The Scotsman has a long article on how to prepare a Very Impressive Christmas Lunch
Put eight Champagne glasses on a tray, measure out 125ml (4fl oz) Grand Marnier and 75ml (3fl oz) grenadine and divide among glasses. Cut a large orange into eight wedges and put one in each glass. To serve, pop a sugar stick or cube into each glass. Uncork a bottle of chilled Champagne, Cava or sparkling wine and carefully fill the glasses. Serve immediately.
Spiced Mixed Nuts
Preheat oven to 190¡C (170¡C fan) mark 5. Take 400g (14oz) unsalted and unroasted nuts (a mixture of brazil nuts, almonds and pecans) and put them in a roasting tin. Sprinkle over 1/2tsp each cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon and sea salt, a good grinding of black pepper and 2tbsp golden caster sugar. Drizzle over 2tbsp olive oil, stir to mix, then spread out in a single layer. Bake for 15-20min until golden and crisp. Cool in the tin and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
280cals, 26g fat (of which 8g saturates), 6g carbs per serving
Drain a 375g jar of mild peppadew sweet peppers (£1.94 from major supermarkets) and tip into a bowl, then do the same with a 230g jar of pitted, stuffed green olives (we used Karyatis Garlic Stuffed Olives in Extra-virgin Olive Oil, £2.39 from Sainsbury's). Push a cocktail stick through each olive, then push the olives into the peppadew shells. Garnish with fresh basil leaves just before serving.
35cals, 3g fat (of which 1g saturates), 2g carbs per serving
• 2tbsp olive oil • 1 large onion, finely chopped • 2 garlic cloves, crushed • 75g (3oz) fresh white breadcrumbs • 50g (2oz) pine nuts, toasted and chopped • Zest of 1 orange, plus 2-3tbsp juice • 2tbsp each finely chopped fresh thyme and sage • 1 medium egg yolk, beaten
1 Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic gently for 5min until soft.
2 Put the breadcrumbs in a large bowl and add the pine nuts, orange zest and juice, thyme and sage and egg. Add the onion mixture, season and stir to bind. Cool, bag and freeze for up to a month. Thaw completely before using.
• 6.3kg (14lb) turkey, giblets removed to make stock • 3tbsp chicken seasoning (such as Schwartz, £1.19 for 68g) • 6 small red onions, cut into large wedges • 3 oranges, cut into wedges • 3 garlic cloves • 16 sage sprigs • 10 thyme sprigs
Orange, sage and thyme stuffing, thawed (see recipe, above)
• 250g pack butter • A large piece of muslin in which to wrap the turkey • Bay leaves to garnish
1 Put the turkey on a board. Sprinkle the inside of the cavity with 1tbsp chicken seasoning. Put a couple of the onion and orange wedges into the cavity with all the garlic cloves and three sprigs each of sage and thyme.
2 Lie the turkey down on the board, breast-side up, with the parson's nose facing away. Lift up the loose skin at the neck end with one hand and, using the other, ease the thawed stuffing between the skin and the flesh - it will fit quite easily. Turn the turkey over on to its breast, pull the neck flap over the stuffing and secure with a cocktail stick or skewer. Weigh the stuffed turkey and calculate the cooking time at 15min per 450g (1lb).
3 Melt the butter in a pan, then pour into a large flameproof roasting tin. Cool slightly before immersing the muslin completely in the butter, then stretch out the fabric, with the edges overhanging the roasting tin. Put the turkey on to the muslin, then sprinkle with remaining chicken seasoning and season with freshly ground black pepper.
4 Scatter the remaining sage and thyme over the turkey, and arrange the remaining orange and onion wedges around it. Bring the muslin up and over the bird and turn over so it's breast-side down in the tin.
5 Preheat oven to 200¡C (180¡C fan) mark 6. Roast the turkey for 3hr 40min (for a 6.3kg/14lb turkey, plus stuffing), turning breast side-up half-way through cooking, until a skewer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh for 10sec comes out piping hot and the juices run clear. There's no need to remove the muslin during cooking - the skin browns naturally.
300cals, 13g fat (of which 7g saturates), 8g carbs per serving including stuffing
• 1.5kg (3lb) large roasting potatoes, quartered • 50g (2oz) goose fat or beef dripping • 6 rosemary sprigs, stalks removed and discarded
1 Put the potatoes into a pan of cold salted water, bring to the boil and cook for 6min. Drain well. Spread out on a baking sheet, cool and freeze. When solid, put into a freezer bag and freeze for up to a month.
