Nothing elicits that sense of comforting festivity (other than maybe Home Alone) like food. There are so many flavours, scents and textures that are intimately intertwined with the season: warming spices and root vegetables, starchy stuffings and honey glazes, chocolate, peppermint, orange and cinnamon. It's good stuff.
These food memories can be personal too. I have a very specific sense memory linked to orange Matchmakers which always reminds me of childhood. I only need to see the box or catch a whiff of that synthetic citrus to be thrown back to a particular Christmas at home, aged seven, when I ate too much chocolate before mass and fainted on the altar (true story).
Mountains of work can go into Christmas food — the brining, the peeling, the baking, the steaming — and that's often part of the fun. But after everything that 2022 has wrought, it's harder to work up the energy for all the faff. Not impossible, but way harder.
And so, as a sort of middle ground between huge amounts of food-related labour and nothing at all, we offer you festive recipes which capture the spirit of the season without taking a million years to prepare. These are meals suitable for weeknights or snacking or having a socially distant cocktail, so you can still eat, drink and be merry without pushing the boat out too far.