Nigel Slater’s 5 recipes for the festive season | Life and magnificence


Tright here is far to have fun within the kitchen. The festive partnership of meat and fruits (suppose fruit-speckled stuffing for the turkey, roast goose and apple sauce); the sensible inexperienced and gold of brussels sprouts and candy potatoes; the once-a-year decadence of sozzled Yuletide puddings and fruitcakes.

The Big Meal, whether or not you’re carving turkey, goose or a basic nut roast, is just about non-negotiable for many of us, however there are such a lot of different meals during which to have fun the flavours of the season. The recipes popping out of my kitchen this month have, at their coronary heart, the essence of Christmas. And, although they’re meant for every single day, every could be joyful to discover a place on the Christmas desk.

Scallops with jerusalem artichokes and hazelnuts

Jerusalem artichokes and scallops are very joyful in one another’s firm.(They work nicely as a soup too. The grilled seafood positioned within the centre of the soup like sunken treasure.) You may make a purée of the tubers if you want, however by cooking them in a bit butter as I do right here, you get some deep toasty notes happening. The chervil will not be important. Should it stay elusive, because it so usually does, then a bit tarragon will work wonders.

Serves 3-6
lemon 1
jerusalem artichokes 250g
butter 90g
hazelnuts a big handful
clementine 1
scallops 6
chervil a number of sprigs

Have prepared a bowl of chilly water into which you might have squeezed half of the lemon. Peel the jerusalem artichokes, slice them as thinly as attainable, then put them within the acidulated water.

Melt half of the butter in a shallow pan over a low to reasonable warmth. Pat the artichokes dry utilizing a paper towel then add them, in a single layer, to the butter. Let the artichokes prepare dinner till each bit has softened and is pale gold in color. Turn with kitchen tongs and brown the opposite aspect then switch to a heat plate and put aside.

In a dry, shallow pan, toast the hazelnuts until golden brown then take away and roughly chop them. Finely grate the zest from the clementine.

Melt the remaining butter within the pan (in case you are utilizing the artichoke pan, wipe the pan first with a paper towel then add the brand new butter). When the butter begins to fizz add the scallops, prepare dinner for 1 minute then flip and proceed to prepare dinner for an extra minute or 2 until opaque and their edges are pale gold. Squeeze the remaining lemon into the pan, add the hazelnuts, chervil and a light-weight seasoning of salt.

Divide the artichokes, scallops and hazelnuts between six sizzling dishes (or 3 in case you are serving 2 per particular person), add the butter from the pan, the chervil and the clementine zest and serve instantly.

Winter leaf salad with feta cream

Winter leaf salad with feta cream.

Winter leaf salad with feta cream. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

The bitter and earthy leaves appear to return into their very own in winter, working nicely with walnuts, apples, pears and different seasonal pleasures. I like their bitterness with salty creamy cheeses.

Serves 4
small leaves of rainbow chard 200g
radiccio or different chicory 100g
celery 1 stick
sprouted seeds corresponding to crimson amarynth, beetroot or radish

For the dressing
olive oil 2 tbsp
white wine vinegar 1 tbsp
dijon mustard ½ tsp

For the feta cream
parsley 2 tbsp, roughly chopped
feta cheese 200g
pure yogurt 200g
walnut halves 24

Shred the chard stems into matchsticks, eradicating the leaves as you go. Put the stems in a big bowl, tear up the leaves and add them to the stems, discarding any which are lower than tender. Break the chicory into particular person leaves and add them to the chard. Finely slice the celery and mix with the leaves.

Mix the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and a bit salt and pepper collectively. You can beat the combination with a fork or small whisk, or shake the components collectively in a jam jar. Pour the dressing over the leaves and put aside.

Put the chopped parsley in a mixing bowl. Crumble the feta cheese into the parsley, then gently fold within the yogurt. Season with black pepper, no salt. Toast the walnut halves in a dry pan till they’re golden and aromatic.

Divide the salad leaves between 4 plates, add a big spoonful of the creamed feta then a handful of the sprouted seeds and the toasted walnuts.

Polpettone puddings with guanciale and prunes

Polpetonne puddings with guanciale and prunes.

Polpetonne puddings with guanciale and prunes. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

Much festive flavour right here. The guanciale, the cured cheeks and jowl of the pig, is value in search of out – its aromatic fats melts and retains the little puddings deliciously moist. If you may’t get it (Italian grocers are looking floor), double up on the pancetta.

