Do ahead Christmas tips and Spiced Cherries in Bacon

Spiced Cherries

I read something recently about preparation for Christmas being over-rated.  Hhhm, I thought, not written by someone who has to squeeze the buying, wrapping, cooking and all other prep into an already busy life and actually wants to spend some of Christmas with their family!

So call me a swot but I do believe in a bit of list making and using the freezer where I can. Last year we had 10 here over Christmas (3 meals a day for 3 days plus a few extras) and I was so pleased (and relieved) with what I rustled up and stashed away beforehand.  Here are some of my tips of what worked and suggestions that might help you this year.

For Christmas Day I pre-prepared the roast potatoes.  King Edwards peeled, parboiled, given a good shaking to rough up the edges and then frozen.  I cooked them from frozen in hot vegetable oil (no goose fat, vegetarian present) and they were amazing, the best roasties and what a pleasure not to be peeling a hundredweight of potatoes and steaming myself over them before lunch.  We will be a far smaller gathering this year but I will still do these, not just to minimise work whilst my children are beside themselves with yuletide excitement but also because they were so crunchy and fluffy.  Highly recommended.

Christmas tips 2

For the big day I also made stuffing, both a sausage and vegetarian one which were both then reheated in the foil containers they were frozen in and decanted into nice dishes for lunch.  I made two gravy bases which I froze the week before and they helped enormously to make a full flavoured gravy at the last minute without any hassle.   Cranberry sauce, pigs in blankets made and frozen, bread sauce too, I just added a bit of extra milk on reheating.

Now I know none of these things take long to make on their own but when you’ve got to do all of them at once (and find a saucepan for each one) it can be a headache.  Also, wouldn’t you rather see your family and friends unwrapping presents (which you’ve then got to build/play with etc) and perhaps enjoy a glass of champagne yourself….

I also made some little canapés which were great to have tucked away to be whipped out whenever a festive drink was in order.  Cheese gougeres, sausage rolls, courgette polpette, crunchy seeds (Things with Drinks, October 2012) cheese sables (December 2013) and these spiced cherries in bacon.

This might sound like the craziest recipe in the world and you may well raise your eyebrows at me but seriously give them a go.  They are sweet, savoury, tangy, salty juicy little bundles of deliciousness and so good with a cold glass of something.  On that note, if I could steer you towards my Sloe Vespa, the Christmas cocktail (December 2012), then all the better!

Spiced Cherries in Bacon

Once you’ve got over laughing at this recipe, get cracking on it now, the cherries only get better the longer they languish in the Worcester sauce.  Remember too that once the first lot of cherries are gone you can top up the tub with some more as the WS will be good for another batch (or pour the sauce into the next tub of cherries, if you see what I mean).

1 tub of glace cherries

Worcester Sauce

Streaky bacon, half a slice per cherry

Take the lid off the cherries and pour in Worcester sauce until the cherries are submerged. Put the life back on and keep in the fridge until you are going to use them – at least two weeks but a couple of months ahead is fine.  Preheat the oven to 180 and line a baking sheet with parchment.  Wrap a cherry in a half slice of bacon and secure with a cocktail stick.  Repeat with the rest of the cherries and bacon.  Cook for 15 minutes until the bacon is cooked and starting to caramelise with the sweet sticky juices.  Allow to cool for a few minutes and then serve.  Makes around 24.

More tips next week!

I first posted these tips in November 2013 but I thought now a useful time to offer them again plus you need to get those cherries soaking!



20 thoughts on “Do ahead Christmas tips and Spiced Cherries in Bacon

  1. The cherries are soaking as we speak, some in Worcestershire and some in a lovely new Dorsetshire sauce I picked up at Washingpool Farm. I must say though that the ones you made for supper on Friday were delicious though and will take quite some beating, Hx

  2. I’m all for doing as much as possible in advance of the big day & last year we had 11 for dinner & were away until 23rd dec so I made all my spuds & mash in advance & put them in the freezer – I even roasted my meat & froze it (although that was due to the 2nd freezer defrosting it all a few weeks before but I’m going to do it all again this time out of choice!)….
    those spiced cherries in bacon look amazing & I love those reindeer – I saw some similar in Sainsburys & nearly bought them…when will I ever learn to just buy & think later!

    • That must have been a hairy moment when your freezer defrosted your turkey weeks before you needed it! Quick thinking with the cooking of it!

  3. Oh my…these Spiced Cherries in Bacon looks so good. I love that they are bite size. So perfect fro any party! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Yes, they are perfect party food – I have my cherries soaking in Worcester sauce right now, ready for Christmas!

    • Yes I love bacon wrapped prunes, we call them Devils on Horseback for some reason! These cherries are along the same lines but add spicy juiciness to the sweet and salty.

  4. Thanks for the tips…I’m definitely in the get ahead for Christmas camp and the recipe for the spiced cherries in bacon sounds really interesting too…I might have to give it a go! 🙂

  5. I LOVE the festive photos in this post Anna and also your wonderful recipe for spiced cherries in bacon…..I have bookmarked this to try out myself this year and will let you know how they go down! Karen

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