Time is something we could always have more of, and after the hubbub of Christmas, we miraculously get it. If like me, your love language is gift giving (otherwise interpreted as food giving), you're accustomed to spending most of the Christmas period entertaining and feeding your loved ones with whatever is inspiring you at the present moment.
With plenty of time up our sleeves to perfect these all kinds of dishes, we're upping our kitchenware game for a summer filled with comfort eating. From citrusy spreads to pantry staples and delectable desserts, test your culinary skills this Christmas with these adventurous – and delicious – recipes, that don't involve brining a whole bird.
What to do with all those cherries you bought in a moment of panic before Christmas? The answer is always: make pie. Depitting the suckers may take time, but hey – the whole afternoon is stretching out before you. Which means, don't skimp on the lattice lid either. If you can't truly succumb to the details, then when can you?
The unsung hero of lockdown cooking was of course, sourdough bread. Splattered across our newsfeeds, we watched on as our friends and family shared their successful and equally unsuccessful attempts at creating the tasty carbohydrate. Now that the hype is gone, it's the perfect time to perfect crusty bread without the ironic desire to post it on social media. Besides, who doesn't love the smell of warm bread?
The perfect accompaniment to your fresh sourdough is a fresh slab of cultured butter. Courtesy of Pierre Issa, maker of the melt-in-your-mouth Pepe Saya butter you'll find on the table at all your favourite restaurants, cultured butter has a tangier flavour than regular butter. If there's any recipe you want to follow, it's certainly this one.
Greek-style cured olives
The key to entertaining are great starters – perfect for beginning and ending the night. While it's definitely easy to purchase Greek-marinated olives at your local grocer or deli, why not shake things up and cure them yourself? Like any Greek grandfather will tell you, the perfect cured olive is all in the brine. Have a glass of Ouzo close by to help channel those Mediterranean vibes.
Fresh pasta dough
A pantry staple, perfecting the art that is homemade pasta requires ample practice, but once you're there, you'll never look at supermarket pasta again. Certainly, the process involves a lot more effort, but once you've learnt the basics, there are so many variations you can explore.
Chilli and garlic oil
If you love a touch of heat, stock up your pantry (and send jars to your loved ones) of this flavour-filled chilli and garlic oil. Drizzle on your favourite selection of steamed and pan-fried dumplings or toss through your freshly handmade pasta.
Until our own RUSSH editor Ella shares her secret and irresistible lemon curd recipe with us, we'll be following the instructions of this incredibly easy, five-ingredient recipe. The ultimate treat, lather this citrus-heavy curd on a crispy slice of toast or freshly-baked scones for an afternoon delight.
Panettone French toast
If you live in an ethnic household, chances are you have a panettone lurking in the pantry, quite likely from three years ago. And if you opt for the standard supermarket variety, it'll taste just as dry as if it were three years old. No matter. Here's your chance to transform it into a sexed-up serve of French toast. This recipe fills you in on the basics, but you can opt out of the chocolate and ice cream and serve it with icing sugar and fresh fruit instead. A sweet and easy breakfast.
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Although we're all familiar with the sweet and sticky breakfast spread that is jam, put a fresh, tangy summer spin on the classic by trying your hand at this kumquat jam. Traditionally, kumquat is a tart, but deeply flavourful stone fruit, which makes it the perfect candidate for jam. They might be a little tricky to get your hands on, but the end product is certainly worth it.