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The Lidl Christmas Coach: Fireside Feasts

In the first in a four-part Christmas special built around the Lidl Deluxe range, Elaine McDonnell, our Christmas Coach, gets the season started with a decadent fireside feast to share.

The ultimate Fireside Feast using ingredients from the Lidl Deluxe and Favorina range. Photographs: Conor Mulhern and Clare Keogh
The ultimate Fireside Feast using ingredients from the Lidl Deluxe and Favorina range. Photographs: Conor Mulhern and Clare Keogh

Introducing the Lidl Christmas Coach

Christmas offers so many ways to celebrate with food and drink. To help plan for success, we asked cook, restaurant manager and party planner Elaine McDonnell to take Lidl’s Deluxe range as her inspiration and coach us through the Christmas party season. Over the next four weeks she’ll tackle cocktail parties, a traditional Christmas and lots more. She starts here with a decadent Fireside Feast for sharing with friends.

The buildup to Christmas is a very special time: it signals a chance to finally get off the treadmill or, at the very least, slow it down to a walking speed. As the winter days get shorter and darker we want to burn our fires brighter. It’s a season of winter walks, red noses, cosy socks, candles and feasts and conversation by the fire.

We never eat in front of the TV in summertime but, come winter, all rules are broken: bowls of comfort food and sweet treats take centre stage as we settle down to spend quality time together, perhaps watching the Toy Show or an early Christmas movie. For me, fireside feasts are all about relaxation, taking it easy and making dishes that are quick to prepare, but delicious.

Lidl Deluxe is a fantastic range, packed with exciting ingredients and readymade sweet and savoury treats.

The selection here is designed to inspire you to create your own personal fireside feast.

1. The Crowd Pleaser (Mezze sharing platter)

A mezze platter is perfect for a group of family and friends and suits both meat lovers and vegetarians. It’s the heart of your fireside feast. Here are a few tips to consider when putting a platter together.

Give your platter an individual stamp, make it a plate of tastes that you love.

We use all of our senses when eating so include a variety of colours and texture.

Try not to serve directly from the fridge, give all of the wonderful flavours time to reach their maximum taste potential. We enjoyed a Lidl platter over the weekend with friends and here are some of the ingredients we used.

Meats

Deluxe Prosciutto Di Parma; Deluxe Salami with Porcini Mushrooms and Deluxe Buffalo Salami.

Cheese

Deluxe Cooleeney Camembert, Deluxe Irish Vintage Cheddar and Deluxe Brie de Meaux.

Breads/Crackers

Lidl’s own Country Loaf; Deluxe Charcoal & Sesame Wholemeal Biscuits; Deluxe Oat & Chive Wheat Biscuits. I also included a small bowl of truffle dipping oil with the bread.

Added extras

Deluxe Lidl Olives; Apple & Fig Chutney which was delicious with the Cheese selection; Deluxe Moroccan Hummus.

I also include some stuffed and wrapped Medjoul dates and I dressed some Deluxe melba toasts. I picked up some of Lidl’s Deluxe Salmon sensation, a wonderful product that I could have easily eaten on its own but instead I put a teaspoon on a melba toast with a sprinkle of Deluxe Capelin Roe and a sprig of Dill. A delicious little bite! I also did another delicious bite, this time using Brie De Meaux and Deluxe Caramelised Onion Chutney on melba toast.

2. Out of the Ordinary (Tuna Carpaccio with Horseradish Cream and Rocket)

I was delighted to see tuna carpaccio as part of the Lidl Deluxe range. Tuna Carpaccio is a favourite of mine on family holidays and since all of the hard work is already done, this is an easy to assemble savoury treat that will be gone in minutes. All I needed was a dressing.

Serves 2

  • 1 Pack Deluxe Smoked Tuna Carpaccio

  • 1 tsp lemon zest

  • 4 tsp Deluxe Horseradish Cream with Cranberry

  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 handful of rocket

  • Cracked black pepper and sea salt.

Method

Arrange the Tuna Carpaccio on a plate and sprinkle with lemon zest, salt and pepper. Place rocket salad at the centre of the dish. In a small bowl, mix the horseradish cream and olive oil together and drizzle over the rocket salad. Simple and ready to eat.

