Work up an ap­petite

Top chefs share their mouth­wa­ter­ing ideas for a buckle-break­ing Christ­mas lunch

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

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.

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