Friendship is important. Friends are supportive, they get you through hard times, put up with your complaining and are often thought of as ‘the family you choose for yourself.’ Despite this, friends are usually overlooked at Christmas, especially when you have kids. Families gather and celebrate together, often leaving your ‘chosen family’ forgotten about until the New Year. Not content with this, we wanted to include friends in our celebrations, and this weekend marked our much anticipated annual Christmas meal with friends, or Friendmas as some people refer to it!
I love sitting down to a fancy meal, (who doesn’t?) but dining out at this time of year is far too expensive for our budget. Instead, we invite our friends over and dine in the comfort of our own home, where comfortable clothes can be worn to accommodate all the food! We take control of the main meal, as this often requires the most preparation, and our guests bring either a starter or a pudding. By allocating the different courses between us, each person is included in the festive preparations.
This year, we were treated to a gorgeous sweet potato and red pepper soup, served with crusty garlic bread. Wonderful as a starter, but could quite easily be enjoyed as a stand-alone meal - I think I will try and sweet talk Paul into making this for my lunch after the holidays! A simple recipe can be found on the BBC Good Food website, although ours did not contain the onions.
The main course consisted of slow roasted parsnips and carrots smothered in a sesame seed honey glaze, hasselback potatoes covered in goose fat (also roasted) and a tender gammon joint, complete with crackling. We decided against the usual festive turkey with cranberry sauce, as this will most likely be encountered many times in the upcoming family meals.
To finish up, desert was a traditional chocolate yule log accompanied with mince pies. To jazz up this simple pudding, the M&S White Chocolate Fudge Sauce (mentioned in a previous blog post) made its appearance for a second year running. As for the pies, they didn’t require any more ‘jazzing up,’ they were already filled with 12 year old Glenfiddich® whisky!
After all this food, we were stuffed full and complaining about food babies, but I was quickly informed that ‘there’s always room for Baileys!’
I love Christmas and it means so much to include my closest friends in the celebrations. At one time or another, each one has helped me through some difficult times and made my life much better. I'd like to think that I would also return the favour, should any of them ever need it! Christmas wouldn't be as special to me if I couldn't share it with those who are such a big part of my life the rest of the year. We are looking forward to next year which will hopefully see the inclusion of a couple of other close friends who are moving back to the area.
How do you celebrate with your friends at Christmas?