Christmas Dinner. It can be bloody stressful but we’re here to help. In the spirit of Christmas, our Girl About Blog Squad have kindly passed on their recipes, helping you make the Ultimate Christmas Dinner. No need to scour your cookbooks (or Google), we’ve got all you need right here!

 

Christmas Cocktails – Girl About York

Cooking really isn’t my strong point (I can burn water) so I’m leaving all the Christmas culinary wizardry to my Girl About team mates whilst I crack on with the festive cocktails.  Now cocktails, and drinking them, I AM good at! 

Forget the sherry, Christmas day calls for extra special tipples to kick start the festivities in fine form.  Here are some Christmas cocktail ideas to knock everyone’s novelty reindeer socks off.  

Christmas Dinner 

Click Here for Charlotte's Cocktail Recipes

 

Jingle Bell-ini 

This is a very pretty but simple pre-Christmas dinner Aperitif. 

You will need: 

  • Prosecco 
  • Cranberry juice 
  • Grenadine 

Method:

1. Crack open the Prosecco and have a glass to yourself.  Hey, it’s Christmas after all!

2. Stop drinking all the Prosecco and start making the cocktails.

3. Fill a third of a Champagne flute with cranberry juice.

4. Add a dash of Grenadine and stir.  The Grenadine takes the bitterness off the cranberry juice and makes for a beautiful colour.

5. Top up the glass with Prosecco by pouring it slowly over a spoon to create a layered effect.

6. Garnish with some red current berries or anything pretty and festive you can get your hands on.  Feel free to raid the Christmas decorations. 

 

White Christmas 

If you really want to outdo the traditional eggnog, then try this indulgent little number.  I mean, is it even Christmas if you’ve not got the Baileys out? 

You will need: 

  • Baileys 
  • Vanilla vodka 
  • Butterscotch sauce 
  • Cream soda 
  • Whipped cream 
  • Digestive biscuits

Method:

1. Sample the Baileys for quality checking purposes.

2. Once satisfied it meets the required standard, move on to step 3.

3. Pour 25ml of Baileys and 45ml of vanilla vodka into a cocktail shaker.  If you don’t have a shaker, just use a jar with a lid.

4. Add 25ml of butterscotch sauce to the mix.  You can buy the sauce pre-made or if you want to channel your inner Nigella, here’s a recipe for a home-made version.

5. Throw in some ice cubes, fasten the lid on and shake vigorously.  That’s enough exercise done for the day.

6. Dig out your favourite cocktail glasses and pour the mixture in (straining out the ice cubes) until it fills about half the glass.

7. Top up the glass with cream soda, leaving a small gap to add the cream.

8. Artfully squirt whipped cream over the top of the cocktail.  If you’re feeling fancy, make your own whipped cream with a dash of Baileys.

9. Garnish with some crushed digestive biscuits.

10. Discreetly chop off a sprig of pine from the Christmas tree (whilst no one is looking).  Next best thing is to use rosemary which looks pretty similar.  Stick it into a raspberry and serve on the side for a festive flourish.

11. Put a photo of your masterpiece on Instagram for everyone to marvel at. 

Thank you so much to Cut & Chase York for helping me devise these Christmas tipples.  For some of the best cocktails in Yorkshire or one of their expert cocktail masterclasses, visit Cut & Chase at 39 Goodramgate, York YO1 7LS or for further details click here.

The Turkey – Girl About Yorkshire

This year I’ve got thirteen guests for Christmas Dinner. And a vegan. Safe to say, I’ve had to order a bloody big bird. I’ve ordered my turkey from Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton. It’s basically the Harrods of farmers markets and stocks everything you need for a proper local Christmas Dinner.  

Christmas Dinner

Click Here for Lyndsey's Fail-Proof Turkey Recipe

 

Here’s my go-to turkey recipe (with a little help from Delia).

