Get ahead with Cooked authors: Sarah Raven, Nathan Outlaw, James Martin & Richard Burr

By
The Editor
Added
15 December, 2016

Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of the looming festivities? Never fear, there’s a host of authors right here who are ready to help you.

Sarah Raven prepares in advance
I have come to realise, that there are several stages to a good Christmas and first comes a long gentle build up, time to put my larder in order and get ahead. If you’re the host, the more you can get done in advance the better. Make your stuffing beforehand and freeze it. Apple and black pudding stuffing is delicious with goose or duck; Pecan, apple and celery stuffing goes well with turkey. You can get ahead and freeze Bread sauce too. Some dishes, such as my Cranberry and orange compote can be made at the last minute, but the flavours mix and deepen with a bit of storing, so try to make it at least two weeks before Christmas. 



Richard Burr bakes
There’s still plenty of time to make your cake if you’ve not done it already – my Christmas cake recipe does benefit from being made a few weeks in advance, but also works just fine if you’ve left it to the last minute.  I also like to make my own Mincemeat now ready for the endless supply of mince pies. I love them hot and slathered in brandy and double cream. You can buy a regular jar of mincemeat instead, but I do urge you to try it if you have time. Chocolate orange biscotti dunkers keep really well for at least a fortnight in a tin. They work really well with festive flavours - try whole nuts in them; hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds or pecans;  dried fruit; or even replace the cocoa powder with flour and incorporate spices to zing them up a bit. 


Nathan Outlaw does stress-free entertaining
Pick a dinner-party dish that is versatile and you can adapt it to suit any number of guests. My Fish pie for example, just double or triple the ingredients for a crowd. Consider the wine - what you serve for guests deserves a little bit of forward thinking too. When picking a wine to go with a dish with several fish in it, plus vegetables etc, then try and match the flavour of your wine to the strongest flavour of the dish. But consider how it will pair with the mildest flavour too. 


James Martin makes sweet treats
Homemade treats can be served as an alternative to a traditional pudding, enjoyed in front of your favourite Christmas movie or given to someone special as a gift. I’m a fan of making Chocolate truffles – it saves buying them and means you can flavour the truffles with whatever you wish. And Honeycomb is a doddle to make at home, watch the bubbles react with the bicarb for an impromptu kitchen chemistry lesson if making it with the family.  



For more festive inspiration check out Christmas entertaining made easy, with Sarah Raven, Have yourself a merry eco Christmas


The festive bakes our team tried

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