2 When ready to roast, preheat oven to 200¡C (180¡C fan) mark 6. Heat the goose fat or dripping in a roasting tin for 7min until hot.
3 Carefully tip in the frozen potatoes and roast for 30min, then sprinkle with sea salt and three-quarters of the rosemary. Shake the tin and continue roasting for 30min. 4 Check, shake again, then roast for a further 20min until crisp. Scatter with the remaining rosemary and serve.
200cals, 6g fat (of which 2g saturates), 32g carbs per serving
1 Put the shallots in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave for 5min (this makes them easier to peel), then drain. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and dry-fry the pancetta for 5min until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
2 Fry the shallots in the pancetta pan for 5min. Add sugar and continue to cook for 5min until caramelised. Add vinegar, wine, juniper berries and thyme, cover and simmer for 10min until almost tender. Uncover the pan, bring to the boil and reduce the liquid until syrupy.
3 Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the sprouts and cook for 5min. Drain and plunge into cold water for 10min then drain again.
4 Heat the butter in a large wok or frying pan and heat until just melted. Add the shallot mixture and pancetta to the pan and cook, stirring, for 5min until heated through. Add the sprouts, season and cook for a further 3-4min until heated through.
210cals, 17g fat (of which 10g saturates), 8g carbs per serving
Get ahead: Make the recipe up to the end of step 3, cool quickly and chill for up to two days. Complete the recipe from step 4.
• 900g (2lb) chipolatas, twisted and halved, or cocktail sausages • 2 raw baby beetroot, peeled and thickly sliced • 4 baby aubergines, cut into chunks • 1 small red apple, quartered, cored and cut into chunky wedges • 2 garlic cloves, crushed • Juice of 1/2 lemon • 1tbsp freshly chopped thyme • 2tbsp olive oil • 225g (8oz) chestnut mushrooms, halved • 150g (5oz) cooked and peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped (we used Merchant Gourmet, £1.99 for a 200g pack)
1 Preheat oven to 200¡C (180¡C fan) mark 6. Put sausages into a small roasting tin and roast for 30min until golden.
2 Meanwhile, put the beetroot, aubergine, apple and garlic into another roasting tin. Pour over lemon juice, scatter over thyme and drizzle with oil. Season, stir and roast for 20min.
3 Add the mushrooms, chestnuts and sausages to the vegetables. Roast for 20min until the vegetables are tender and the sausages are golden brown.
390cals, 27g fat (of which 13g saturates), 24g carbs per serving
Get ahead: Make the winter roasted vegetables recipe up to the end of step 2. Cool quickly and chill for up to two days, then complete the recipe.
Put the turkey giblets, 1 thickly sliced carrot, 1 quartered onion, 1 thickly sliced celery stick, 8 black peppercorns and 2 bay leaves in a pan with 900ml (11/2 pints) cold water. Cover and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2hr, occasionally skimming any scum from the surface. Cool and strain, discarding giblets, vegetables and herbs, then cover and chill for up to a day.
Port Wine Gravy
Hands-on time: 5min; cooking time: 7min; serves 8
• Juices from the turkey pan • 40g (11/2oz) plain flour • 150ml (1/4 pint) ruby port • 900ml (11/2 pints) turkey stock (see recipe, above) • 2tbsp redcurrant jelly
1 While the turkey is resting after roasting, carefully pour off as much visible fat as you can into a jug (discard later, once it has cooled), leaving the dark brown juices in the roasting tin. Put the tin directly on the hob and heat for 30sec, then whisk in the flour. Gradually pour in the port and bubble for 1min.
2 Whisk again to check for lumps, then pour in the turkey stock, scraping up the bits from the base of the tin as you go. Bring to the boil, then add the jelly and simmer for 5min. Season and keep warm until ready to serve.
