Festive Feasting

Festive Feasting

· By Oonagh Simms

Festive Feasting

There was a point (about a week ago) when I thought I would never get a chance to sit down ever again. When falling into bed still wearing kitchen whites and covered in little bits of packing tape was going to be my life now. But guess what? I’ve finished- it’s Christmas Eve and I have the next few days just to eat and drink with my family and watch Christmas films and complain about the too many Mars in the Celebrations tub. So, having spent the entire of December not sitting down to eat properly and despairing of my food choices, I will be feasting. I want each meal from Breakfast through to supper to be languid and decadent and outrageously Nigellaish. Did Nigella do a Christmas programme this year? If so, I need to watch it now. I want candles, and boards spilling with produce and cocktails in crystal glasses. Yes, for breakfast.

I’m lifting my inspiration from this glorious Sunday Times photo-shoot. The Sunday times featured our marshmallows as part of their ‘sweet board’ a stunning tableaux of candied peels, Pannetone and, of course, marshmallows.

Apart from being a visual feast it made me realise that of course that’s what we should be eating after dinner. A board of decadent grazing sweets that can be picked at through rounds of board games, stolen distracted nibbles whilst watching the big film, then left over moreish morsels to have with a late night cup of tea.


I’d normally go a bit overboard on the dessert preparation but I’m absolutely exhausted this year- it’s been a busy one. So I’m making as little as possible and gathering from others. Featuring on my sweet board will be cracked chocolate shards- for snapping off a corner and eating more than I intended.. Two of my favourite marshmallows ( Christmas Pudding, and Baileys) both delicious with an after dinner brandy. Slabs of sticky soft gingerbread from the Grasmere gingerbread shop ( this stuff is unreal) and pistachio Turkish delight. Tomorrow morning I’m whipping up 2 batches of homemade tarts. One with a rosemary marshmallow fluff and burnt grapefruit curd. And something gooey and oozing with a salted caramel, chocolate and a sprinkling of chopped nuts.  

I’ll be using pre bought pastry cases because -see back to the exhausted bit- and i’ll scatter any remaining space with sticky dates and fresh figs. Because that’s what Nigella would do. This is the type of board I can see being replenished throughout the week rather than washed up. Washing up can wait for the New Year. Wishing you love, decadence and relaxation for the week to come- if you need me, I won’t be moving from here for a while.


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