Smorgasbord Christmas Party Food – Christmas stars to make Turkey shine.

christmas partyI have extolled the virtues of turkey many times in my food series but I thought today I would bring together some of the garnishes that decorate the plate along with the headliner.


Potatoes were the most common carbohydrate for most of us in the western world up until after the Second World War. Another ten years and we were starting to develop more exotic tastes and first the Indian restaurants and then the Chinese introduced us to rice in its various varieties. And, over the last 50 years or so potatoes have been chucked in and out of our diet at the whim of “experts” who one minute want us to stop eating carbohydrates, then they are in, then they are out………….You will find all the health benefits in this post:

Provided you do not eat a pound of fat with your potatoes, including them as part of your diet may prevent a number of potentially serious illnesses. Research into elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, poor immune system function, cancer and hormonal imbalanceshow that the properties in the potato could well help prevent these conditions from developing in the first place. If you need to lose weight, eating potatoes will provide you with a great many nutrients and energy without adding excess calories to your daily diet.

Here is Jamie Oliver with his perfect roast potatoes from his Food Channel:

The next vegetable is one that I eat everyday.. possibly a horse in a previous life….

carrotsThe humble carrot is a vegetable most of us take for granted. Carrots have an ancient history originating in Afghanistan. The Greeks and the Romans ate carrots and in fact, the Greeks called the carrot ‘Philtron’ and used it as an aphrodisiac. Don’t all rush to the supermarket!

In Asia, the carrot was an established root crop and was then introduced to Europe in the 13th century. It was the Middle Ages before the carrot became better known and doctors of the time prescribed carrots for numerous ills including snakebite! In those days, the carrot was available in far more radiant colours including red, purple, black, yellow and white. They were cultivated together and over time, it resulted in the orange vegetable we know today.

Carrots eaten as a fresh, raw and unprocessed food is full of nutrients including Vitamin A (retinol), beta-carotene (turned into Vitamin A in the body), other carotenoids, B Vitamins, Vitamin C and minerals calcium and potassium. Of all of the nutrients, Beta-Carotene and latterly Alpha Carotene are seen as the most important properties of the carrot. As far as the eyes are concerned it is the Vitamin A and the Beta-carotene which are the most important nutrients. Vitamin A, helps your eyes adjust to light changes when you come in from outside and helps keep your eyes, skin and mucous membranes moist.

Follow the link to the full version.

The next vegetable is a bit like marmite.. you either love them or hate them…. I have a recipe that might help with that…

brussel sprouts

The Brussel sprout is related to both the cabbage and the broccoli families but have some very distinctive properties that make them an essential ingredient of any healthy eating plan.
Our immune system is very efficient but life takes its toll. It is important that in our diet we include foods that enhance and boost our immune system and the Brussel sprout does just that.

Brussel sprouts contain a phytochemical, which helps our own defence system to protect against disease in general but in particular cancer. Sulforaphane is a phytonutrient found in this group of plant families and helps boost the body’s detoxification enzymes, which help clear carcinogenic substances from the body quickly and efficiently. Brussel sprouts have also been shown to decrease the level of DNA damage in cells, which prevents mutations in the cells, which allows cancer to develop.

To get the benefit of this phytochemical the food needs to be chopped or chewed so that the liver is stimulated into producing the specific detoxification enzymes and research has shown thatbreast cancer cells particularly are prevented from reproducing even in later stages of the disease.

Apart from cancer the Brussel sprout and other members of the Brassica family such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli contain large amounts of vitamin C. This supports our immune function and has been shown to help prevent heart disease, strokes and cancer but also promotes the manufacture of collagen, a protein that forms the body structure including the skin, connective tissues and cartilage.

A serving of Brussel sprouts also contains very healthy quantities of Vitamin A and beta-carotene, both vital in defending the body and promoting healthy and young looking skin.

