Vegetable and potatoes for the perfect Christmas dinner

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Braised red cabbage

No Christmas dinner party is complete without red cabbage!! This is such a versatile recipe. It eats well with the turkey for Christmas dinner but can also be used with duck, venison, goose, roast pork with crackling or my personal favourite glazed ham, red cabbage and piccalilli on Boxing day.
Because the red cabbage is pickled it will keep for a couple of months in a sterilised kilner jar in the fridge. It is worth making extra to have at hand, just in case, like me once you make it you will not be able to get enough.....


1 large red cabbage, shredded
1tblsp sea salt
1bottle of red wine
250ml red wine vinegar
50g brown sugar
50g red currant jelly
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 juniper berries
2 sprigs of thyme, chopped


Toss the cabbage in the sea salt, cover with cling film and leave to go limp in the fridge over night. Rinse well and drain.
Place the remaining ingredients into a large pot and bring to the boil, add the cabbage and turn down the heat to a simmer, leave to simmer for 1 hour, stirring all the time, remove from the heat and strain of any excess liquid. Place the cabbage into a container and pour over a little of the liquid, cool and store in the fridge for a couple of days to allow the flavours to develop.

Brussels Sprouts with chestnuts and bacon


250g cooked and peeled chestnuts    
400g Brussels sprouts, peeled of outer leaves and crossed at the bottom        
1tblsp olive oil       
160g streaky bacon, cut into thin strips 
50g butter  
3 cloves garlic, crushed     
200ml chicken stock


Cook the sprouts in plenty of boiling, salted water for 3mins. Drain and refresh in iced cold water. Drain again and squeeze dry making sure that as much water is removed from the sprout as possible. Cut the sprouts in half lengthways.
Heat the olive oil in a non stick frying pan, add the bacon and cooked until lightly golden and crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and add the butter to the pan. When the butter starts to foam add the garlic and stir for 1min. add the chestnuts and cook for 5mins in the butter until they are golden, add the sprouts and bacon and season to taste. Add the stock, cover with a lid or tin foil and simmer over medium heat for 3-4mins or until the sprouts are tender but still a little firm to the bite.

Dauphionise Potatoes


2kg potatoes, peeled
2ltrs milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
600ml double cream
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
200g butter, cut into small pieces


Slice the potatoes thinly, place in a saucepan, and pour over the milk and season with the salt and pepper and half of the crushed garlic. Cook over a low heat until the milk is almost absorbed.

Rub a large tray with the remainder of the garlic and arrange the potatoes in the tray cover the potatoes with the cream, sprinkle with nutmeg and dot the surface with the butter.
Cook in the oven at 170c for 1- a quarter hours, increasing the heat a little towards the end of cooking time to brown the top.

Roast Potatoes

This is the way my mum made her roast potatoes and I love this method. By boiling the potatoes first and shaking them in the pan, you create rough edges that will turn extremly crispy when roasted and will be a welcome addition to the perfect Christmas dinner.
Any flavour combination can be added to the potatoes as they roast or if you’re a traditionalist, just duck fat, salt and pepper will be fine.  


1kg Maris piper potatoes, cut in half or quarters if large
100g duck fat
1 garlic head, cloves separated
1 rosemary leaves


Preheat oven to 200C. Place potatoes in a large saucepan of cold salted water, bring to the boil over high heat and cook until just starting to soften (8-10 minutes), drain immediately and return to saucepan. Shake pan vigorously to roughen edges of potato.

Heat duck fat in oven in a roasting pan large enough to hold potatoes in a single layer until very hot (4-5 minutes). Add potatoes, garlic and rosemary to pan, shake carefully to coat in duck fat, season generously and roast until dark golden and crisp (25-30 minutes), serve immediately.

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