#FAMILY
3 Easy Christmas Recipes That Will Impress

Celebration-worthy dishes to cook up with easy finds from your local supermarket.

By Chris Ong      6 December 2021

The Yuletide season is just around the corner, and regardless of the state of gathering restrictions, (fingers crossed), there still ought to be a little cheer, some laughter and lots of yummy nosh.

There’s one definite way you can make things more high-spirited – whipping up your own meal-made-with-love for family and close friends.

Whether you intend to have an intimate dining affair at home or just to polish up/show off your culinary prowess, here are 3 X’mas recipes to try for a happier, merrier Christmas.

1. Berry Christmas Cookies

Recipe by FairPrice
Photo: Fairprice

You cannot have a real Christmas meal without some kind of dessert or sweetmeat. Admittedly, baking some kind of traditional X’mas tart, pastry or log cake with all that “aargh-some” weaving and frosting is hard work. But, you can still make your last possible culinary effort of the year a sweet victory by trying your hand at cookies instead.

Make them taste a little healthier by including some fruits, like say, a bag of frozen blueberries. Place them in the centre of these star-shaped ones of this Berry Christmas Cookies recipe (for 30 pieces) to reward the little ones, especially if you intend to rope them in as free help, we mean, for them to learn and have fun bonding with you in the kitchen.

Ingredients
– 1 bag of frozen blueberries (you can get a pack from Dole, available at NTUC FairPrice supermarkets). Or, pick any kind of other small fruits you like.
– 2 cups of all-purpose flour
– ½ tablespoon of baking powder
– ¼ tablespoon of salt
– ½ cup of unsalted butter
– 1 cup of sugar
– 1 large egg
– 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
– 1 tube of ready-made icing

Instructions
1) Whisk the baking powder, salt and flour in a big bowl to make the flour mixture.

2) Mix sugar and butter together with an electric mixer until the mix is fluffy and light. Then, beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Slowly add in the flour mixture while on low speed; continue to beat till the mixture is fully combined into a dough.

3) Wrap the dough in cling wrap and freeze it for about 10 to 20 minutes or until it is firm.

4) Preheat your baking oven to about 160 degrees Celsius.

5) After you’ve checked that the dough is firm, it’s time to call on your little one for a little helping hand. Unwrap the dough, and with assistance from your “kid-chen elf”, roll and flatten it to about half-a-cm thick on baking paper.

6) Get your little elf to aid in using your array of cookie cutters to cut the dough into your favourite shapes. For this recipe specifically, it’s stars with a single blueberry pressed into each cookie’s centre. Repeat till the dough is all used up.

Photo: Fairprice

7) Place your tray of shapes into the oven, bake at 160 degrees Celsius for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden. Then leave the batch on the wire racks to cool completely.

8) After the confections have cooled, decorate them with icing. Ask your “kid-chen elf” for help again if you want “interesting designs” or a mess.

9) Serve on some cutesy plates, step away quick and watch all the other young elves in the fam go wild.

Recipe by FairPrice

BONUS: SAFRA members enjoy $12 off a minimum spend of $150 with FairPrice online. Click here for more information.

2. Singaporean Chilli Meatballs

Recipe by vEEF, at Ryan’s Grocery
Photo: vEEF

This is how to make your Christmas dinner extra local, extra vegetarian-friendly, extra spicy and also, extra easy on you – with this Singaporean Chilli Meatballs recipe.

First off, grab these vEEF meatballs from Ryan’s Grocery. What’s even better: These round nom-noms from the Australian brand are plant-based, protein-filled, and free of palm oil, preservatives, GMO and MSG.

But, you would like to at least boast to your guests that you did sweat it out in the kitchen for them, ya? You can do so by crafting a homemade Singapore-style chilli sauce to drench the faux meat in.

And, don’t worry, getting the ingredients will be a cinch, because you can pick them up along with the meatballs from the same supermarket at Ryan’s Grocery.

Ingredients
12 vEEF Plant-Based meatballs (or substitute with any plant-based meatballs of choice)

For the Singapore Chilli Sauce:
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 1 medium shallot
– 1 small red chilli
– 1 medium Cayenne red chilli
– ½ thumb of ginger
– 1 tablespoon of dark miso
– ½ grated tomato
– 3 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce (pick a vegetarian-friendly brand)
– 5 tablespoons of tomato purée
– 1 cup of vegetable stock
– 60g of vegetable oil

For garnish:
– fresh coriander and green shallots

Instructions
1) Blend the garlic, shallot, the two red chillies, ginger and dark miso in a food processor to form a paste.

