It seems the older I get, the more it is that my favourite part of Christmas is the eating. Christmas dinner is one of my top three favourite meals ever, and the Boxing Day buffet is legendary in the Spence household.
Another great part is the fancy party food that goes on sale in Marks & Spencer in mid-November. There are the yearly classics like smoked salmon bites and mozzarella cheese sticks, but there are always some new party food additions, so I chose a selection to try out before the season really kicks off.
For this post I stuck to the savoury selection, so watch for a sweet party food follow up in the next couple of weeks.
First off, M&S have realised the great untapped market of BREAKFAST party food. Christmas Day breakfast is one portion of the day not set with tradition, apart from the universal fact that we all will have eaten chocolate pre-10am. Since I've had my own household, and even now when it's just myself & Smix, Christmas breakfast for us is a plate of thick American pancakes, bacon & maple syrup. Smix inevitably has to be told a thousand times to eat, as he's distracted by Santa's delights, so I'm thinking of changing things up a little this year and going with M&S's mini breakfast bacon cups.
They come in their own tray to pop in the oven and when ready you have a bite size crispy bacon cup filled with scrambled egg, baby tomato & flecks of mushroom. They. Are. Amazing. I'm not even ashamed to say I ate the whole tray of them the morning I cooked them to test. They would be so much easier to get a kid to eat than sitting down with a knife and fork to eat pancakes and bacon.
Also above are the new mushroom baubles. If you are cooking a whole fry, these would be a cool treat on the side.
The Brie and cranberry tartlets would also be good to be served any time of day. If you've never tried that combo, you don't know what you are missing.
All the savoury and sweet party food is 3 for 2 right now, and I'm thinking a little spread of goodies would be a nice tradition to kick off for tree decoration night. It's another one of those times the whole family gets together to decorate the tree and home, so why not mark the occasion with a little party too?
Some of the party food is more for an adult palate, but everyone will love the Christmas cracker shaped sausage rolls, and bacon & cheese rolls. Cheese & bacon potato skins are another crowd pleaser, but my absolute favourite party food for the kids is the mini buckets of southern fried chicken pops with fries. There's also a fish and chips variety with the same novelty buckets. I love the buckets. I would buy these all year round, they are so cute. Mini posh dogs are another option for all ages to share.
Moving on to some of the more adult options there are lots of great Asian influenced foods. The sticky Asian chicken lollipops go really well with the oriental prawn selection. It's worth noting that all the party food oven cooks around 190-200, so I was able to cook everything together just by scheduling the times.
New this year is the hog roast on mini crackling plates. These are really tasty & I've not seen anything like them anywhere else.
The mini scallops en croutes with champagne sauce are most definitely a more adult taste, and serving them in a shell is just plain fancy pants. They taste great too.
So that's the savoury party food we tried out, all 3 for 2 right now. I will feature the sweet selection soon, but in the meantime I want to share with you the Christmas cake I ordered this week for Christmas Day. M&S actually sold this same cake last Christmas & I spotted it in store & decided to buy it closer to the day. Then my local store sold out of them! Luckily I phoned round nearby stores & managed to drive and buy one on Christmas Eve in east Belfast. So this year I've been smart and ordered and paid for it already, to pick up Christmas week at my local store. I can't wait!