Once your children leave home and marry and start their own families, they are basically starting from scratch. They do take some of what their mothers taught them with them, but they are starting out alone and have to find their feet.
Christmas is a special time and every new bride wants to cook a Christmas dinner for her family. I know I did, but where does one begin? I remember my poor mother slaving over the hot stove to fill our Christmas table with the most delicious things to eat. The thought of cooking my first Christmas dinner was rather daunting; there were so many things to do. I panicked about the timing; about getting all the food out at the same time at a nice hot temperature; about how to the make a gravy and so many other aspects of the meal. With hindsight, it’s all about time really and that comes with trial and error.
I have recently acquired a copy of Jamie Oliver’s ‘Christmas Cookbook’…how that would have solved all my problems back then.
Jamie’s ‘Christmas Cookbook’ is packed with all the classics you need for the big day and beyond, as well as loads of delicious recipes for edible gifts, party food and new ways to love those leftovers. It’s everything you need for the best Christmas ever.
From Smart Starters to The Main Event, there are chapters on Veggie and Vegan Plates. Then there is The Wonderful World of Potatoes and Scrumptious Vegetables; Gravy, Sauces and all the Trimmings; Incredible Leftovers; Afternoon Tea and Sweet Treats; and Cute Edible Gifts.
Other sections include Super-Fantastic Salads and Dips; Bites and Handheld Nibbles, which get washed down with Perfect Christmas Drinks.
For beginners there is a Guide to Roasting Meat.
Jamie says: “I’ve got all the bases covered with everything you need for the big day and any feasting meals over the festive period, as well as party fare, edible gifts, teatime treats, cocktails and of
course, exciting ways to embrace and celebrate those leftovers.
“You’ll also find all the deeply important technical info you need, such as cooking charts, and wherever possible, I’ve designed the recipes to be cooked at the same oven temperature, so you can be efficient with time and oven space, and it’ll be super-easy for you to mix and match the different elements and build your own perfect Christmas meal.”
I particularly like the recipe for his classic mince pies. They contain butternut squash, almonds and maple syrup, all encased in a delicious flaky pastry. They freeze well and can be baked from frozen. You have to try the Banoffee Alaska.
“I haven’t held back,” he says. “This book is the greatest hits, all wrapped up in one Christmas parcel, and I hope you have fun looking through, picking your recipes, and building your own plan. Have a good one my friends.”
Jamie started cooking at his parents’ pub, The Cricketers, in Clavering, Essex, at the age of eight. After leaving school he began a career as a chef that took him to the River Café, where he was famously spotted by a television production company.
His television and publishing career began in 1999 with ‘The Naked Chef’ series. Since then he has set up fifteen restaurants in London, changed school dinners in the UK and revolutionized home cooking. His charity, The Jamie Oliver Foundation, seeks to improve people’s lives through food.
He writes for publications in the UK and around the world, including his own Jamie Magazine. Jamie lives in London and Essex with his wife Jools and their children.
Published by Penguin Books, the book retails for around R590.
This lovely book will be handed down in the family. It has everything you need to make Christmas special and memorable, so go and get one.