Ingredients:

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • 6oz butter
  • 8oz bacon

Method:

1. Once you’ve bagged your bird, remove the giblets (or get someone else to do this for you).

2. Make sure you know how much your turkey weighs so you know how long to cook it for and take it out the fridge late Christmas Eve so it’ll be at room temperature by the morning.

3. Give it a good stuffing – check out Catherine’s recipe for some inspiration.

4. Spread about 6oz of butter all over the turkey, cover the breast in about 8oz of streaky bacon rashers then season with salt and pepper.

5. Place two large sheets of foil across your roasting tin, one widthways and the other lengthways, place your turkey in the tin and loosely wrap it. The parcel should be firmly sealed but with room for air to circulate around the turkey, creating ‘an oven within the oven’.

6. Place in a pre-heated oven at 220°C for 40 minutes – this initial blast is so that the heat gets right into the turkey and the stuffing very quickly. Then reduce the oven temperature to 170°C for 3½ hours (or however long your bird needs depending on weight).

7. Remove the turkey from the oven and take off the foil. Baste with the juices then increase the oven temperature to 200°C. Cook the uncovered turkey for a further 40 minutes.

8. After the final 40 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven. Pierce the thickest part of the leg with a skewer to check its fully cooked through.

9. Loosely wrap it back up in foil and allow it to rest for about 45 minutes before serving, plenty of time for you to cook everything else, lay the table, fill up drinks and pull the kids away from their new toys.

 

Chestnut Stuffing – Girl About Bradford

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nibbling at your toes … chestnuts for me mean Christmas. Apparently sweet chestnuts were brought to Britain by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago. But we seem to have lost the tradition of eating them except at Christmas, which is a shame because they’re gorgeous! When I lived in Italy chestnuts appeared throughout the autumn, there are even festivals dedicated to celebrating them. You’ll see a chestnut seller in every town roasting them over a brazier. Chestnuts go into soups, pastas, cakes and sweets.   

In my family we always have chestnut stuffing with the turkey on Christmas Day. It means Christmas Eve is spent with chestnuts just out of the oven, sitting by the fire, ruining your nails trying to prise them from their skins. If you want to save your nails, you can buy them ready peeled in tins or vacuum packed from most supermarkets. But if you’re after the real Christmas experience, I really recommend roasting them yourself and taking pride in your blistered fingers.

Christmas Dinner

Click Here for Catherine's Stuffing Recipe

The recipe below is my mum’s, taken from a long lost cookery book and like all proper family recipes is now based on approximate amounts and personal taste (that’s my excuse anyway). The first time I tried to make this was when my mum and dad were away for Christmas. The recipe just says add onions, but I thought surely you need to fry them in some butter first? Do NOT do this. I repeat, do NOT do this. The fried onions make the whole thing so sweet as to be repulsive and inedible. Done right, it tastes and smells just like Christmas.  

If you have any leftover chestnut stuffing (and you shouldn’t have it’s delicious), put it into a soup – Nigella’s Chestnut and Lentil soup is perfect hearty and healthy fare for Boxing Day recoveries.   

Ingredients: 

  • 400g chestnuts 
  • 1 onion 
  • 225g breadcrumbs 
  • knob of butter 
  • turkey stock 
  • 1 teaspoon each of fresh rosemary and parsley (you may want more I love rosemary) 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Method: 

1. Cut a cross into each chestnut along the roundest part  

2. Roast in a high oven for 20-30 minutes 

3. Peel off the skins while the chestnuts are still warm 

4. In a saucepan heat the chestnuts in a little turkey stock, enough to just cover, until the chestnuts soften 

5. Take off the heat and mash in some butter  

6. Add the breadcrumbs  

7. Grate an onion into the mix 

8. Season generously with salt and pepper, rosemary and parsley to taste 

9. Mix thoroughly and leave to cool  

10. Roast the stuffing mix either inside the turkey or in an ovenproof dish for 25 – 30 minutes until brown and crispy.  

 

Roast Potatoes – Girl About Harrogate

Christmas Dinner

For me, the success of Christmas Dinner stands or falls entirely on the roast potatoes. All other types of spud can trot on; boiled, mashed, creamed, dauphinoise….Christmas is all about the good old roastie. 

