It’s December again and how quickly do the months roll by! It’s 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 like to look for a bit of a twist to liven up my vegetables, especially on Christmas Day. Of course they can be used all year round and 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)! 

Merry Christmas Everyone

Buen Apetito  

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.

Honey Roasted Parsnips

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

Preheat oven to 190ºC/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 tsp sea salt 
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper 
  • 4 tblsp fresh lemon juice 
  • 4 tblsp pine nuts 
  • 70g blue cheese, crumbled 

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/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 preheated oven or until sprouts are 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/chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 500g gnocchi
  • 200g asparagus 
  • 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 190º 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 (2¼lb) potatoes, peeled and cut into thick chunks 
  • 3 tbsp beef dripping (or vegetable oil if preferred) 
  • 2 tblsp flour 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tsp turmeric 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 200ºC/Gas mark 6. 

Cook potatoes for 8-10 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 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 550g shredded red cabbage 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 2 tart apples – peeled, cored and sliced 
  • 2 tbsp water 
  • 1½ tsp salt 
  • Ground black pepper to taste 
  • 3 tbsp sugar 
  • 3 tbsp 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.