‘Tis the season to eat, be merry, and eat some more! The classic roast dinner has been a December 25th staple since Victorian times, and while it’s hard to beat, sometimes it can be fun to mix things up a little bit.

Here are some alternative Christmas recipes to tantalise your tastebuds this Christmas!

Nut Roast

There is little more Christmassy than chestnuts roasting on an open fire, so why not try this nut roast from Jamie Oliver? It is packed with flavour and goodness – and you don’t even need an open fire!

Ingredients

  • 50 g shelled pistachios
  • 50 g linseed
  • 50 g sunflower seeds
  • 100 g chestnut purée
  • 50 g gluten-free vegetarian suet
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • gluten-free flour , for dusting
  • BLUE CHEESE TOPPING
  • 400 g sweet potato
  • rapeseed oil
  • 20 g unsalted butter
  • 250 g chestnut mushrooms
  • 100 g crème fraîche
  • 1 good pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 75 g Dorset Blue Vinny , or vegetarian blue cheese
  • 1 teaspoon linseed
  • 1 teaspoon shelled pistachios
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower seeds

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350ºF/gas 4.
  2. For the nut roast crust, roughly chop the pistachios, then spread out on a baking tray with the seeds, then toast in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. When the time’s up, transfer to a food processor, along with the chestnut purée, suet and maple syrup, and blitz until the mixture comes together into a ball. It will be very sticky to begin with, so stop and scrape the sides as you go.
  4. Place a large sheet of baking parchment on a work surface and sit the dough on it. Then, with lots of gluten-free flour on your hands and rolling pin, roll out the dough as thinly as possible (less than 5mm).
  5. If you’re making individual tartlets, oil and flour four 10cm loose-bottomed tart tins, then cut out the pastry to size. Or, roll out the dough and cut to the size of a large baking tin, then transfer to the tin using a fish slice.
  6. Prick the dough all over with a fork, cover with baking parchment, fill with baking beans or uncooked rice and bake blind for 12 to 15 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the baking tray, as it will be quite delicate straight from the oven. Keep the oven on.
  7. For the topping, chop the sweet potato into cubes, then place on a baking tray. Toss with a little oil, then bake for 25 minutes, or until soft.
  8. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, slice and add the mushrooms along with 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper, and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes, until the mushrooms brown.
  9. Blitz the roasted sweet potato in a food processor with the crème fraîche, nutmeg and ½ a tablespoon of cracked black pepper (or to taste) to a smooth, creamy consistency.
  10. To assemble the tart, crumble the blue cheese over the base, arrange the sautéed mushrooms on top, then finish with the sweet potato mix.
  11. Sprinkle with linseed, roughly chop and scatter over the pistachios followed by the sunflower seeds, then add a drizzle of rapeseed oil, and pop back in the oven for 6 to 7 minutes until it just starts to brown. Serve hot with gravy and roast vegetables.

 

Gravadlax

The Swedish Christmas dinner is very different from ours, involving boiled potatoes and various pickled fish! To add a little Scandinavian twist to your Christmas dinner, this gravadlax makes an excellent starter.

 

INGREDIENTS

3 tsp. coriander seeds

2 tsp. white peppercorns

2 tsp. black peppercorns

3 tbsp. sea salt

2 tbsp. sugar

800 g side of salmon, with skin, trimmed

Large bunch of dill, roughly chopped

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. caster sugar

1 tsp. sea salt

2 tbsp. white wine vinegar

125 ml light-flavoured oil, such as sunflower

2 tbsp. dill, chopped

 

DIRECTIONS

Dry-toast the coriander and peppercorns in a frying pan over a medium heat, until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, and grind to a powder. Stir in the salt and sugar.

Put the salmon, skin-side up, in a wide, shallow dish. Scatter with a third of the spice mix. Press a third of the dill on to the skin. Turn the fish over and scatter with the rest of spice mix and the remaining dill. Cover fish tightly with clingfilm and weigh down with a baking tray and some heavy tins. Put in the fridge for two to three days, turning every 12 hours.

Unwrap the dish and brush the dill off the fish. Place salmon, skin-down, on a chopping board and carefully carve very thin, diagonal slivers of pink flesh.

For the dressing, whisk the mustard, sugar, salt and vinegar until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in oil, pouring it in a thin stream. Stir in the dill.

Drizzle the dressing over the salmon and serve with rye bread.

Ajiaco Santafereño

This traditional Colombian soup is hearty and richly flavoured, and is a staple for most Colombian holiday meals, not least Christmas dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 large white potato, cubed
  • 1 large yellow potato, cubed
  • 22 baby potatoes, halved
  • 2 corn on the cobs
  • 1/2 CUP Coriander chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. Cook the chicken breast and onion in 4 cups of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, and simmer for approximately for 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Once cooked, remove the chicken breast from the water. Shred the chicken and set aside.
  3. Add the corn cobs and potatoes to the water, and cook until thickened, for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Chop the corn ears.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the chicken to the pot, and heat through for approximately 5 to 10 minutes
  6. Serve with avocado cut into strips and sour cream.