The festive season and Christmas day in particular is a time for celebrating with family and friends, reminiscing on happy memories from the year that’s passed and toasting to the year ahead.
When I think of Christmas, I think about what life looks like in the late part of December. Carols echoing through streets, shops and homes. Santa’s warm smile and bells jingling in the distance. Boney M, Mariah Carey and Michael Buble on the radio. Red, green and gold decorations sparkling and gleaming. Family cars carrying Christmas trees back home. Happiness and peace on the faces of people everywhere.
Christmas day itself is filled with sheer joy. For those who celebrate the birth of Jesus, the festivities begin with worship and church. By early morning, there’s the rush of opening presents and the excitement of children. Did Santa Claus read their letter and bring what they wished for this year?
Food, glorious food!
But Christmas wouldn’t quite be our favourite time of year without us coming together over food, toasting the season across tables spread out with dishes and platters, china and glassware.
As we settle in for Christmas lunch or dinner with paper hats, corny dad jokes and trinkets flying out of crackers with a giant bang, the food in front of us has usually been a long time coming.
Behind the scenes, culinary plans have been made to cater to every taste, in accordance with the unwritten rules of Christmas fare:
- There has to be more than one type of meat on display.
- At least three salads, one preferably pasta.
- Multi-layered desserts that range from light and fruity to decadent and creamy.
- Oh, and alcohol in everything. The more, the merrier.
- And the one rule to rule them all: whatever you’re serving, make enough to sink three battleships, just in case anyone wants more.
It seems a lot to get through, but it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. Some of the food can be created weeks ahead of the special day. Other items can be made the day or night before. And the roast just needs to be popped into the oven early on Christmas Day.
Cook Like A Celebrity With Our Special Christmas Menu
Take things up a notch at your Christmas table this year, with a little help from our celebrity friends.
We’ve assembled the best of the best from the world’s finest chefs, so there’s no guesswork required. Just a bit of time in the kitchen and your personal touch to top things off, and it’ll be a Christmas to remember for one and all!
It’s the night before Christmas and time for a feast
And thanks to this menu, no stress in the least
Browse the courses and chefs, give the recipes a look
Then eat, drink and be merry – and raise a glass to the cook!
We’d like to wish you a very merry Christmas. May it be everything you dreamt it would be. Cheers!
~ Starter ~
Gordon Ramsay’s Salt and Pink Peppercorn Prawns With Lime Mayonnaise
For the Prawns
- 1 tbsp pink peppercorns
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 500 g raw, peeled king prawns
- 1 tbsp coriander roughly chopped
For the Lime Mayonnaise
- 100 g mayonnaise
- Juice of 1 lime
- Using a pestle and mortar, grind the peppercorns and salt into a coarse powder.
- Put the lime zest and juice into a large bowl, then stir the olive oil and pink pepper mixture in
- Add the prawns and, using clean hands, toss gently until well coated
- Mix the mayonnaise and lime juice together in a bowl and set aside in the fridge
- Place a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and, when very hot, add the prawns
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, until all the prawns are pink and cooked
- Tip onto a platter, sprinkle with the coriander and serve with the lime mayonnaise and a green salad, if liked
~ Main Course ~
Mary Berry’s Roast Turkey Crown
For the Turkey
- 2.2 kg turkey crown on the bone
- 2 small oranges, one thinly sliced, one cut in half
- 2 fresh thyme leaves chopped
- 50 g butter softened
- 1 to 2 tbsp vegetable oil
For the Turkey Gravy
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 6 tbsp port
- 450 ml hot turkey or chicken stock
- splash of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Turkey
- Preheat the oven to 200 °C/180 °C Fan/Gas 6.
- Loosen the skin on the turkey crown by pushing your fingers (or rubber spatula) between the skin and the meat, moving it around to get to the tricky places and taking care not to tear the skin.
