What a beautiful book! No – a piece of art. I read earlier this year the Jamie Oliver was bringing out a Christmas cookbook, and it’s been my most anticipated book for 2016.
Anyone that knows me, can vouch that I am a Christmas fanatic. Growing up in England, Christmas was a big family event and it’s something that will always stay a highlight of my year. There is nothing better, for me, than having family and friends come together and cooking up a feast of a meal, and this book embodies that value.
Firstly, this is a decent sized book, sporting 405 pages. The book covers everything, from starters, to desserts, to making your own crackers and a very handy guide to roasting different cuts of meat. I definitely recognise some of these recipes from other books of his, and Jamie Magazine, but there are some new additions. There is also such a great variety of recipes, so there’s something for everyone’s taste.
Here is a list of chapters:
- Smart Starters
- The Main Event
- Veggie and Vegan Plates
- The Wonderful World of Potatoes
- Scrumptious Vegetables
- Gravy, Sauces and All the Trimmings
- Incredible Leftovers
- Spectacular Festive Puddings
- Afternoon Tea and Sweet Treats
- Cute Edible Gifts
- Super-Fantastic Salads
- Dips, Bites and Handheld Nibbles
- Perfect Drinks
- Guide to Roasting Meat
If you are hosting Christmas this year, or are simply looking for some inspiration, I really recommend you pick up a copy of Jamie’s Christmas. I absolutely love it. Below are a few recipes I’ve tried so far, with the trusty Rudi-Rating… There are at least ten others I’ll be cooking this festive season.
Roast chicken with green flavoured butter
For the butter:
- 2 cloves garlic
- 250g unsalted butter
- 30g fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 50g watercress
- 1 tablespoon jarred grated horseradish (I omitted this as I’m not keen on this flavour)
For the chicken:
- 1 x 1.8kg whole chicken
- 100g flavoured butter
- 1 lemon
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 1/2 a bunch of mixed woody herbs
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 150ml red or white win
- 600ml chicken stock
- optional: 1 teaspoon berry jam
For the butter:
Peel the garlic and blitz in a food processor with the butter, parsley, watercress and horseradish. Season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Spoon the mixture onto a sheet of grease proof paper, roll it up, shape it into a log and twist the ends like a Christmas not cracker, then freeze for one hour. Get it out he freezer, unwrap it and slice it 1cm thick, then reward and keep frozen until needed. This means you’ll be able to easily click off what you need, as and when you want.
For the chicken:
Get your chicken out of the fridge 1 hour before you want to cook it, cover it and leave it to come up to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Make the flavoured butter, then remove 100g for the chicken, returning the rest to the freezer. Warm and scrunch the butter in your clean hands, ten rub it all over the chicken. Halve the lemon and place inside the cavity, then sit the chicken in a sturdy roasting tray. Peel the onions, wash the carrots, then roughly chop with the celery, smash up the bulb of garlic, and add all to the tray. Scatter over the herbs, pushing a few sprigs into the cavity.
Cook the chicken for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until golden and cooked through, basting occasionally , and turning the veg when you do so. To check it’s cooked, use tongs to lift up the chicken – if the juices run clear out the cavity, happy days. You can also check by pinching the thigh meat – if it comes away easily from the bone, you’re good to go. remove to a platter, cover with tin foil and a clean tea towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes while you make your gravy.
Put the tray on a medium heat on the hob, skimming away most of the fat. Stir in the flour, mashing all the veg and scraping up all the sticky bits from the base. Pour in the wine and leave to bubble and cook away, then pour int he stock and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the gravy is the consistency of your liking. Strain the gravy through a coarse sieve into another pan, pushing all the goodness through with the back of a spoon, then taste and season to perfection. It’s nice to balance the flavours with a little jam, then you can leave it ticking away on the lowest heat, until needed.
The Rudi-Rating (RR): This received a 8/10! We had a slightly smaller chicken and overcooked it a little, however the flavour was super tasty. I also really enjoyed the gravy. Looking forward to trying this with the other flavoured butters from the book.
- 300g dried spaghetti
- olive oil
- 100g leftover hard cheese, such as Parmesan, Cheddar, Gruyere
- 3 large eggs
- 250ml double cream
- 250g leftover cooked smoked or jerk ham
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling salted water according to packet instructions, then drain and leave to steam dry and cool in the colander. Meanwhile, rub the inside of a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with oil, then finely grate a think layer of cheese all over the base, shaking it up the sides.
Once the spaghetti is cool, transfer it to a large bowl, gently pulling it apart, then beat and add in the eggs, along with the cream and a generous pinch of black pepper. Chop and add the ham, finely grate in the rest of your cheese, and pick, chop and add the rosemary leaves. Toss together well, then pack into the cake tin and place on a baking tray. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden, crisp and cooked through.
Leave the carbonara cake to sit for 3 minutes in the tin, then carefully and confidently run a knife around the rim and release it proudly on to a board. Serve with a fresh, zingy lemon-dressed salad on the side.
The Rudi-Rating (RR): This dish received a 10/10! I was worried during baking as some of the sauce leaked out, however this was so creamy and tasty – we’ll definitely be making this again soon!
Hot Chocolate (DIY Gift)
- 200g quality dark chocolate
- 10 tablespoons quality cocoa powder
- 5 tablespoons Horlicks powder
- 5 tablespoons cornflour
- 5 tablespoons icing sugar
- 2 pinches of ground cinnamon
Finely grate the chocolate into a bowl. Add all the other ingredients and a good pinch of sea salt, mix well, then decant into jars.
For each portion of hot chocolate, you’ll need 1 heaped tablespoon of mixture and 150ml of whole milk. Simply pour however much milk you need into a pan and bring to a steady simmer over a medium heat. Whisk in your hot chocolate mix and leave it to bubble away for a few minutes, or until you achieve a gorgeous thick, almost claggy texture, which will be totally knockout. Pour into your mugs and enjoy.
The Rudi-Rating (RR): This has received a 10/10 from Moo – I was really excited for him to try this as hot chocolate is a ritual for him. This was insane with mini shortbread biscuits.
Do you have this book? What are your favourite recipes? As always, i’d love to hear from you in the comments below.