Chicken, butternut and feta lasagne, which looks creamy and delicious.
As for sweet things I think you might like of late, well, I don't think you'll be disappointed. If you like chocolate, I'd strongly recommend that you head over to see these Molten chocolate puddings, these Dark chocolate, cinnamon and hazelnut truffles and these Very chocolate cupcakes. And if you enjoy your deep fried doughnut type desserts, check out these Churros y chocolate and these Pear fritters. Yum and yum!
But all this normal food is fine and dandy, but where's the festive stuff, I hear (some of) you cry. Well, don't you worry, there's plenty of recipes around blogsville for the eager Christmas cook. Firstly, one of my very favourite seasonal treats is mulled wine, so I was delighted to see a recipe at Gin and Crumpets. Or an equally festive alternative that definitely looks worth a try is this Apple & Spice vin chaud. There's also a Christmas cake recipe that I think I might have to try next year. (As eager beaver readers know, I've already made mine.) This one at Sarah Cooks looks so moist and delicious - and it's ANOTHER Nigel Slater recipe. That boy gets about, doesn't he?
It's always handy to have a cake for those people who don't like Christmas cake (foolish but quite common, I find) and this Sticky orange and almond cake looks like just the job. Or how about these turrón inspired Almond, honey and orange shortbreads, which look so fragrant and crumbly? In fact, there's loads of sweet Christmassy treats around - I'd also like to point you in the direction of these Spiced oat cookies inspired by something called a pfeffernusse, which is apparently a German spiced cookie. Not a noise you make when you sneeze. Anyway, check out the cookies, they are gorgeous. I also really like the idea of Gingerbread pancakes - a nice bit of spiciness to start a festive day, and I imagine that they'd get you through a great deal of Christmas shopping. Next in the parade of seasonal sweets are these Stained glass window cookies. I'd never heard of such a thing, but as is always the way, someone brought them up in conversation just after I'd seen this post. A marvellous idea for making very pretty cookies. And finally, Sig of Scandilicious did a stall at Covent Garden market and has provided the recipes for a whole long list of amazing cakes here.
Meanwhile, there are the savoury items also to be taken care of, and two very different posts jumped out at me here. One was for a classic, but one where you're always looking for tips and hints in the quest for perfection - The Daily Spud's guide to the perfect roast potato. The other uses a traditional Christmas ingredient to make something totally new and inspiring - a Sprout and pomegranate pilaff.
And last but by no means least, there is a wonderful long list of holiday baking and present ideas here, as well as the PDF for some very cute gift tags for your presents.