It’s December again and Christmas time in the kitchen for all us cooks! Time to bring out the stuffing recipes, make the mince pies and cover everything in alcohol! While my family really enjoys the traditional Turkey with all its trimmings, I look for a bit of a twist here and there.

One year I did all sugar-free desserts for my diabetic husband, while another year I looked at what to do with the leftover Turkey. This year I decided to try and find some recipes to liven up my vegetables on Christmas Day, but of course they can be used all year round. The lemon carrot recipe is a firm favourite with our Sunday roast and gives the carrots a lovely glaze (not to mention another use for my endless supply of lemons)!

Buen Apetito

Honey Roasted Parsnips

125ml warm water
175g honey
Tablespoon melted butter
5 parsnips, peeled and cubed

Preheat oven to 190 C / Gas 5. Stir together water, butter and honey in a large bowl until the honey has dissolved. Add the parsnips and toss to coat. Transfer the parsnips and honey sauce into a 23x30cm or similar sized baking dish.

Bake uncovered in preheated oven until the parsnips are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Brussel Sprouts with Pine Nuts and Blue Cheese

90g Brussels sprouts (ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed)
115g butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons pine nuts
70g blue cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.

Place the Brussels sprouts into a casserole dish. Arrange pieces of butter on top of the sprouts. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Cover with the lid.

Bake for 25 minutes in the pre-heated oven or until sprouts are just barely tender. Stir now and then to keep them from sticking. During the last 10 minutes, sprinkle the pine nuts over the sprouts and remove the lid. When the sprouts are done, sprinkle blue cheese over them before serving.

Gnocchi and Asparagus in Sage and Lemon Butter

80g salted butter
2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of fresh sage
1 lemon
Salt and pepper
500g gnocchi
50g Parmesan grated

Boil a large pan of salted water. Meanwhile heat a frying pan and add the butter. Add garlic and sage and cook for 1 minute. Add lemon juice and zest and seasoning. Remove from heat. Place gnocchi and asparagus into boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes until the gnocchi rises to the top of the water. Strain well and gently tip into frying pan and gently toss together without reheating. Serve with sprinkled Parmesan.

Leek and Parsnip Bake

350g parsnips (cubed)
350g leeks (chopped)
1tbsp olive oil
3 eggs separated
2tbsp plain flour
225g low-fat soft cheese
Salt and pepper

Boil parsnips in water until tender and drain and mash. Heat the oil and cook leeks until tender. Add half the leeks to the parsnips, stir in the flour and then the egg yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff and then add to the mixture. Spread the mixture in a tin and bake on 190 degrees for 25 minutes. Stir the remaining leeks into the soft cheese and heat up. Add seasoning to taste. When the bake is cooked remove from the oven and spread the leek/cheese mixture over the top. Serve either hot or cold.

Crisp Roast Potatoes

1kg (2 1/4 lb) potatoes, peeled and cut into thick chunks
3 tablespoons beef dripping (or vegetable oil if preferred)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas mark 6.

Cook potatoes for 8 to 10 minutes in a large pot of boiling water.

Place dripping or oil in a preheated roasting tin until almost smoking.

Drain potatoes and return to pot. Sprinkle with the flour, turmeric, oregano, salt and pepper. Place a lid on the pot and shake vigorously so that potatoes are covered in the flour and spice mixture. Place in the roasting tin and toss to coat in the hot fat. Roast for about 40 minutes.

Celeriac and Potato Mash

250g potatoes
400g celeriac
250ml single cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring salted water in a large saucepan or pot to the boil.
Peel and dice the potatoes and celeriac.
Add the potatoes and celeriac to the boiling water and cook for about 30 minutes or until tender.
Drain well, mash, then stir in the cream.
Season and serve!
Red Cabbage and Apple
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
550g shredded red cabbage
1 onion, chopped
2 tart apples – peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar

Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir in cabbage and onion; fry until wilted. Stir in apple and water, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer about 25 minutes.

Pour vinegar and sugar into the mixture while tasting for desired sweet and sour taste. Cook another 5 to 6 minutes.

Lemon Carrots

4 Carrots, peeled and chopped
20g butter
Juice of 2 lemons

Steam carrots until just cooked and still firm. Melt butter and add the lemon juice. Toss the carrots in the butter mix and serve immediately.