Christmas dinner: Dressing up the accompaniments

Hours upon hours of preparation are dedicated to creating the perfect Christmas dinner. The turkey has the starring role but every other element on the plate deserves care and attention to bring the whole dinner to life.

Christmas dinner veg

Christmas dinner veg

Sprucing up sprouts

Love or loathe them, Brussels sprouts are an essential part of any Christmas dinner. Personally I am a fan and this is how I cook my Brussels.

Remove the outer layers and cut a cross into the top of the sprouts and par boil for five minutes.

Melt a knob of butter in an oven proof dish and add a few slices of streaky bacon cut into small strips and 1/4 of an onion, diced.

Place the dish into a hot oven at 200 degrees and when the bacon has started to colour transfer the sprouts to the dish, season and roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cumin carrots

Cut and boil the carrots in vegetable stock, Knorr stock pots are my current favourite.

Once the carrots have softened, drain and mash.

In a separate saucepan melt some butter and add around 5-7 crushed cumin seeds. Fry off gently for a couple minutes while the butter melts.

Season and add the cumin and melted butter to the mixture and serve.

Cumin carrots and roasted baby potatoes

Cumin carrots and roasted baby potatoes

Crispy roast potatoes

I believe Gordon Ramsey started the craze for goose fat roast potatoes.

Tubs of goose fat flew off supermarket shelves in the run up to Christmas a few years back and those with regular roasties felt they were missing out.

While it leaves the potatoes golden and crisp, goose fat doesn’t really do it for me. In my opinion the taste is quite strong and over powering, especially when served as part of Christmas dinner with many competing flavours.

Call me old fashioned but I prefer to use a mixture of butter and olive oil.

Peel as many potatoes as you need and try to cut them into similar sizes. Par boil the potatoes for 10 minutes, then in an oven tray melt roughly 10 grams of butter mixed with a few drops of olive oil. Place in the oven to let the butter melt.

In a colander shake the potatoes to rough up the edges. Transfer the potatoes to an oven dish, season and coat well with the butter and oil.

Roast the potatoes in the oven for one hour or until they are golden and crisp and if you are feeling fancy, sprinkle on some chopped parsley to garnish.

If (like me) you get lumbered with the ‘donkey work’ on Christmas morning and want to avoid peeling a mountain of potatoes for roasties and mash, baby potatoes roasted in the oven using the above method are just as tasty.

There is no need to peel or par boil and they roast in 30-40 minutes.

Honey roasted parsnips

Peel and cut parsnips into long pieces, wash and place on a baking tray. Coat the parsnips with honey and olive oil, roughly a few drops of each and season.

Roast in the oven until the parsnips are golden, this takes about 20-30 minutes.

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