This recipe for Roasted Bacon & Chestnut Sprouts is my favourite way to eat Brussels sprouts. My friend Sue always says that brussels sprouts are mutant cabbages, and I think that probably represents the level of dislike that people have for the poor Brussels sprout. On the other hand, my friend Dawn absolutely loves them. I’m a bit tired of recipes that claim that THIS recipe will convert sprout haters. Ultimately, if you hate them, you hate them. However, if you’re on the fence, you might like them roasted. I think they taste much better, but really, they are still Brussels sprouts. I just can’t do a Christmas Menu without them.

Roasted Sprouts

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Chive Lemon Crème fraîche with brown bread & smoked salmon is a classic Christmas starter for all the traditionalists. It’s barely a recipe to be honest! Do yourself a favour with this one by serving it on a platter and let people help themselves. I always serve wedges of lemon with it, in case there are any purists, but the cool gently flavoured Chive Lemon  Crème fraîche really lets the salmon stand out as the star of the show. This is also a good duo with Burnt Lemon and Feta Dip.

lemon creme fraiche

 

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This burnt lemon and feta dip has the lovely combination of being familiar and yet a little unexpected – a nice way to kick off a Christmas menu

! The feta adds a lovely saltiness and the lemon is fresh. The slightly burnt caramelised flavour makes the whole taste much warmer and more interesting. The idea of eating something burnt might be a bit jarring, but cooking the lemon really intensifies the flavours and cuts through the ‘milkiness’ of the rest of the ingredients. The dip is essentially feta and lemon, using some crème fraiche, natural yogurt, milk or buttermilk to thin it out. You can vary it depending on what you have in the fridge, and how much tanginess you like!

Burnt Lemon and Feta Dip
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This Orange, Whiskey and Star Anise curd is the newest arrival in my ongoing curd obsession. I love curd. Virtually every cake I make is filled with a curd, whether it’s my mango and lime recipe

, a classic lemon curd, raspberry curd or an exotic passion fruit curd. I love how versatile they are. I use them as a snack with yogurt, as a dip, to spread on scones or to fill cupcakes.

OWSA Curd

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These chocolate and orange rugelach cookies are a twist on a traditional Jewish Sweet treat. They look a little bit like croissant, but I can’t profess to be in any way expert about it’s origins. They are, as I understand, still very popular treats within the Jewish community, although my version steers away from the more traditional spice and nut fillings.

Choc and orange rugelach

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I am fairly confident that someone is going to tell me that Aztec Banana Pudding isn’t an accurate name for this dessert. I was trying to think of something snappy to describe a moist pudding loaded with banana, coffee and cardamom, with a chocolate, orange and pecan gooey filling. Aztec seemed like the best description. (Cue food historians). This recipe was large instigated by having bananas that were looking a bit battered. (I store mine in the freezer and take them out a few minutes before I need them if I don‘t have time to bake. It turns them totally black but they get really sweet). My lovely friend Tom

had also given me a gift of cardamom coffee the previous week, and these two food items collided in my head.

Aztec pudding

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