- Mix the thyme leaves with the softened butter until well combined, then smear the mixture underneath the skin of the bird
- Arrange the orange slices in two neat rows under the skin, on top of the herb butter
- Place one of the orange halves under the skin at the neck end of the bird, and any orange trimmings in the neck cavity
- Transfer the turkey crown to a small roasting tray
- Rub all over with the oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Roast in the oven for about 1½-2 hours, or until the juices run clear when the turkey is pierced in the thickest part with a skewer and no traces of pink remain
- During cooking, check the turkey every 30 minutes, baste occasionally and cover with aluminium foil if it is browning too quickly
- About 15 minutes before the end of cooking, squeeze the juice from the remaining half-orange over the turkey
- Return the turkey to the oven, uncovered, to allow the skin to crisp up
- Transfer the turkey crown to a serving platter and set aside to rest, covered in foil, for 30 minutes
- Reserve the meat juices left in the roasting tray
For the Gravy
- Pour the juices from the roasting tray into a jug and allow to settle
- Skim all but 4 tablespoons of the fat from the top, then tip the remaining gravy into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat until the gravy is just simmering
- Whisk in the flour until the mixture is smooth and well combined, then pour in the port and stock and whisk again until smooth
- Continue to simmer the gravy until it starts to thicken, then add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and the soy sauce
- Bring the gravy to the boil, adding any remaining turkey juices released while the meat is resting
- Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then decant into a warmed serving jug and serve with the turkey
Giada De Laurentiis’ Pomegranate Glazed Pork
- 2¾ to 3 kg bone-in centre, cut pork loin, chine bone removed, and frenched deboned and trussed
- 2 carrots halved lengthwise
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp plus ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp whole-grain mustard
- Remove the pork roast from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking
- Preheat the oven to 175 °C
- Place the rack on the lower middle section of the oven
- Place the carrot halves on the bottom of a small roasting pan and set aside
- Trim off any thick areas of fat from the roast
- Make shallow slits about 1 inch apart in a crosshatch on the meat of the roast
- Mix together the cinnamon, cloves and 1 tbsp salt in a small bowl
- Sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly over the roast and rub to coat
- Place the roast on the carrots and add 1/2 cup water to the pan
- Roast for 1 hour, adding another 1/2 cup water if the pan gets dry
- Meanwhile, combine the pomegranate juice and thyme in a small saucepan
- Place over medium heat and reduce by half, about 15 minutes
- Stir in the maple syrup and mustard and continue to reduce until slightly thickened, another 3 to 4 minutes
- Season with the remaining ¼ tsp salt and remove and discard the thyme
- Baste the meat with the pomegranate mixture and roast until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees F50 °C, plus another 30 minutes
- Remove the roast from the oven and turn the oven up to 232 °C
- Baste the roast again with the pomegranate mixture
- Return the roast to the hot oven for an additional 20 minutes, basting with the pomegranate sauce every 5 to 10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 58 °C and the roast is evenly glazed.
- Remove the roast to a platter to rest for 10 minutes
- Add any juices from the pan to the sauce and bring to a simmer over medium heat
- Stir to combine
- Slice the roast and serve with the sauce on the side
~ Dessert ~
Ina Garten’s English Lemon Posset
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon zest (2 to 3 lemons)
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅓ cup emon juice
- 4 tbsp limoncello liqueur
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 cup fresh strawberries sliced
- Combine the cream, 1 cup of the sugar, the lemon zest, and salt in a medium saucepan
- Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar
- Lower heat to a vigorous simmer and cook for 6 minutes, without stirring
- Watch the mixture carefully. If it begins to boil up toward the edge, take the pan off the heat for a few seconds before continuing to simmer
- Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the limoncello
- Set aside for 20 minutes to cool
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a 4-cup glass measuring cup, pressing on zest to release as much liquid as possible
- Discard the zest
- Divide mixture evenly among six glasses or bowls
- Refrigerate, uncovered, 3 hours or until firm
- Or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days
- Thirty minutes before serving, combine raspberries, strawberries, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and limoncello in a bowl and allow to macerate
- To serve, spoon the berries and their juices onto the custards
Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Pudding
- unsalted butter , for greasing
- 150 g Medjool dates stoned
- 150 g dried apricots
- 150 g pecan nuts
- 75 g crystallised ginger
- 1 small sprig of fresh rosemary
- 150 g dried cranberries
- 150 g raisins
- 150 g suet
- 150 g plain flour
- 75 g fresh breadcrumbs
- 200 ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 large free-range egg
- 1 clementine
- golden syrup
- barrel-aged Bourbon
- Grease a 1.5 litre pudding bowl with butter.
