Christmas at our house is usually a sprint — we decorate mid-December, get the tree a few days before the 25th and tear around the grocery store hours before it closes for the holiday. But this year I’m approaching it more like a marathon: slow and steady wins the race. I’ve got a leg up on the shopping, brought in a few bits of greenery to make the house festive and tried some new recipes that made the kitchen smell like Christmas. Including a couple from Yvette Van Boven’s wonderful new cookbook, Home Made Christmas. The prolific writer, editor, illustrator and television host (the Dutch cooking show Koken met van Boven is filmed in her kitchen) shares more than 100 recipes, a variety of menus, and many helpful tips to help relieve some of the stresses that come with holiday entertaining. (And just entertaining in general, really.)
Yvette’s Christmas Porchetta looks delicious to me, but there are also a variety of vegetarian apps, mains and sides (and two menus) for those who don’t eat meat. We tried the Carrot Tatin (so easy with store-bought puff pastry) and it disappeared in a flash, and I’d love to try the Roasted Cauliflower with Goat Cheese Cream, the Full-Flavored Red Cabbage with Pears and Hazelnuts and the Warm Bean Salad with Cashew and Kale Pesto. All of which sound lovely for a holiday table, but would be equally welcome in the fall and winter, I think.
Dessert recipes include Pavlova Trifle with Poached Pears, Warm Custard Pudding with Banana, Belgian Waffles and Meringue and this Trifle with Salty Caramel, Cheesecake Cream and Chewy Brownies. (Heaven!) We’ve yet to try any of Yvette’s desserts, but I did make the dessert-adjacent Apple-Cranberry Christmas Rolls, which we had for Sunday breakfast and afternoon snacks. Like the Carrot Tartin they were easy to make and versatile. We’d have them pretty much any time of the year, but the dusting of icing sugar and the cranberries does make them look particularly festive.
Yvette’s dog Marie makes a few appearances, and there are some gorgeous indoor and outdoor shots that will make you want to line your window sills with candles, light a fire and invite friends in for a cozy evening.
“Set the table to bring about the right mood and make sure you are in a cheerful mood as well. Believe me, this is half the trick. Even if something didn’t turn out quite the way you wanted, being a merry host remains key. Because that is what your guests will remember in the end. Well, honestly, they’ll also remember your miserably failed risotto, but you’ll be laughing about that in due time.” — Yvette Van Boven, Home Made Christmas
One stand out for me is the two-page spread with to-do lists for planning a dinner party from one month in advance to the day after the party. Yvette thought of everything so we don’t have to (thanks Yvette!) and I imagine pacing the prep like she suggests would help prevent a lot of stress along the way.
Thanks to Abrams Books, I’ve got one copy of Home Made Christmas for one of you! To enter to win, tell me what holiday dish or treat you’re looking forward to this year. This entry is mandatory.
For another entry, visit try small things on Facebook and like (or love!) this post and leave a comment, then tell me you did so and your name on Facebook in the comments below. (You don’t have to share, BUT CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND YOU-KNOW-WHO IS WATCHING!)
And feel free to tweet the following once per day and leave the url for your tweet in the comments below (one entry per tweet). Make sure you’re following try small things and @abramsbooks on Twitter for your entry to count.
Christmas recipes and entertaining tips in a gorgeous book with all the festive feels —> #Win Yvette Van Boven’s “Home Made Christmas” from @trysmallthings https://wp.me/p4xBed-6Ra CAN 12/05 #HomeMadeChristmas
The contest is open to Canadian residents 18+ excluding Quebec and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on December 5, 2018. The potential winner (chosen at random) must respond to prize notification within 48 hours and provide the correct answer to a skill-testing question, otherwise another winner will be selected.
Update December 7, 2018: Congratulations to Tricia B!
Images shared here with permission from the publisher. Images 2, 3, 4 and the cover by Oof Verschuren.