God Bless Delia, and all who sail in her. This year I urged my beautiful mama to have a Christmas drinks party. For me the build up to Crimbo is far more fun than the actual, exhausting day.
So I sent her, to the best salon in town, spoilt her with a facial, a hair and make-over and then made her invite her friends for mulled wine and nibbles by the fire.
The thing about Christmas drinks is that it is always short and always sweet. You can dictate the time to arrive, the time to leave – leaving you with several hours filled with the finer things in life hand-made canapés and ice-cold Prosseco or home-made mulled wine – a tradition in my house.
The canapés were simple but oh so delicious and in the main from Delia’s Christmas book; a bloody useful tome indeed. Hand made cheese and pistachio sables – the perfect party nibble – mouth-melting delicacies and super easy to knock up.
Grate a strong hard cheese; cheddar or parmesan, add some flour, some cubed pieces of cold butter, a good pinch of cayenne, s&p, and some crushed pistachios – rub into crumbs and mix until you have a dough. Roll it into a sausage shape and then put it in the freezer for half an hour, then carefully slice into small rounds and bake in a hot oven for ten minutes or so. I also served the best cocktail sausages (Speldhurst Sausages) daubed in local honey and french mustard and served hot and sticky with napkins and cocktail sticks.
My father, an international fly-fisherman, this autumn caught a large salmon in Scotlands’ River Tay, he had it smoked and we all got to enjoy it. I served it piled up on made-made garlic croutons, with a generous blob of crème fraiche mixed with horseradish and plenty of dill.
Home-made cheese straws, mince-pies and a rich mulled wine spiced with nutmeg, cloves, oranges and soft brown sugar made the evening another indulgent moment amongst the festive season.