Kate Rothwell illustrates how you can have yourself a merry little Christmas in your flat, and it’s not nearly as depressing as it sounds.
There is no other meal in the gastronomic calendar that is looked forward to with greater anticipation than Christmas dinner. Those few hours spent enjoying the Yuletide feast with your family are a highpoint of many people’s year, and there is no reason why it can’t be recreated student-style with your surrogate family of flatmates and friends before 25th December.
Some selective shopping and a sharing of the cost between guests can make it a relatively inexpensive occasion, and so long as you rope the aforementioned guests into time-consuming tasks such as peeling potatoes, then preparation time can be greatly reduced.
One staple that is best off waylaid for the college Christmas is having an entire turkey to devour – they don’t come cheap, won’t fit in the microwave and preparation is beyond the capabilities of anyone whose speciality is ‘beans à la toast’. But there are a large range of turkey side products that will serve as a fine replacement – slather some turkey slices, drumsticks or the ultimately economical turkey rasher in enough gravy and no one will know the difference… much. Other meaty options include roasted chicken and glazed ham, and whilst roasting a bird is best off left to the professionals, glazing a ham is a surprisingly achievable process for any would-be Jamie Oliver.
“Slather some turkey slices, drumsticks or the ultimately economical turkey rasher in enough gravy and no one will know the difference… much”
A vital accompaniment to these meats is stuffing, and as any student flat worth its salt won’t have a food processor in its cupboards, breadcrumbs must be bought in a bag. A dash of mixed herbs and an onion should see you sorted, but don’t forget that there are other vegetables to be prepared, which can, of course exclude the poisonous venom of the brussels sprout.
All these tasty delicacies do have to be washed down with some sort of drink, but do try and feign some class with your choice of beverage. A few cheap bottles of red can be hoteasily transformed into the favourite festive tipple, mulled wine, with some fruit juice and mulled wine spice sachets. An inexpensive bottle of sherry completes the look, and after that you can go back to your Bulmers.
Brandy might be a little beyond your budget, but there could be some laced through whatever Christmas pudding you purchase – don’t even pretend that you’re going to remember to prepare one a month in advance. Thanks to the age of the microwave however, you can take pride in making the custard yourself.
After dinner, dessert and a box or three of quality own-brand chocolates you and your guests will all be stuffed full of festive food and beaming with Christmas cheer, so you can curl up with a Christmas film, safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to wait twelve months to enjoy it all again.