The Essential Guide To...

The Essential Guide To... The Essential Guide To…Stress-Free Christmas

The Essential Guide to… is a unique magazine series that gives you everything you need to know about the world of food, all year round. Every issue is full of inspiration, top tips and the best recipes for cooking and entertaining. Each one tried, tested and tasted to perfection.

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10 Numeri

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3 min
make friends with the freezer

Many sauces, vegetable dishes, pies and cakes can be made in advance to ensure that you’re not rushing around like a headless turkey on Christmas Day. Once you’ve made things ahead or done the prep, you can either leave them in the fridge for a day or two, or freeze them for longer if needed. Just make sure you fully defrost all frozen food in the fridge overnight before reheating thoroughly. Turkey A fresh turkey will keep, wrapped, in the fridge for up to 3 days. To freeze, wrap in a couple of layers of clingfilm, then two layers of foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Gravy You can make a gravy base in advance, then chill it for 3 days or freeze it for up to 1 month. Make stock from the…

10 min
make-at-home gifts

Chocolate snowballs These sweet and crunchy chocolate biscuits make a fabulous festive treat. You can replace the pecans with hazelnuts, macadamias or almonds Makes 50 Prep time 35 mins, plus chilling overnight Cooking time 20 mins, plus cooling • 60g dark chocolate, chopped• 125g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing• 370g soft brown sugar• 2 medium free-range eggs• 1 tsp vanilla extract• 80ml milk• 340g plain flour• 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder• 2 tsp baking powder• ¼ tsp ground allspice• 85g chopped pecans• Icing sugar, for coating 1 Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, stirring occasionally. 2 Using an electric hand whisk, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs,…

8 min
let’s get started

Salmon blini stack This is a beautiful centrepiece. And as it’s not served hot, you can layer it up ahead of time Serves 6-8 Prep time 45 mins, plus resting Cooking time 16 mins, plus cooling You’ll need… 22cm non-stick frying pan (measured across the base) • 35g buckwheat flour• 75g strong white flour• 1 tsp fine salt• ½ tsp easy-blend yeast• 100g crème fraîche• 140ml whole milk• 1 large free-range egg, separated• Sunflower oil for frying For the filling and decoration • 340g full-fat cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)• 3 tbsp hot horseradish sauce• Handful each fresh parsley, dill and mint, leaves picked and finely chopped• 2 tbsp capers• 240g smoked salmon slices• Salmon caviar and grated lemon zest to serve 1 For the blinis, sift the flours and salt into a bowl. Stir in the…

9 min
5 festive canapés

1 Mushroom & mozzarella arancini Make the mushroom risotto the day before, then finish just before serving with our ginger Champagne cocktail (p23) Makes 24 Prep time 30 mins, plus chilling Cooking time 45-55 mins • 50g unsalted butter• 200g mixed mushrooms such as chestnut, girolles, sliced• 750ml fresh vegetable stock, hot• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed• 125g risotto rice (carnaroli)• 75ml dry white wine• 3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked• 25g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated• 75g mozzarella, cut into very small cubes• 2 medium free-range eggs• 100g crispy breadcrumbs such as panko• 50g plain flour• Vegetable oil for deep-frying 1 Heat half the butter in a large frying pan. When sizzling, add the mushrooms and season. Fry, without turning, for 2-3 mins until golden, then toss and fry until evenly golden and…

5 min
mince pies & more

Quick mincemeat Make this about a month before you need it so that it develops a good depth of flavour. If you need more, just double the recipe Makes 1.125kg (3 x 375g jars) Prep time about 20 mins • 110g sultanas• 170g raisins• 170g currants• 170g Bramley apples, grated• 110g suet (vegetable or beef)• 200g soft brown sugar• 100g finely chopped mixed peel• 65g blanched, chopped almonds• ½ tbsp mixed spice• Grated zest and juice of 1 orange• Large splash of brandy 1 In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together all the mincemeat ingredients using a wooden spoon. 2 Wash some clean jars in warm soapy water, rinse and dry in a low oven to sterilise (about 110°C). Let them cool before filling. 3 Spoon the mincemeat into the sterilised jars and seal…

1 min
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