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10 Perfect recipes for a small-scale Christmas

BY Helen Best-Shaw

14th Dec 2020 Recipes

10 Perfect recipes for a small-scale Christmas

Many of us will be having a much smaller Christmas dinner than usual this year—here are ten pared back yet still delicious recipes you could try 

A turkey is a grand bird to make the centrepiece of a Christmas table, but turkeys are large, and if we don’t have the whole family round this year for obvious reasons, I’m not sure that I can deal with quite that quantity of leftovers, finding myself staring down yet another turkey curry at the end of January.

Here are ten ideas for smaller Christmas dinners, including a vegetarian option. I’ve included one cocktail because I think that this year, it’s needed!

Turkey Crown

A turkey crown gives you plenty of delicious turkey for parties as small as four people, for those who simply can’t substitute another bird. This recipe gives full details on how to cook one with perfectly moist, delicious results. Timings are given, but the cook is keen on the use of a meat thermometer for absolutely best results.


Individual beef Wellington

Individual beef Wellingtons—I do find the name so much more fun than “boeuf en croute”—add a “wow” factor even if there are only two or three of you. This is a simplified recipe, so no crepe wrapping or mushroom duxelles, but it still looks delicious and I bet it tastes great! It’s worth splashing out on quality steaks with this recipe.



Roasted Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

A side dish now; I love the idea of these cheesy mashed potatoes with roasted cauliflower. If you haven’t tried roasting cauliflower before, you’re missing out! It’s a great dish for a meat-free Monday, especially with a sprinkle of spices. I love the idea of adding interest to some mash with crunchy cauliflower florets.


Perfect Roast Duck

A duck is a perfect roast for two. Deliciously richly flavoured, it’s much more interesting than chicken, so will make Christmas something special, but you won’t be stuck with leftovers. This recipe cooks the duck on the oven grill, rather than in a roasting pan, for all-over crispy results. The fat drips off the bird onto roast potatoes; two jobs in one. Sounds about perfect to me!


Cranberry Moscow Mule

Time for a cocktail! The traditional recipe for this classic is a mixture of vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, mixed and served in a copper mug. This version Christmas-ifies things with the addition of some cranberry juice, and the option of some lingonberries. I might follow the suggestion to fully immerse myself in the process and make my own ginger beer too—a recipe is linked.



Kue Putri Salju—Indonesian Snow White butter cookies

I’m moving away from the traditional now, because there can’t be a better year for throwing out the Christmas rulebook and just giving anything I fancy a go. These little sugar dusted sweet biscuits look so wintery, and with only three ingredients—flour, butter and sugar, they are easy to make. A perfect project for kids, in fact.


Butternut Squash Veggie Wellington

This butternut squash veggie Wellington filled with roasted butternut squash, sage, sun dried tomatoes and salty feta makes a delicious vegetarian centrepiece. The recipe makes a large Wellington, but it can easily be scaled down for smaller gatherings. You could roast and freeze the unused part of the butternut squash for later use in hearty soups.


Whole Roast Guinea Fowl

Another roast bird, this time a guinea fowl. If you haven’t really come across them before, a guinea fowl is a small game bird that’s related to a partridge. It’s more flavourful than chicken but isn’t strongly game flavoured. It’s perfectly sized for two people. This recipe roasts the bird over a tray of water, to steam it at the same time.


Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts

Did you know the Brussels sprouts we eat today are very different from those of only a few years ago? In the 1990s, farmers started to breed a variety that doesn’t have the bitter flavours that used to predominate. This recipe fries them, which I far prefer to boiled, for a cooked-but-still-crunchy texture.


Individual Christmas Puddings

Finally, love it or hate it, Christmas dinner can only end with a dried fruit filled steamed Christmas pudding. Here’s a great-looking recipe for individual versions. This recipe author is Australian, so she adapts the recipe for hot Ozzie Christmases, but she gives guidance on more traditional mixtures.

And I love it that making small individual versions means much quicker cooking time. However, I do have to take issue with the idea of serving Christmas pudding with cream or custard. It’s brandy butter only in my family’s house!


Helen Best-Shaw, is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer & photographer. She has been blogging at Fuss Free Flavours for over ten years

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