60cals, 2g fat (of which trace saturates), 7g carbs per serving
Cranberry and Red Onion Marmalade
Hands-on time: 10min, plus chilling; cooking time: 1hr 5min; serves 8 with leftovers
• 2tbsp olive oil • 500g (1lb 2oz) red onions, sliced • Juice of 1 orange • 1tbsp pickling spice • 150g (5oz) dark muscovado sugar • 150ml (1/4 pint) ruby port • 450g (1lb) fresh cranberries
1 Heat oil in a pan and gently fry onions for 5min. Add the orange juice, spice, sugar and port and simmer gently for 40min.
2 Add the cranberries and cook over a medium heat for 20min. Cool and serve at room temperature.
110cals, 2g fat (of which trace saturates), 20g carbs per serving
Get ahead: Complete the recipe. Cool quickly and chill for up to two days.
1 Stud the onion with the cloves. Put into a small pan with the bay leaf and add the milk. Gently heat on the lowest setting for 15min to let the flavours infuse.
2 Take pan off heat and discard the onion and cloves, then add the breadcrumbs and butter and season.
3 Stir in the crème fraîche and capers.
170cals, 10g fat (of which 4g saturates), 15g carbs per serving
Get ahead: Make the recipe up to the end of step 2, then cool, cover and chill for up to two days. Reheat gently for 5-10min in a pan over a medium heat or on High in the microwave for 2min (based on a 900W oven) then complete the recipe from step 3.
Hands-on time: 30min, plus soaking; cooking time: 4-8hr (each pudding); makes two 900g (2lb) puddings that each serve 8
• 150g (5oz) each currants, raisins and sultanas • 150g (5oz) each dates and prunes, roughly chopped • 1 carrot, grated • 100ml (31/2 fl oz) each Grand Marnier and Guinness • Zest and juice of 1 orange • 175g (6oz) butter, plus extra to grease • 175g (6oz) molasses sugar • 3 medium eggs, beaten • 75g (3oz) self-raising flour, sifted • 1tbsp ground mixed spice • 150g (5oz) fresh white breadcrumbs • 75g (3oz) blanched almonds, toasted and chopped • 50g (2oz) pecans, toasted and chopped
1 Put the currants in a bowl and add the raisins, sultanas, dates, prunes and carrot. Pour in the alcohol and orange juice and leave to soak for 1hr.
2 Put butter, sugar and orange zest into a bowl and, using a wooden spoon or an electric handheld mixer, cream for 5min until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs, adding a little flour if they start to curdle.
3 Sift together flour and mixed spice. Use a large metal spoon to fold flour, spice, breadcrumbs and nuts into the creamed mixture.
4 Add the soaked fruit and alcohol to the mixture and stir to combine ... Remember to make a wish! Grease two 1 litre (13/4 pint) pudding basins and line each with a 40.5cm (16in) square piece of muslin.
5 Divide the mixture between the lined basins. Flatten the surface of each pudding, gather the muslin up and over the top, then twist and secure with string. (The puddings can sit overnight in a cool place before being cooked.)
6 To steam: put pudding in the top of a steamer filled with simmering water and cook for 8hr, topping up water as necessary. To boil: put pudding on a trivet in a large pan, add boiling water to come half way up side of bowl, cover and simmer for 6hr, topping up water as necessary. Remove the pudding from pan and cool in the bowl. Remove from bowl. Wrap in clingfilm, still in its muslin, and a double layer of foil. Store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
353cals, 15g fat (of which 11g saturates), 49g carbs per serving
How to reheat the Christmas pudding: Steam the pudding for 2hr, in the original bowl, topping up the water every 40min.
How to flambé the pudding: Unwrap the pudding and put on a serving plate. Put 25ml (1fl oz) Cognac into a small ladle and hold directly over a gas or electric hob. Wait until it ignites then carefully pour over the pudding. Serve immediately with Cognac and crème fraîche ice-cream (see recipe, below).
Cognac and Crème Fraîche Ice-Cream
Hands-on time: 5min, plus freezing; serves 8
• 500g tub full-fat crème fraîche • 175g (6oz) golden icing sugar, sifted • 4tbsp special reserve Cognac
1 Line a 450g (1lb) loaf tin with clingfilm. Whisk the crème fraîche, icing sugar and Cognac together - it will become thin, but continue whisking until it thickens slightly. Pour into the prepared tin, cover and freeze for up to a month. The ice-cream goes brilliantly with Christmas pudding, as an alternative to the traditional brandy butter.
340cals, 25g fat (of which 17g saurates), 25g carbs per serving.