- Destone your dates, then, by hand or in a food processor, finely chop the flesh with the apricots, pecans, ginger and rosemary leaves
- Place it all in a mixing bowl with the cranberries, raisins, suet, flour, breadcrumbs and milk
- Crack in the egg, finely grate in the clementine zest, squeeze in the juice and mix it all together really well
- Tip the mixture into the greased bowl and cover with a single layer of greaseproof paper and a double layer of tin foil
- Tie a piece of string around the bowl to secure them in place and make it watertight, then sit it in a large, deep saucepan and pour in enough water to come halfway up the sides of the bowl.
- Bring the water to the boil, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and reduce to a simmer for 4 hours
- Check the water regularly, and keep topping it up with boiling water, if needed
- When the time’s up, lift out the bowl, remove the foil and paper, then carefully turn the pudding out onto a plate ready to serve, or leave to cool and reheat just before you need it.
- You can either drizzle it with golden syrup and a swig of Bourbon – gorgeous – or be a bit more flamboyant and gently heat a good few swigs of Bourbon just to warm it, then strike a match to the pan (stand back!), let it flame, and carefully pour it over your pudding
- Present it to your guests and sing some Christmassy songs, then when the flame subsides drizzle with golden syrup
- Serve with cream, custard or even ice cream
Cold leftovers are delicious with a slice of British cheese, such as Lancashire, or in a Christmas sundae. GET AHEAD
After steaming, allow the pudding to cool, then remove the greaseproof paper, leaving it covered with tin foil. Store in a cool, dark place until the big day, then simply steam again to reheat – about an hour should do it, until piping hot throughout.
~ Drinks ~
Kirsten Tibballs’ White Chocolate Eggnog
- 500 g milk
- 240 g thickened cream (35% fat)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg plus more for garnish
- ½ tsp vanilla paste
- 6 free range egg yolks
- 90 g caster sugar
- 240 g Frangelico, rum or bourbon, optional
- 120 g white chocolate, in pieces
- Milk chocolate, for shaving
- 300 g thickened cream (35% fat)
- 30 g caster sugar
- In a saucepan, combine the milk, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and slowly bring the mixture to a boil
- In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with sugar until the yolks are pale in colour
- Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks in a slow constant drizzle until combined
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon but does not boil. If using a thermometer, the mixture should reach 80°C (176°F).
- Place Frangelico or other alcohol, if using, in a bowl with the white chocolate
- Pour over the warm mixture and whisk until combined
- Place in the fridge until chilled
- This can be done two or three days ahead
- When ready to serve, whip the serving cream and sugar together
- Grate some milk chocolate onto a piece of paper
- Dip the rim of each glass into the whipped cream and dip in the grated chocolate
- Fill each glass two-thirds of the way with eggnog
- Pipe or scoop the whipped cream onto the top of the eggnog and dust with ground nutmeg
Use the egg whites to make a Pavlova.
Eggnog will keep in the fridge for three days.
Nigella Lawson’s Malt Cider
- 4 cups dry hard cider
- ¼ cup dark rum
- 1 cup apple and ginger tea (made from a herbal tea bag)
- ¼ cup soft dark brown sugar
- 2 clementines (or satsumas)
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 cardamom pods bruised
- Pour the cider, rum and herbal tea into a wide saucepan, add the sugar and put over a low heat to mull
- Halve the clementines or satsumas, stick a clove into each half, and add them to the pan
- Break the cinnamon sticks in half, and tip into the pan
- Add the bay leaves and bruised cardamom pods, and let everything infuse as the pan comes almost to the boil
- Once the pan is near to boiling, turn down the heat, so that it just keeps warm, and ladle into heatproof glasses with handles to serve
- To make this into a non-alcoholic warmer, replace the cider and rum with 4 cups of apple juice and a quarter cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- You probably won’t need the sugar, but taste when warm to see if you want a little and then add as you like
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