In case you haven’t realised, it’s nearly Christmas! Let’s ignore the 25th December for a minute though. Let’s instead switch attention to it’s less glamorous neighbour. The 26th December. Boxing Day.
For me, Boxing Day has always been busy. When I used to live at home or go back to my folks’ for Christmas, it was when we’d open the doors to extended family. It wasn’t uncommon to have upwards of 20 people over for the day. Chatting. Eating. Playing Games. Arguing. That sort of thing. Now that we have Christmas at our house, it’s more of a chilled out shindig. For instance, the last few years has been the missus, Toddler [Baby] L, my bro and I just hanging out with a festive film.
When it comes to Boxing Day food, I’ve learnt from my mum. Or, technically, I’ve learnt to not do what my mum does. She’s always prided herself on being a good host, which usually means putting herself before everyone else and trying to do too much. Rather than go for the easy or convenient option, she’d cook meat for sandwiches, chop up everything for a salad, make different trifles etc.
I admire her dedication, but that’s just way too much hassle for me over an already stressful festive period. I’m more than happy to cook Christmas dinner, but I don’t want the bother on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. I want something quick, convenient, hassle-free and tasty. This often sees us buy a selection of different snacky foods and have a bit of a buffet that we can pick at.
Having already tried out some of Iceland’s food earlier in the year – namely a football feast and the Pizza Express range – I was more than happy to check out their Christmas party food when they got in touch in early December. The idea being that we replaced our usual Boxing Day spread with one from Iceland instead.
So, off we popped to Iceland. That’s the supermarket, not the country – I guess if we were going to a country, Lapland would be more appropriate anyway. We found the Christmas Party food straight away and went about picking the grub we fancied. There was a wide range of frozen food in the party section which included the likes of jumbo tempura prawns, mini toad in the hole and sticky chicken skewers.
Even better, we discovered that the party food was on offer at two for £5 rather than the usual price of £3 each. We tend to do our food shopping online these days, but the process of going in store and buying the food was quick and easy. After doing our best Dale Winton impression by going “wild in the aisles”, we decided to go with the following Iceland party food items…
- 18 mini deep dish pizzas
- 12 mini pies
- 16 chicken and chorizo cups
- 12 duck Christmas trees
- Crinkle cut chips
- 12 mini melt in the middle puddings
- 12 New York and salted caramel cheesecakes
- 2 x six-packs of Coca-Cola zero
…which came to just £19. That felt like a hell of a lot of food – mains, desserts and drinks – for less than twenty quid. When we got home, I discovered that we’d bought so much that we couldn’t actually get it all into our freezer ready for Boxing Day. That might have appeared to be a rookie mistake, but it worked out well – it just meant that we could have an easy tea that night and call it fake Boxing Day.
We often cook stuff from scratch at home, so having the convenience and ease of popping food in the oven at Christmas is a game changer. The festive period is already stressful enough, so the last thing I want is to be stuck in the kitchen when I’d prefer to be catching up with family, chilling out or playing with my new toys! As such, I find that frozen party food such as this can really help.
Apart from sticking the oven on, whacking the food on a baking tray and then turning the stuff over half way through, there’s not much else to do. The party food we bought took anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes depending on the item, so it’s not a particularly long process. Much quicker than other options like ordering a takeaway, which is something we’ve done in previous years on Boxing Day.
Once the food was cooked, I plated it up and attempted to fend off a hangry (angry because of hunger) toddler and wife so that I could take a few photos. The life of a blogger, eh?! If there’s one thing I learnt for Boxing Day, it’s to not be the ‘thing’ standing in the way of the rest of the family and dinner.
Despite thinking that it didn’t look enough food to start with, it soon became evident that my eyes were bigger than my belly. Cooking half of everything turned out to be the right amount for two adults and a toddler for our Boxing Day dry run. Luckily, this means we’ll have the right amount for actual Boxing Day too. All of the food tasted nice – I often associate frozen party food as being a bit bland, but this had plenty of flavour.
My favourite was the chicken and chorizo cups. This was basically a bit of chicken breast wrapped in a slice of chorizo. I love chicken and chorizo together and it features regularly as a combination in my cooking. The missus liked the chicken, leek and bacon mini pies, which had a really nice creamy sauce in a shortcrust pastry with puff pastry lid.
Toddler L tucked in to everything, but seemed to like the novelty of the duck Christmas trees. Firstly, because the filo pastry was designed to look like a Christmas tree, and secondly because she got to hold it with a stick and lick it like a lolly. Toddlers are weird.
Even though we were all a bit full, it’s not Christmas without over indulging on deserts. Again, we halved what we’d bought as 24 mini puds felt a little excessive. To be fair, 12 probably was too, but we are a family that loves a good pudding.
The cheesecakes were nice, but the winner – without a doubt – was the mini melt in the middle puddings. The dark ones being the Belgian chocolate sponge puddings with a melting centre, whereas the light ones were salted caramel. I have a huge sweet tooth, and in hindsight, should have probably bought another couple of boxes just to gorge on myself.
All in all, I was really impressed with our fake Boxing Day party food feast. In fact, I’ve already got one eye on actual Boxing Day so that I can eat it again. The food was very well priced, convenient, easy to prepare and tasty. If you’re planning a spread over Christmas, or aren’t sure what to do for food, then I’d suggest you have a gander at Iceland’s party food.
What do you usually eat over the Christmas period? What’s your favourite party food? Let me know below!
N.B. This is a collaborative post written for Iceland.