3. A Decadent Touch (Risotto with Asparagus and Smoked Salmon)

Risotto is a dish that some might be a little nervous cooking. I used the Lidl Deluxe Carnaroli Risotto with Asparagus. The instructions on the pack tell you to add the pack to one litre of cold water, bring to the boil , stir occasionally and then simmer for 15 minutes. It really was that easy. I added a little butter and smoked salmon at the end and it was an absolutely delicious bowl of comfort.

Serves 3

  • 1 Pack of Deluxe Carnaroli Risotto

  • 100g Smoked Salmon

  • 1 oz Butter

  • 25g Deluxe Parmigiano Reggiano PDO shavings.

Method

For the risotto, follow instructions on the pack. Towards the end of the cooking time add smoked salmon and butter and stir through the rice. Garnish with parmigiano shavings and enjoy.

4. Something Different (Stuffed and wrapped Medjoul dates)

These little bites are a delicious combination of salty and sweet. Medjoul dates are large, sweet and succulent. Enjoy a few with red wine or port or add them to a mezze platter to share.

Makes 9

Ingredients

  • 1 Pack of Deluxe Medjoul Dates

  • 1 Pack of Deluxe Roquefort PDO Blue Cheese, allow 1 teaspoon per date

  • 5 Slices of Deluxe Prosciutto Crudo, dry cured Italian Ham.

Method

Making a small incision remove the pit from each date. Depending on the size of the date, stuff it with one teaspoon of blue cheese and gently pinch it closed. Wrap each date firmly with a half slice of the Prosciutto Crudo and secure with a toothpick. Place on a baking tray and bake at 160 degrees for 10 minutes, just long enough to gently melt the cheese.

5. Cheesy Twist (Baked Cheese in a Box)

The Lidl Deluxe Cheese range provides a lot of choice and taste. A baked cheese is a quick and delicious dish and there are so many flavours that you can use to suit your taste buds. Here I simply used garlic and rosemary.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 Box Deluxe Pont L’eveque PDO French Soft Cheese

  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1 sprig rosemary

  • Olive oil

Method

Open the box and remove any cheese wrapping and place back in the box. Make some small incisions in the crust and insert garlic and rosemary. Drizzle the cheese with olive oil. Place in the oven – still in the box – and bake for 10 mins at 180 degrees. This is just enough time for the cheese to soften. Serve with breadsticks or carrot sticks.

6. Kid's Favourite (Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich)

There is an amazing frozen dessert section in Lidl, so much delicious choice. Their cookie selection also caught my eye and it reminded me of a simple childhood dessert, an ice cream Cookie Sambo. I also spotted a lovely gift jar, the Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. I bought the jar as a gift and bought some pretty Milk Chocolate Butter biscuits from the wonderfully Christmassy Favorina range.

A large scoop of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, sandwiched between two cookies, brought me back to my childhood.

7. Indulgent Dessert (Caffe Affogato)

This is a delicious Italian dessert that honestly couldn’t be any simpler or easier. The name Caffe Affogato translates to ‘drowned in coffee’. Traditionally served with an espresso coffee shot poured over vanilla ice cream.

Lidl have a beautiful range of ice cream with some fabulous flavours. I chose a deliciously creamy hazelnut version. I poured an espresso over a scoop of ice cream and, because I was feeling indulgent, added a drizzle of Deluxe Irish Chocolate Cream Liqueur. So easy it was hard not to serve seconds.

8. An Adult Christmas Treat (Port and Chocolate Board)

And to finish things off once the youngest are in bed: one bottle of the wonderful Armilar Ruby Port, some Deluxe Cream Truffles with dark chocolate and/or white chocolate truffles with orange. Perhaps a luxurious mince pie or two, one log on the fire and relax.

Next week:

Cocktails at Christmas: the Christmas Coach meets Lidl employee Chris Treacy to plan a cocktail party.

More for everyone this Christmas

Everyone’s favourite time of year is fast approaching and here at Lidl, we want to make every moment as easy for you as possible. We’ve put together an amazing range this year and we think you’ll be as excited about it as we are. With top quality, fresh turkeys and hams, locally sourced fruit and veg as well as our premium Deluxe and Favorina ranges on offer, you’re sure to have the most special Christmas yet when you shop with us – while stocks last.

For more great offers see lidl.ie

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