RECIPE – BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH PEANUTS AND HERB BUTTER – (Gourmet Cooking without Meat – Paul Southey 1980)

This is the first cook book that I bought the year we got married. I had cooked for a living for five years and had quite a few cookery books already. However, we were pretty broke when we married and so the budget stretched to meat or chicken a couple of times a week and the rest of time I got creative with the vegetables……


  • 350g (12oz) Brussel Sprouts
  • 50g (2oz) finely chopped onion
  • 50g (2oz) unsalted peanuts (or toasted almonds as an alternative)
  • 12 large leaves of chopped Marjoram
  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon Juice.
  1. Cook the sprouts in a very little boiling, salted water for around 10 minutes- try to catch them before they lose their vibrant green colour. They will finish cooking in your onion and lemon juice.
  2. Put the chopped onion into another pan of boiling water for about one minute then drain.
  3. Put the peanuts into the blender or grinder or chop finely with a sharp knife. They should be crumbly.
  4. Work the marjoram into the butter and divide into four pats.
  5. Drain the sprouts and add the onion and the lemon juice.
  6. Replace on the heat and stir gently whilst sprinkling the peanut crumb over them.
  7. Place in a heated dish and add the pats of herbed butter.

Bread sauce

This is one of the oldest surviving sauces and originates in the middle ages when stale bread was the only form of thickener available. Traditionally made with milk, butter or cream and breadcrumbs. You can flavour with seasonings to complement the main protein in your meal.

So at Christmas if you are eating turkey you can add finely chopped cooked onion and cloves. If you are having lamb you might add a middle eastern touch to the sauce and add some almonds and perhaps dried apricots.

Rather than buying commercially prepared breadcrumbs use up any stale white bread that you might have.

Here is Gill Miller of River Cottage with a recipe for Bread Sauce. You will find many delicious recipes on the River Cottage channel –


And last but not least… the vibrantly coloured Christmas berry that goes so well with Turkey.

cranberries_background_200742Most of us, before the 80’s, restricted cranberries in our diet to Christmas and the odd time we had turkey at other times in the year. Then came the very welcome news that for those of us, who suffered from attacks of bacterial cystitis, drinking the juice of these tart little red berries could bring relief.

In fact emerging evidence shows that this fruit is a lot more versatile than we thought and there are now several very good reasons to include cranberries on a daily basis in your diet.

You will find more information in this post:

Caramilised Cranberry and Apple sauce as something a little different to add to the turkey this year. Courtesy of Gordon Ramsey on his channel –

I hope that has given you some ideas for your other stars on the Christmas Dinner Plate… next time Christmas pudding.. the traditions, the recipe and the guilt!!!

As always I welcome your feedback.. thanks Sally



33 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Christmas Party Food – Christmas stars to make Turkey shine.

  1. LOVE your brussels recipe and Jamie’s roast potatoes… Honestly, add me some carrots and I am good to go. I am not a huge fan of turkey anyway… I take a bag of cranberries, a large sweet apple, a large sweet pear and a can of crushed pineapple in its own juice and cook them down with some spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg) and a wee bit of orange zest. Then I chill it. Do not peel the apple or pear. Add no extra liquid. YUM!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Christmas Party Food – Christmas stars to make Turkey shine. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Christmas Party Food – Christmas stars to make Turkey shine. | Annette Rochelle Aben

  4. I like the sound of the brussel sprout’s recipe – and the one Anette has shared. We have a ham rather than turkey. I’m going out tonight and will have turkey which will do me nicely. Looking forward to your Christmas pudding post – and forget about guilt. I don’t think we should do guilt at Christmas 🙂

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  5. Pingback: Dear Santa, I Can Explain…12 Links of Christmas Blog Party | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  6. My mouth is watering Sal. Loved Jamie’s trick of par boiling the potatoes first. I’m going to try that one. And yum on Brussel sprouts, only I don’t boil them. I saute onions, slice sprouts in half, saute with onions and season for a few minutes, put the lid on for 20 minutes so the steam softens them and the saute browns them. Yummy! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As odd as it is, I had never seen a brussel sprout until I was 24. And just this year did I finally have the opportunity to eat them (I never knew what to do with them myself). The preparation I had was divine, and so it was probably for the best I held out. I make roasted balsamic brussel sprouts on the regular for my family now!

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  8. I have numerous brussel sprout recipes and always trying more. I like the idea of the peanuts. Can’t wait to try this one. I’ve been overdosing on Brussels this year since the season began. Can’t get enough. Have always enjoyed them, anyway but sweet. Filling this recipe as well as the others here.Thank YOU, Sally. 😀 😛 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I LOVE a pound of fat with my potatoes! And my veggies and my bread and … I’ll put (real) butter on just about anything. The bread sauce is ingenious, and the caramelized cranberry and apple sauce looks delicious. When are you opening up delivery to the U.S., Sal? 🙂 ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up -Great books, music and food for Christmas | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

I would be delighted to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

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