Here at Greener Scotland, we’ve teamed up with Scottish celebrity chef Mark Greenaway to help people plan their Christmas dinner while preventing waste and saving money.
Christmas and overindulgence often go hand in hand, but by putting a little thought into meal planning and where our food comes from, as well as being inventive with unavoidable leftovers, we can all reduce food waste and have a show stopping, seasonal festive dinner too.
Avoidable food waste costs Scotland over £1 billion – that’s the equivalent of each household throwing £470 from their homes worth of perfectly edible food a year. And, at this time of year, the average Scottish family spends £170 on its big Christmas food and drink shop – a quarter of which ends up in the bin.
To inspire us all to host a greener festive dinner, Mark has shared his favourite festive recipes to accompany your traditional Christmas turkey. These recipes include a tasty side dish of Parsnips with Honey and Fennel Seeds and an Iced Christmas Pudding Parfait with Burnt Orange Jelly, which creatively uses leftover Christmas pud.
They are also available at Greener Scotland where our recipe finder also offers lots of other tasty ideas for Christmas dinner, and for transforming your left-over turkey, Brussels sprouts and roasties.
To help make your Christmas dinner a greener one, follow these simple tips from Mark:
- I always plan meals in advance. This allows me to get creative with an in season menu. It’s worth checking what's already in your cupboards and write a list before shopping. There’s nothing like being organised at this time of year!
- Get to know your local butcher and suppliers. Even in the food industry, often it’s not what you know, but who you know. It can be the best way to secure the best deals and it means you know exactly the provenance of your food.
- Check date labelling and storage information - you may already have groceries or dried goods at the back of that cupboard of yours which you can use over the festive period.
- Let your inner chef come out and think of what meals provide leftovers, or can be created into new dishes. I love using my freezer to store food for future dishes. For example, soup can be frozen into individual portions and used at any stage, and turkey can be used in sandwiches, stews and curries.
- It’s all about portion control - ensure you’re planning sensible portions and leave some for leftovers! In the kitchen it’s all about maximising food.
Mark has some great recipes for us all to tuck into this Christmas.
Carrots cooked in orange and butter with star anise
- 300g carrots
- 250ml orange juice
- 60g caster sugar
- 4 star anise
- Zest of 1 orange
- 150g butter
- Peel and cut the carrots into 2 inch batons or alternatively use baby carrots but make sure you scrub them well
- Add all of the ingredients to a heavy based pan and simmer until the carrots are tender
- Drain the carrots and reduce the liquor to a syrup consistency
- Pour the syrup back over the carrots and keep warm until needed
Parsnips with honey and fennel seeds
- 500g parsnips, peeled
- 100ml honey
- 100ml cold water
- 60g butter
- Fennel seeds
- Large pinch salt
- Small amount of chopped flat leaf parsley
- Cut all the parsnips in half lengthways and remove the core
- Cut each half into quarters
- Place all of the ingredients (except the parsley) into a large non-stick pan and bring to the boil
- Reduce the pan to a simmer
- Cook the parsnips until the honey starts to caramelise
- Once caramelisation starts be very careful as the honey can burn quickly
- Check the parsnips are cooked by piercing them with a tooth pick or small knife, it is ready when it goes through the parsnip without any resistance
- Cover and keep warm until needed
- Serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley
Brussel sprouts, chestnuts and pancetta
- Brussels sprouts, 4 per person or more if you are a sprout lover!
- 5 slices pancetta cut into squares
- 8 peeled chestnuts
- 20g butter
- A pinch of sea salt
- Cut all your Brussels sprouts in half discarding the outer damaged leaves
- Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes only, being careful not to overcook them
- In a large non-stick pan on a medium heat, add your squares of pancetta
- Add your Brussels sprouts to the pan along with the butter
- Once the Brussel sprouts have coloured and are fully cooked add the chestnuts and warm through
- Keep warm until ready to use
Roasted parsnip and pumpkin soup with parmesan straws
Ingredients for the soup
- 750g parsnip, peeled, coarsely chopped
- 600g pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into cubes
- 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- A drizzle of oil
- 450ml chicken stock
- 450ml milk
- 450ml double cream
- Sea salt
- A splash of cream to serve
- Preheat the oven to 185C
- Drizzle the parsnips with a little oil in a large roasting tray and place in the oven
- After 10 minutes add the pumpkin and onion to the tray and place back in the oven for 20 minutes or until all of the vegetables are tender
- Place all of the roasted vegetables into a large pot
- Add in the stock, cream and milk and bring to a gentle simmer for about 10 minutes
- Blend the soup and season to taste
Ingredients for the parmesan straws
- 350g puff pastry
- Four handfuls grated parmesan
- 1 egg, beaten
- Sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Unroll the puff pastry, scatter over a couple of handfuls of grated Parmesan, then fold in half
- Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin
- Cut into 1cm strips, then twist the strips 3-4 times. Lay on a lined baking sheet
- Glazed each straw with the beaten egg and scatter over the remaining parmesan, a little paprika and some sesame seeds
- Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool
- These straws can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days
Warm the soup through and pour into bowls, top with a dash of cream and a parmesan straw.
Iced Christmas Pudding Parfait with Burnt Orange Jelly
Ingredients for burnt orange jelly
- 140g caster sugar
- 500ml fresh orange juice
- Zest of 1 lime
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 vanilla pods, halved and seeds scraped out
- 7 leaves of gelatine, soaked in cold water
- Place the sugar in to a heavy based pan and set over a high heat, stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is equally melted to a golden caramel, take off the heat and add the zest and vanilla seeds
- Very slowly add the orange juice, stirring frequently until all the of liquid had been incorporated, bring up to the boil
- Add in the soaked gelatine, stir until dissolved, pour the liquid through a fine sieve and leave to cool
- Pour into a tray and set in the fridge
- Once set, cut out circles from the jelly using the top of a small teacup
Ingredients for Christmas pudding parfait
- 7 egg yolks
- 325g caster sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp. liquid glucose
- 3 egg whites
- 750ml double cream
- 3 leaves gelatine, softened in cold water
- ½ a good quality Christmas pudding, crumbled
- Whisk the egg yolks until pale and light
- Boil 210g of the caster sugar with the liquid glucose until the soft ball stage is achieved (118C) and pour over the egg yolks
- Stir in the softened gelatine
- Whisk this mixture until it is cold
- Whisk the egg whites and the rest of caster sugar to make a meringue
- Whip the double cream to soft peaks
- Fold all of the ingredients together
- Pour into 4cm hemispherical moulds and freeze till firm
- When the parfait is frozen, turn out the moulds and stick the hemispheres together to make spheres
- Place back into the freezer until ready to serve
Serve each sphere sitting on top of a round of jelly.
For more recipe ideas and top tips for avoiding food waste, eating in season and advice on how to live greener, please visit www.greenerscotland.org.