So, here we are on the final festive tip from –
12 Tips for a gorgeous, no fuss, foodie Christmas
I hope that your day went swimmingly and that having prepared your roast potatoes, vegetable side dishes, gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce ahead of time, you were relaxed and chilled enough to feel the love for Christmas Day. If you aren’t a fan of Christmas pud, hopefully you treated yourself to an alternative dessert (you’re worth it, after all) and you left some room for a sneaky slice of Christmas cake or a freshly baked mince pie. With any luck your friends and family are still gushing about your handmade food gifts and if they pop round to say a big thanks, you’re sure to be able to throw together a bit of a spread from your strategically stocked fridge and freezer. Now all you need to work out is how you are going to get through the mountain of leftover turkey.
Just think of our final festive tip as the waving of the Christmas fairy’s wand – da dah ……
Tip #12 – Think beyond turkey sarnies and turkey curry – there’s more to leftovers than those old favourites and of course it needn’t mean hours in the kitchen either.
We were at a Christmas dinner party a few nights ago – gorgeous friends, much laughter, an unbroken view of the Burj Khalifa, some furry reindeer antlers, a pair of ‘Oh my God – why did I wear these’ Christmas heels, fake snow on the front door (although questions were asked about whether it was a crime scene or a winter wonderland that we were entering), free-flowing drinks (and even more free-flowing water – there was work in the morning) and of course yummy, yummy food.
Dinner was a legendary ‘Christmas dinner in a box’ and you know what a fan I am of this inspired idea – everyone gets to enjoy a mouth-watering spread and nobody has slaved away all day to get there.
And there were crackers too – crackers from Marks and Spencer no less – which in the Middle East is even more of a treat than normal. They looked achingly stylish – not too bling (rare in Dubai), not too big, not too small, cute gifts (the ubiquitous plastic ring, a skateboard key ring (how have I ever lived without one?) and a set of tiny screwdrivers (surprisingly useful for tightening the tiny screws on your glasses)).
But the jokes … oh the jokes … Woeful in the extreme. No grooooaaannn was enough. This was pain inducing humour.
Who never gets any kisses at Christmas? A mistle-toad.
Who decorates Christmas cakes in the jungle? Tarzipan.
I get the Christmas cracker joke formula of : Question. Answer. Groan – but : Question. Answer. Blank expression. Tumbleweed moment? Tut, tut M&S – could do better.
Perhaps in an attempt to distract us from these corny gags, there was also an accompanying challenge in each cracker. The usual suspects were there – tongue twisters, impressions, songs to sing but also a challenge to guess everyone’s favourite festive food. I was quick to confess that I would choose Brussels sprouts every time but reflecting on this answer now, I was wrong. It’s leftovers. They are, for certain, my favourite festive food, and in particular the leftovers involving the main event – the turkey. Turkey sarnies – TICK. Turkey and chips – TICK. Turkey curry – TICK. And I’m especially fond of those leftover dishes that are more about combining than cooking. And if there’s not even the need to turn on the oven – Christmas leftovers nirvana.
Here is one of my favourite leftover turkey treats – Bejewelled Turkey, Pistachio & Mint Couscous. This is as pretty and as festive as it gets and you can completely throw it together in no time at all. It works like a dream in a picnic style spread but also holds its own perfectly as a meal in its own right. Don’t be tempted to pass on the yoghurt and/or the pomegranate molasses – trust me – this is the part that will make your taste buds sing. And if it’s not Christmas time or if the turkey leftovers are a distant dream – use one of those cooked chickens from the supermarket. Done and done.
So, if you’ve had your fill of turkey sarnies and curry, turn over a new leftovers leaf and try this out. And while you’re savouring this gorgeous, no fuss treat, here’s my current favourite Christmas cracker joke to make you chuckle –
What did Santa do when he went speed dating? He pulled a cracker.
Ho, ho, ho. Now that’s better isn’t it?!
- 1 cup couscous
- At least 2 cups boiling chicken or vegetable stock - I often use freshly boiled water and the relevant amount of stock powder
- 500g cooked turkey or chicken
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (I used these spicy ones)
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries or cherries
- 2 tablespoons golden sultanas
- 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios
- a handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
- the seeds of a whole pomegranate
- salt & pepper
- 4 tablespoons natural yoghurt
- a trickle of pomegranate molasses
- Cook the couscous according to the packet instructions using boiling stock instead of boiling water.
- Shred the cooked turkey or chicken into large, juicy pieces and put it into a mixing bowl with the pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries or cherries, golden sultanas and shelled pistachios.
- Season generously with salt and pepper and stir through the chopped mint leaves and pomegranate seeds, reserving some of each for garnish.
- Fluff up the couscous with a fork and fold in the ingredients in the mixing bowl.
- Top with the yoghurt, a trickle of pomegranate molasses and the reserved chopped mint leaves and pomegranate seeds.