2) Put the paste in a pot and pour in about 60g of vegetable oil. Sauté the paste over relatively-high heat until its colour changes.

3) Add the grated tomato and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add in the tablespoons of tomato purée and sweet chilli sauce, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.

4) Throw in the meatballs and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Make sure the sauce is simmering and not at a boil. 

5) Serve up the meatballs on a nice white plate (for contrast), and pour the sauce all over them. Sprinkle the fresh coriander and green shallots for added colour, taste and with Salt Bae-flair.

Recipe by vEEF, shared by Ryan’s Grocery

BONUS: SAFRA members enjoy 5% off grocery items and 10% off butchery items (valid for both in-store and online purchases), as well as free delivery for a first-time order with a minimum spend of $100 at Ryan’s Grocery. Click here for more information.

3. Dark Beer Beef Stew

Recipe by Cold Storage
Photo: Cold Storage

Yes, beef does go with beer – but, we mean beer infused into a beef stew.

Here are reasons why beer makes a good choice instead of wine for a beef stew. Beer tends to be cheaper, and you can just open a few cans instead wasting a whole bottle of red just for cooking. It can also lend a deeper, more gorgeous brown and heartier flavour to your Christmas stew.

Beer also has more varieties than wine; there are more types and flavours compared to the general types of red, white, rosé, sparkling and dessert wines. You can look through a well-stocked supermarket for wheat, porter, pilsner, bitter and so on, in a myriad of flavours such as chocolate, cherry and coffee.

Which means you’ve got choice and that you can mix it up to make your own best version of beef stew. But, as a general rule, choose a bitter, porter, mild or an ale – not all beers taste well (read: bitter) when cooked in a stew.

So, it’s cheers to beer for this Dark Beer Beef Stew!

Ingredients
– 400g of beef chuck or brisket (preferably in larger diced chunks or cubes rather than small pieces so all that “beery” flavour gets soaked into ’em)
– 150g of streaky bacon (cut into strips)
– 1 yellow onion (chopped finely)
– 5 cloves of garlic (minced finely)
– 2 stalks of celery (chopped)
– 2 sticks of carrots (chopped)
– 3 pieces of bay leaf
– 2 sprigs of thyme
– 1 sprig of rosemary
– 4 pieces of cloves
– 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
– 200ml of tomato passata (you can choose to substitute with tomato purée)
– 30g of plain flour
– 400ml of beef stock
– 2 cans of dark beer
– 1 tablespoon of sugar
– salt and black pepper (to taste)

For gremolata garnish:
– 20g of Italian parsley
– 1 whole lemon zest
– 2 cloves of garlic (minced finely)
– 1 tablespoon of sour cream

Instructions
1) Cook the bacon strips in a pot over medium-high heat. Stir for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the strips are browned and crisp.

2) Reserve the bacon fat in the pot.

3) Season the beef chuck/brisket cubes/chunks liberally with black pepper and salt.

4) Sear the beef in the same pot over high heat, until they are brown on all sides. Then reserve them aside.

5) Switch to medium heat, and cook the chopped onions in the retained fat in a skillet until they are lightly browned.

6) Cook the minced garlic with the onions until they are soft, then add the plain flour and stir it in well. Add the tomato passata after and stir well until brown.

7) Pour the beer into the pot along with the tomato passata, beef stock and all of the herbs. Stir well with a wooden spoon, while making sure to scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot.

8) Add the beef and the bacon, as well as the celery and carrots into the pot.

9) Bring the stew to a gentle simmer, while stirring to combine it all well. Then, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot.

10) Simmer the stew for about 2 hours, until the beef bits are tender (try poking at them with a fork). Remember to stir the stew occasionally and skim the foam from the surface.

11) After 2 hours, remove the cover and raise the heat to a medium-high. Bring the stew to a low boil and cook until it thickens. Remove the herb sprigs and fine-tune your seasoning for taste.

12) Prep and garnish with your gremolata, then serve it all up at the table. Optional: Open more cans of beer to go with your Christmas celebration.

Recipe by Cold Storage


TOP READS

SAFRA Tampines Upgrades

Fresh from an improvement, this clubhouse celebrates the new milestone with much fanfare.

Never The Twain Shall Meet?

As two disparate food cultures, Spanish tapas and Asian hotpot could not be more different. Or are they?

Master Commander

Ruminations of National Service and fatherhood.