For the sake of my sanity, I start by buying my presents months ahead. It sure beats the holiday rush and keeps me away from those crowded stores. I also am very much a homebody at this time of year and prefer to have Christmas dinner in my pyjamas with hubby and daughter instead of at a table filled with people I hardly know or rarely see.
When I do entertain, I try to keep things as simple as possible and go for recipes that hardly require any brainwork. Hearty stews I can make a day ahead, a roast chicken (love the fat Dutch Kemper Landhoen chickens) or maybe even an easy oven dish, like a cottage pie. I rarely go for a multi-course dinner affair and prefer to serve these kind of dishes alone, family-style and with just a bottle of good wine as the only accompaniment.
If I am in the mood to serve a starter, my goat's cheese tarts are one of my favorite choices. It just doesn't get any easier than this! Here's the recipe, with a video, which is in Dutch, but I'm sure even that doesn't make the dish any more complicated!
Goat's Cheese Tarts
for 1 tart (multiply as needed)
1 small square sheet of puff pastry
1 slice of bacon
1 tsp onion confit
1 heaped tsp of soft goat's cheese
torn sage leaves
beaten egg, to glaze
salad and vincotto or balsamic syrup, to serve
Preheat your oven to 220C, line a baking tray with baking paper and place the puff pastry on the lined tray. Place the bacon on the pastry and follow with the onion confit, the goat's cheese and the sage. Fold each corner of the pastry towards the center, brush with the beaten egg and bake for approximately 12 minutes or until crisp and golden. Place a little salad on a plate, drizzle with the vincotto and top with a warm tart. I love this little dish with a nice, dry sauvignon blanc or a crisp sancerre.