Nigel Slater Easy Christmas Bites and Sips for the Perfect Gathering

Nigel Slater. I love being a guest—give me a delicious drink and some homemade food, and I’m in heaven. But truth be told, I prefer playing the host. Welcoming folks at the door, fixing up a drink, and passing around some simple homemade snacks is a joy for me.

While cocktails are nice, it’s the food that really sticks in people’s minds. A bit of crunch is key. Think about a crumbly parmesan biscuit speckled with black sesame seeds or a small potato cake, crispy and warm from the frying pan. And for something sweet, a crackly almond cookie with a chewy fudge-like center always hits the spot.

To keep things simple, I’ll offer one or two cocktails, plus an alternative for those who aren’t into drinks. A mulled cider is a crowd-pleaser and pairs beautifully with cheese wafers or potato pancakes topped with crispy sauerkraut or pickled cabbage. And alongside those almond cookies, I’ll serve up a pomegranate mimosa with sparkling wine that’s as pretty as fairy lights.

Nigel Slater: Mulled Cider with Potato Cakes

Potato Cakes Prep: Makes 12

Grate potatoes and a finely sliced onion, season, then let them sit for 15 minutes to drain. Crush garlic, mix it with the drained potato mix, flour, black pepper, and eggs. Fry small flat cakes in oil until golden. Top each with coleslaw or pickled cabbage and poppy seeds. They’re best eaten fresh from the pan!

For the Cider:

Warm cider, apple juice, brandy, and brown sugar in a pan. Add orange peel, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon. Heat it gently until the sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust sweetness or brandy to your liking. Serve in glasses.

Crisp Spiced Cheese Biscuits

For about 8 guests

Mix flour, Aleppo pepper, butter, egg yolk, grated parmesan, and black sesame seeds. Form the dough into a rectangle, chill it, then bake until crisp and golden. Let them cool for a bit before transferring to a rack.

Pomegranate Mimosa and Orange Almond Cookies

Cookies: Makes 16

Nigel Slater. Whisk egg whites and sugar until firm. Stir in ground almonds, almond extract, and orange zest. Roll into balls, coat in icing sugar, then bake until lightly crisp outside and gooey within. They’re best enjoyed warm!

Pour pomegranate juice into glasses and top with sparkling wine.

These easy recipe are perfect for a stress-free yet delightful gathering. Mix up some drinks, whip up these bites, and enjoy a merry celebration with your guests!