A good roast potato HAS to be crispy and golden on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I am a pretty harsh critic, having been raised in a household where a roast dinner was almost a religion every Sunday, cooked by my mother, who never once failed to deliver roast spud perfection.

Click Here for Sarah's Roasties

Ingredients: 

  • I usually use Maris Piper potatoes, but King Edward are also good.  
  • Goose or duck fat. 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 
  • Garlic cloves (as many as you want – I usually use a whole bulb) – unpeeled.

Method:

1. Peel your spuds and wash them in a little cold water to get rid of some of the starch. 

2. Chop into the size of potato you prefer. I usually cut them to roughly the size of a small satsuma. 

3. Put them in a pan of cold water on a high heat and bring to the boil. Boil for around 5-10 minutes. You don’t want your potatoes falling apart – if this happens, you’ve boiled a bit too long! You want them just to the point where they’re starting to soften. My advice is to err on the side of caution, best to take them out too early rather than have them all fall apart. 

4. Put your spuds into a colander and drain the water off, then put back into the hot, dry pan and shake them around a bit. Bash them against the sides of the pan and if there’s any moisture left in the pan, put them on to a gentle heat for a few moments to dry them out. Your spuds should now look a little harassed. The more battered and distressed the better. 

5. Put your baking tray on to your hob and heat gently with a good dollop of goose fat (I also add a good dollop of extra virgin olive oil too). Heat your oil and fat and then add your potatoes. Being careful not to break up your slightly softened and ruffled potatoes, move them all around in the fat to coat them fully. 

6. Throw in a good handful of garlic cloves – unpeeled, just as they come off the bulb. I usually use a whole bulb as we love to eat the roasted garlic with our dinner. You don’t have to, but the garlic will infuse into your oil and make your spuds taste amazing! 

7. Add a good amount of salt and pepper on to your potatoes and garlic and stick in the oven for around 45mins to an hour at 190 degrees. 

8. Check your spuds after around 20 minutes and turn them over in the fat. Make sure there’s enough fat in the pan and add a touch more if it’s looking a little too dry. 

9. Remove your spuds when they’re beautifully golden. Place in a heated serving dish and….ta da! The perfect roast potato for your Christmas dinner. 

 

Sweet Potatoes – Girl About Sheffield

If you are looking for something a little different to accompany your turkey this Christmas, I dare you to give this recipe a go.

I’ll put my hands up and say I was definitely dubious of this sweet and spice combo for my Christmas Dinner, but it is dead simple to make in advance and will tantalise your taste buds with a sticky little something on your dinner plate. Plus, what kid is going to turn down marshmallows with their roast dinner?!

I need to give credit to Nigella for this classic American thanksgiving dish and it’s definitely not for someone’s plate who is counting their calories this festive season!

Click Here for Vicky's Sweet Potato Recipe

This recipe is a side dish big enough for eight people: 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kilograms of sweet potatoes 
  • 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil 
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice 
  • 1 teaspoons of ground cinnamon 
  • 40g of butter 
  • 1.5 teaspoons of rock salt 
  • 150g of mini marshmallows / large marshmallows chopped in half 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 220c / gas mark 7.

2. Prick the potatoes with a fork and rub the vegetable oil onto the skin before wrapping each potato individually in tinfoil. Make sure the foil is loose around the potato but completely sealed.

3. Bake in the oven for 60 – 90 minutes.  

4. When the potatoes have slightly cooled, peel the skins off and add the flesh to a large bowl along with any of the syrup juice in the bottom of the tinfoil.

5. Add the lime juice, cinnamon, butter and salt to the bowl and mash together. 

6. Spoon the mash into an ovenproof dish and then arrange the marshmallows on top.

7. Bake in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the marshmallows have melted together with a bit of colour on top.

