I am not a great one for starters before Christmas Dinner, but I will certainly have plates of Parmesan Shortbreads and my Panettone Stuffing Squares dotted around the place alongside a jug or two of my Christmas Cup, and may even offer the odd Poinsettia too - and if you want to do likewise, just follow the Christmas Cup recipe, but substitute Grand Marnier, Triple Sec or Cointreau for the Cherry Brandy and cranberry juice for the ginger ale.
The old fave, my Spiced and Superjuicy Turkey is hard to resist – there's something about the brining method which makes the turkey easier to carve into elegantly thin slices, so not only will you feel better on the day but also the turkey will go further – and for me this has to go with Allspice Gravy, Gingerbread Stuffing and Redder Than Red Cranberry Sauce. But I do want to draw your attention, as well, to the Turkey Breast Stuffed with Italian Sausage and Marsala-Steeped Cranberries. This is particularly fab for a party, when you can cook it and slice it (easily) into generous slabs. I know that Perfect Roast Potatoes is an immodest title but, I promise you, they are a seasonal spud sensation. My mother always served her Brussels Sprouts with a lot of buttered chestnuts (and cooked and peeled her own). I have upped the ante by adding gorgeous salty pancetta cubes (feel free to substitute bacon) and been unapologetically lazier by buying vacuum-packed ready cooked and peeled chestnuts.
We've also got both my Ham in Coca Cola and Ginger-Glazed Ham, both of which are just divine with the Spiced Peaches. Veggie diners are not left out, either, as I have a splendiferous Roast Stuffed Pumpkin with Gingery Tomato Sauce. I urge you also to reconsider the seasonal sprout, and go for the Hearty Wholewheat Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Cheese and Potato, a truly satisfying veggie option (and an excellent way of absorbing excess alcohol, I should add).
Oh dear: I am trying to keep this brief, but am finding it difficult as there is just so much food to celebrate at Christmas. For pudding, I suggest to you my old favourites (and this is absolutely a time for tradition and my own Christmas ritual relies on them): Ultimate Christmas Pudding with Rum Butter and Eggnog Cream; Yule Log; Star-Topped Mince Pies!
Still, there’s room for innovation too, so you will also find my Christmas Morning Muffins, Chocolate Fruit Cake, Salted Caramel Brandy Butter, Gorgeously Golden Fruit Cake (which happens to be gluten-free), Spruced-Up Vanilla Cake, Christmas-Spiced Chocolate Cake (another gluten-free treat), Christmas Chocolate Cookies, and even a luxuriously chocolatey Christmas Pudding for Christmas Pudding Haters.
But I couldn't just end there: this is after all the season of glorious indulgence, so I had to give you my utterly ravishing but easy and no-cook Italian Christmas Pudding Cake and, of course, a little seasonal jollity in the form of my Chocolate Salame.
And my Christmas tradition – which for me marks the start of my own festive season – involves making up a batch of Edible Christmas Decorations with my children.
Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, Happy Holidays and here's to cooking and eating our way into a fantastic new year!
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