Serves 4
onions 4, medium
olive oil 3 tbsp
fennel seeds 1 tbsp
guanciale 150g, thinly sliced
pancetta 150g, in a single piece
prunes 100g, stoned, semi-dried
minced pork 450g
floor mace ½ tsp

For the sauce
pumpkin 1kg
cranberries 100g
butter 30g

You will want 4 metal pudding moulds or ramekins, every holding 250ml.

Peel the onions and chop them very finely. Warm the olive oil in a shallow pan, add the onions and fennel seeds and allow them to prepare dinner over a medium warmth till they’ve turn into smooth and translucent. Cut the guanciale into small items and the pancetta into small cubes. Shred the prunes. Preheat the oven to 200C/gasoline mark 6.

Put the guanciale, pancetta and prunes in a mixing bowl, then add the minced pork and softened onions. Season with salt and pepper and the bottom mace. Mix all the things collectively. (I discover this best with my fingers.)

Cut 4 small circles of baking parchment to suit the bottom of every of the pudding moulds. Lightly oil the edges then divide the combination between the 4. They shall be fairly full.

Pour sizzling water right into a roasting tin – you want the water to be deep sufficient to return half of approach up the edges of the puddings. Wrap each in clingfilm, then decrease into the water. Place fastidiously within the oven and bake for 45 minutes till agency to the contact.

To make the sauce, peel the pumpkin and minimize into chunks, put right into a saucepan with 300mls of water and produce to the boil. Lower the warmth to a simmer and prepare dinner for 15-20 minutes till the pumpkin may be very smooth. Process to a easy purée utilizing a meals processor or stick blender. Season with salt and black pepper then return to the pan, add the cranberries and butter then simmer for five minutes. Lightly crush the berries in opposition to the aspect of the pan with a spoon.

Remove the puddings from the oven, take away the movie, flip them out onto 4 plates then spoon over the pumpkin and cranberry sauce.

Sweet potato, brussels sprouts and rosemary

Sweet potato, brussels sprouts and rosemary.

Sweet potato, brussels sprouts and rosemary. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

An accompaniment, however 1 I might be joyful to function a principal dish.

Serves 6 as a aspect dish, 3 as a foremost
candy potatoes 500g
brussels sprouts 200g
rosemary 5 sprigs
parmesan 100g
butter 50g
olive oil 2 tbsp

Peel the candy potatoes then coarsely grate them. Trim and finely shred the sprouts. They ought to ideally be no thicker than a pound coin. Remove the leaves from the rosemary sprigs and finely chop them. Grate the parmesan. Set the oven at 200C/gasoline mark 6.

Melt the butter in a shallow pan over a reasonable warmth, then pour within the oil. Cook the grated candy potatoes for 4-5 minutes, till they begin to soften. Remove from the warmth and mix with the chopped rosemary and shredded sprouts, then season with 75g of the grated parmesan and a few black pepper.

Line a baking sheet, about 20cm x 30cm, with baking parchment, then tip within the softened candy potatoes and sprouts and easy flat. Dust the remaining grated cheese excessive and bake for 30-35 minutes till the floor is golden and evenly crisp.

Divide into six items and serve.

Meringue, persimmon and sizzling mincemeat parfait

Meringue, persimmon and hot mincemeat parfait.

Meringue, persimmon and sizzling mincemeat parfait. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

A fast fruit and cream dessert for a winter’s day. As there’s already sufficient to do at the moment of yr, I take advantage of shop-bought meringues, although you would, after all, make your personal.

Serves 4
double cream 250ml
meringues 150g
cinnamon a pinch
persimmons 1 massive, ripe
mincemeat 250g
brandy a splash

In a big, chilled mixing bowl, whip the cream until simply thick. Stop earlier than it’s agency sufficient to face in peaks. Crumble the meringues into the cream. Then add the merest pinch of floor cinnamon.

Peel the persimmon if you want (I typically don’t discover it obligatory), and slice into thick rounds after which into quarters. Add to the cream and meringue then gently fold the components collectively.

Put the mincemeat in a small saucepan, pour within the brandy and produce to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes. Spoon the meringue and cream into dishes, then spoon over the new mincemeat.

Nigel Slater from

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