8. Dish up with the rest of your turkey dinner and be ready for an unexpected taste sensation!

 

The Humble Sprout – Girl About the Dales

The Brussel Sprout is at its best when picked after the first frost, in Swaledale this admittedly could be August, but this sweetens the sprout and complements the bitterness. I could have put together a recipe that included pomegranate and pistachios but this, as far as I am concerned, is a recipe that respects and enhances the humble sprout. We are not lunching at The Ivy today, we are eating our dinner, at the table, with our loved ones, at Christmas. The sprout is something I have experimented with over the years, anchovy butter? to blanch or not to blanch? and have concluded that simple is best. So pour yourself a glass of red and put your Keith Floyd hat on and get some grub cooked. 

Christmas Dinner

Click Here for Amy's Sprout Recipe

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Kilo of sprouts, knocked off the tree, outer leaves removed, halved lengthways 
  • 200g bacon lardons 
  • 50g  salted butter, cubed, at room temperature 
  • 100-150ml water 
  • Black pepper to season 
  • 1 bottomless glass of wine (optional, to drink of course) 

Method:

1. Ensure all your sprouts are washed dried and ready to go 

2. Place your frying pan/wok on the high heat ring of the cooker and allow to heat for a minute or so. We don’t want the pan smoking hot as the butter will burn.  

3. Add the bacon lardons to the pan for a couple of minutes. We want these to become nicely browned for the best flavour. No extra fat should be required, the bacon should take care of itself.  

4. When a light tan is evident on the bacon fat, add the sprouts, butter and half of the water to the pan, allow the butter to melt and toss until the sprouts are coated with the cooking juices. The pan should have been deglazed by the water and the butter to get all those tasty flavours into the sprout. Allow to cook for approximately 10-14 mins until the sprouts are tender but not soggy. The last thing we want is a reminder of those God awful things they used to serve us at school. Keep a reasonably high heat maintained for the water to evaporate after the allotted time. If it becomes too dry or starts to catch, add more water until the sprouts are cooked to your liking. 

5. Season to taste 

6. Dish up and enjoy!

 

Pigs in Blankets – Girl About Halifax

I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to try and attempt to cook Christmas dinner because my mum still hosts the most important meal of the year for us all meaning I can sit back and relax – stress free (thanks mum). One of my favourite parts of this festive meal has got to be the pigs in blankets. A double whammy of porky goodness smothered in a honey glaze, tucked up and ready for bed. Bed being my stomach! Here’s the recipe she follows and I can wholeheartedly vouch for!

Christmas Dinner

Click Here for Emma's (Mums) Recipe

You will need:

  • 8 rashers smoked streaky bacon
  • 16 chipolatas
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 16 sage leaves

Method:

1. Get the oven ready – 190C/170C fan/gas 5.

2. Wash and dry the sage leaves.

3. Lay one sage leaf on top of each chipolata.

4. Slice the bacon rashers in half and wrap a piece around each of the chipolatas (including the leaf).

5. Pour 1 tbsp honey into a small bowl and brush each bacon-wrapped sausage with a little of that sweet glaze.

6. Place on a baking tray, kiss them goodnight and cook for 30-35 mins.

 

Yorkshire Puddings – Girl About North York Moors

It’s the question that divides households, families, the nation and most certainly the Girl About Blog Squad….. Yorkshire puddings on a Christmas lunch. Yes or no. 

My mum refuses to have her Christmas lunch sullied with a Yorkshire pudding; she happily eats them with any meat for the other 51 Sunday lunches of the year but won’t hear of it on a Christmas Dinner. She once said to my brothers wife, you can come for Christmas Dinner but we aren’t having Yorkshire puddings (she’s very straight talking). Luckily my sister-in-law is not scared of my mum and made her own and snuggled them in under a tea towel for us rebels who wanted a Yorkshire pud.  

While I have no problem with them being on my plate, cooking them is a different story. For years I used Aunt Bessie’s (sacrilege) but after my third child I thought I’m going to up my mum game and learn to make a decent Yorkshire pud. Ive found the below to be pretty foolproof, even for me. The tricks are to get the oil super hot and don’t forget – don’t open the oven door!

