On the food side of things, I find the freezer is invaluable as it enables me to cook and bake the festive treats in advance of the actual festivities and buy myself some time.
So far, I have made and frozen some quiche; lots of sausage rolls, both vegan and meat; a festive sausage wreath and my first batch of mince pies.
The sausage wreath is one of my favourite things to make at this time of year.
It looks very special as a centrepiece on a buffet table and is always a talking point.
It is, however, relatively simple to make.
I usually buy some puff pastry.
Most sold are vegan which is most helpful these days when so many of my family are either vegetarian or vegan.
I buy vegan sausages too and with extra spices added and a little chutney or chilli jam they make a first-class filling.
This is how I make it. I unroll the sheet of pastry and slice it in half in the long direction.
I take a pack of vegan sausages and using my hands squish them up together and add some herbs or spices.
I used dried sage and onion salt and straightaway I could smell Christmas in the bowl.
I divided the sausage mixture into two and made a long sausage of it down the centre of each piece of pastry.
I brushed some soy milk over the pastry and then carefully cut the pastry either side of the filling into approximately one-inch strips.
One side at an angle of 20 past on a clock face and the other at an
angle of 20 to on a clock face.
I ran a little cranberry sauce on top of the filling and then started to place the strips of pastry over the filling, alternating one strip from each side at a time.
I brushed all over with the soy milk and lifted each long pastry ‘bandage’ onto a baking sheet.
I shaped each one into a semi-circle. I baked them at 200c for 20 minutes.
Once baked, very carefully move each semicircle onto a serving platter and butt the ends up forming a full circle.
I brushed all over with a clear chilli jam – you could use maple syrup.
It looks fabulous served with little pots of chutney and a few grapes to hide the joins in the pastry.