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Festive treats from our wedding caterers

Inspiration – 20.12.17


We’re incredibly lucky to work with some fantastic caterers here at Combermere Abbey, and with the festive season upon us we decided to catch up with them to get their favourite Christmas recipes this season. John at Olive Tree has some fantastic recipes for easy to prepare, but deliciously different nibbles, Sophia at Gorilla has a fabulously festive cocktail for us, and Louise from Pickled Walnut shows us how to use up those inevitable leftovers.

John Trelfa, Olive Tree Catering

For me, nothing says ‘Christmas’ like indulging in a pre-dinner party nibble with a glass of bubbly. Whether you’re cooking for two or 20, the key to starters is prepping in advance – make sure there’s space in the fridge and chop all your ingredients to have everything ready to go before you start cooking.

Cranberry and Brie Arancini

Serves 4

For Rice Balls

210g Arborio rice

90g white onion, finely chopped

1ltr vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

100g Somerset brie

100g cranberry sauce

2g salt

Pinch of pepper

For Pane

120g dried breadcrumbs

2 eggs, beaten

120ml whole milk

70g plain flour

Fry the onion with a little oil gently in a medium sauce pan.

Place the rice, vegetable stock, salt, pepper and bay leaf into the pan with the lid on and simmer on a low heat for approximately 20 minutes; stirring occasionally until the rice has absorbed the stock, then chill overnight.

When cold, divide the rice into approximately 80-90g balls.

Flatten the rice ball and put around 10g of Brie and 10g of cranberry sauce into the middle of the rice. Then gently wrap the rice around the filling.

Chill for 25-30 minutes.

Roll the balls through the seasoned flour then the egg wash then the breadcrumbs until fully coated.

Place in a hot fryer (180°C) and fry for 6 minutes until golden brown.

Drain onto kitchen paper.

Serve with dressed rocket, sweet onion marmalade or tomato chutney.

Sophia Holden, Gorilla Events

Want to wow your guests with something a little more than a Buck’s Fizz on arrival? Christmas is a fantastic time of year to experiment with new flavours, and there’s so many great seasonal British fruits which you can take advantage of!

Spiced Pear Tipple

Makes 1 cocktail

25ml pear purée

25ml apple juice

37.5ml spiced rum

12.5ml pear liqueur

A squeeze of fresh lime

This recipe really couldn’t be simpler (ideal for when you’re juggling cooking the food at the same time!) Just pour all of the ingredients in a Boston tin and shake, then strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a slice of fresh pear & lightly dust with cinnamon.

Louise McGoff, Pickled Walnut Catering

You’ve cooked the turkey, roasted the potatoes and wrapped the pigs in their blankets – Christmas day dinner was a roaring success! But now you find yourself staring at mounds of leftover food that must be eaten over the next few days. If you can’t quite face a week of turkey sandwiches, never fear – we’ve shared our top leftover recipes…

Festive Bubble and Squeak cakes

Serves 4

These are a great way to use up the vegetables left from Christmas dinner. Perfectly served for brunch on Boxing day with some crisp bacon and softly poached eggs!

8 roasted potatoes – grated

12 sprouts – cut into quarters

100g cooked carrots – roughly chopped

100g roasted parsnips – roughly chopped

1 tsp whole grain mustard

50g melted butter

pinch salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

plain flour

Place all of the prepared ingredients into a mixing bowl and mash together using your hands. Turn the mixture out onto a chopping board and divide this into four equal portions. Lightly flour your hands and mould the mixture into cakes. Allow these to chill in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge and heat a non-stick frying pan with the olive oil in it. Place the four cakes into the hot pan and allow them to colour on all sides. Fry over a moderate heat and the cakes are ready to serve after five minutes.

Christmas Mess

Serves 4

It’s always the case that there’s Christmas pudding leftover – so many guests can’t fit any more food in after the main meal! Don’t let a crumb go to waste and whip up this old school favourite with a twist.

300ml whipping cream

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 tbsp icing sugar

150 g crumbled Christmas pudding

25 ml brandy or rum

1 orange – zest

red currants – garnish

Place the whipping cream, vanilla bean paste and icing sugar into a bowl. Whisk the cream until it can hold its own weight. Soak the crumbled Christmas pudding in the rum or brandy and allow the alcohol to soak in. Gentle fold the alcohol soaked pudding into the cream. Spoon into chilled glasses and allow to chill in the fridge for 30 mins, to allow the flavours to develop. Garnish with some red currants and orange zest.

To find out more about the amazing food and drink you could have on your wedding day here, check out our Catering and Bar page and see our fantastic suppliers.