Aperitifs

Parmesan and Anchovy Palmiers

Makes about 20

250g/8oz puff pastry
50g/ 1 ¾ oz drained anchovy fillets finely chopped
¼ tsp black pepper
2tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 200˚C or Gas 6
Roll pastry to 15cm x 35cm (6in x 14in) rectangle
Trim uneven edges with a sharp knife
Spread the anchovies evenly over pastry
Sprinkle with pepper and parmesan
Roll up ends tightly to meet in the middle of pastry
Refrigerate until firm (about 20 mins)
Brush with beaten egg on all sides
Cut across into 1cm / ½ in thick slices
Place slices on an oiled baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden, about 10 mins
Cool on a wire rack – can be served warm or at room temperature

These could be made in advance – either freeze unbaked (spread them out on a baking sheet and place in freezer for about 30 mins before transferring to a poly bag or airtight container. From frozen they would take about 15 mins to cook at 200˚C
Or bake up to 3 days in advance, store in an airtight container in a cool cupboard and then when required crisp in preheated oven at 200˚C for 3 minutes.

These are simple and could be varied to suit the occasion, miss out the anchovies and just put extra parmesan, or try with finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, crushed garlic and parmesan

Christmas Drinks

I’ve pinched this idea from Nigella (I don’t think she’ll notice) and think it makes a perfect alternative – not least because it tastes good and makes a refreshing alternative to mulled wine – but could be made up in seconds (providing you have the ingredients in ready)
1 bottle Campari, 750ml of chilled blood orange juice and 750ml chilled cranberry juice (both from a carton – unless of course you have a super duper juicer or are feeling like a martyr to the season). Mix it up in batches or altogether depending on numbers – but basically 1/3 of each. If you have cocktail glasses it will look sensational but little tumblers would be just as good.