Work up an appetite
Top chefs share their mouthwatering ideas for a buckle-breaking Christmas lunch
PLANNING to cook up a storm this Christmas? Having loads of guests and don’t know what to cook? Help is at hand on BBC Lifestyle, which has a range of cooking shows devoted to Christmas fare. Here’s the line-up:
Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen (five episodes). Christmas is one of the few times when we are prepared to spend days stirring and stuffing, but as Nigella Lawson always says, cooking should be fun and if it isn’t, then you’re not doing it right.
Episode 1: Nigella shows how thinking ahead and filling the freezer can cut down on Christmas Day stress. Nigella makes and freezes a number of dishes including roast pumpkin and sweet potato soup and a Girdle Buster Pie which more than lives up to its reputation.
Episode 2: Time for stocking fillers such as spiced fruits in Ximinez sherry and Christmas Puddini truffles.
Episode 3: Nigella takes a trip to Paris to explore sweet dishes including chocolate Rocky Road and Christmas Pavlova.
Episode 4: Nigella’s off to Salzburg to find inspiration at the Christmas market. She cooks up a selection of festive canapés, including Parma ham, goat’s cheese and figgy wraps, and crab cakes.
Episode 5: Nigella prepares a super spiced roast turkey – a brined and spiced bird that is like no other. To go with it are pancetta and chestnut sprouts, gingerbread stuffing, maple syrup parsnips and vodkaflamed Christmas pudding.
Starts December 5 at 10.25am with the next episode at 10.50am. See episodes 3 and 4 on December 12. On December 19 all five episodes will be shown from 9am to 10.55am.
Rick Stein’s Food Heroes: Christmas Special. In search of “food with honest flavour”, Rick Stein and loyal pet dog Chalky seek out passionate food producers across Britain and Ireland whose products are highly sought after all year round, but especially during the festive season.
Highlights include a visit to wine expert Oz Clarke to sample Nyetimber Vineyard’s award-winning English sparkling wine, and a belt-loosening session with the members of the Pudding Club.
December 5 at 11.15am Bill’s Food: Holly Days. It’s Christmas time in Sydney. It’s hot and seafood is on the barbecue. This is Bill’s family Christmas, Australian-style, with a nod to tradition. Boxing Day is for relaxing and Bill puts together a laid-back picnic by the harbour.
Starts December 8 at 5.30pm. Oliver’s Twist: Christmas. Jamie treats his office staff to a Christmas dinner to thank them for all their hard work over the year.
December 12 at 9.05am. Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas Cookalong Live: Charismatic Gordon Ramsay leads viewers through the preparation of a sumptuous Christmas feast. Filmed live, and with cameras in the kitchens of volunteer families across the UK, Gordon attempts to co-ordinate an extraordinary culinary feat.
With the ingredients known well in advance, the volunteers should be well prepared, but will it all come together under pressure?
On the menu are chestnut soup, chicken fricassee with bread sauce and pan-fried sprouts, and there’s a Christmas trifle to finish.
December 12 at 11.15am. In Search of Perfection: Christmas Special. In this episode, celebrated chef Heston Blumenthal’s six guests have one thing in common – a genuine love of food – and Heston’s aim is to make them feel like children again, albeit with some very sophisticated tastes.
Sir Terry Wogan, Kirsty Wark, Dara O’Briain, Rob Brydon, Richard E Grant and Sue Perkins have no idea what to expect, but the menu includes edible Christmas tree baubles filled with smoked salmon mousse, a dish inspired by gold, frankincense and myrrh, mulled wine that is both hot and cold in the same glass and goose fed on a mixture of ingredients including apples and grain.
December 12 at 12.05pm.