Christmas Dinner

Click Here For Helen's Yorkshire Puds

Ingredients:

  • Oil 
  • 130g plain flour 
  • 200ml milk  
  • 4 fresh eggs ( we love them from Five Houses, the best looking egg stand in the North)

 Method:

1. Heat your oven (don’t ask me what temperature, as hot as you can without setting your oil in fire).

 2. Using a 12 hole cake tin, put a splash of oil into the bottom of each hole. Pop it into the oven and leave it for a good 20 minutes to get sizzling hot) 

 3. Meanwhile whisk together your flour, big pinch of salt, the eggs and milk until you have a smooth batter. 

 4. Lots of Yorkshire pudding recipes suggest to leave the batter stand for about half an hour before putting it in the oven. I am usually making Yorkshire puddings in a pool of sweat with 3 toddlers hanging off my legs  so I don’t always do this.  

 4. Whack the batter into your muffin tin, as equally as you can and put in the oven for 20-25 minutes until they are crisp and golden and serve with Christmas Dinner if you’re wild and crazy or roast beef if you like to play it safe.  

 

Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream – Girl About Leeds

This is a great alternative to fruity, spiced Christmas puddings and desserts and makes a change from the traditional chocolate yule log. Plus all the booze means no sharing with the kids!  

Christmas Dinner

Click Here For Kirsty's Cake Recipe

Ingredients: 

Chocolate Guinness Cake: 

  • 250g plain flour
  • 450g light brown sugar
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 200g creamy chocolate like Lindt  
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 300ml Guinness
  • 100ml vegetable oil 
  • 200g butter 
  • 240 g buttermilk  
  • 2 large eggs  

Chocolate Ganache Frosting: 

  • 500g good dark chocolate
  • 240g double cream
  • 120g unsalted butter

Baileys Buttercream: 

  • 250g butter room temperature 
  • Baileys Irish Cream (add to taste) 
  • 2 taps vanilla  
  • 500g icing sugar (more to preferred consistency)  

To decorate: 

  • Marc de Champagne truffles  
  • Silver edible glitter  

 

Method: 

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line three 8 inch pans with greaseproof paper.   

2. Add the butter and half of the sugar into a stand mixer, or mix by hand until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the sugar, the buttermilk and beat again (it will be grainy but that’s ok!). Warm up the Guinness in the microwave. 

 3. Don’t mistake for black coffee and drink…  

4. Add the chocolate, oil, cocoa and heat again in short bursts until the chocolate has melted. Leave to cool and slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar. Once coiled combine the liquid into the mixture too. Finally add the flour and rest of the ingredients. The batter will be very wet! Pour into the cake tins (I like to weigh each one to make sure they’re even). Bake for 40 minutes but check after half an hour. The cakes should come away from the edges slightly and be springy. Leave to cool.  

5. Make the buttercream by combining the sugar and butter and mix on high. Add vanilla essence and Baileys to taste. I always end up adding more icing sugar and it helps to stiffen the frosting. Just keep tasting to gauge the texture and amount of Baileys. And also because it’s bloody delicious. Once light and airy pop in the fridge.   

6. Melt the butter in the microwave and add the dark chocolate until melted. Slowly add the double cream and stir. Leave to cool.   

7. Assemble the cake using the Baileys buttercream to sandwich the layers and spread a thin layer around the outside, filling in any gaps. Be sure to leave a bit to decorate the top. Refrigerate until the buttercream is firm. Then spread the cooled ganache around the outside, leaving the top, which is decorated with the remaining buttercream. It should look a bit like a pint of Guinness, if you use your imagination.  

8. Pop the truffles around the outside, dust with edible glitter and grab yourself a slice of boozy, chocolatey indulgence!

 


We wish you the best of luck for your Christmas Dinner cooking!

From all of the Girl About Blog Squad, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year xxx

 

Christmas Dinner