It’s the sides

carrots and parsnipsWe’re on countdown at my home. Quinny keeps asking how Santa will get in and if she can stay up to watch. Santa has become her new favourite person but she still loves me. Eva on the other hand, is really excited about Christmas dinner and I’m getting my orders. i don’t mind though as I love Christmas dinner too. Today she asked for a Victoria sponge for dessert. Happy to oblige but it won’t be for me. I’m a Christmas pudding kind of gal.

If your house is anything like mine, everyone wants a different side dish with Christmas dinner. Aiming to please, here are some of our favourites:

  • Maple roasted carrots and parsnips
  • Garlicky lemon sprouts
  • Warm spinach, cranberry and pine nut salad.


Maple roasted carrots and parsnips


  • ½ lb of carrots, peeled and quartered
  •  ½lb of parsnips, peeled and quartered or halved (depending on size)
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon of chili powder
  • fresh thyme to garnish


  1. Coat the vegetables with the oil, syrup and chili.
  2. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve.

Garlicky lemon sproutssprouts


  • 1lb of sprouts, peeled and washed (you can 1/2 or 1/4 but we like them whole). 
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place sprouts in a steamer basket and cook for 5-8 minutes or until they are al dente (tender on the outside but firm in the middle).
  2. Toss sprouts with garlic, lemon juice and rind and olive oil.  
  3. Season with salt.

Warm spinach, cranberry and pine nut salad

spinach saladIngredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1lb of baby spinach or kale
  • 1 cup of apple sweetened cranberries
  • 1 cup of pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon of minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add the pine nuts, toast, remove the pine nuts from the pan and set the pine nuts aside. Leave the pan on a low heat.
  2. Make the dressing by whisking together the onion, syrup or honey, the ¼ cup of oil and the vinegar.
  3. Ensure the pan is oiled and add the cranberries shaking the pan to warm them. Add the spinach and warm it too for about 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the pine nuts on top of the spinach and cranberries and remove the pan from the heat. Just before serving, pour over the dressing.

Let me know what you think!

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