Raymond Blanc shares his top Christmas dinner tips, including his three-ingredient duck recipe for a hassle-free sharing centrepiece.
A stunning three-ingredient Christmas centrepiece sounds too good to be true, but Raymond Blanc's marmalade glazed roast duck is here to save you from Christmas stress. Read on for more tips including how to get the best mince pie pastry, delicious ideas for Christmas leftovers and the best way to serve sprouts. Want even more Christmas inspiration? Check out our Christmas kitchen hub.
1. What made you choose this duck recipe to feature in the magazine?
Duck is a perfect roast for the festive season, but so many recipes tell you to cook it for hours. I wanted to create a recipe where you get a perfect balance of cooked leg meat, but keep a slight blush to the breast meat.
- Try Raymond Blanc's sticky Seville orange marmalade glazed duck recipe.
2. What’s your top tip for cooking Christmas dinner?
It’s all in the preparation. Prepare as much as you can in advance. For example, the cranberry sauce and the gravy can easily be made a few weeks earlier and kept in the freezer until the night before. With proper preparation, you can enjoy your time with your guests and hopefully avoid any last-minute panics.
- Try these 10 classic Christmas recipes you can make ahead to save time on the big day.
3. Do you have any tips for getting ahead on the Christmas dinner?
Practice your dish beforehand. Going through the method to make sure you’re familiar with the steps and timings will really help you on the day. It’s also a good idea to make a cold starter, so you can focus on the cooking the main.
- Learn how to get ahead at Christmas with our freezable recipes and helpful hints.
4. What’s the most important ingredient in a Christmas pudding?
There’s not one ingredient more important than the other, but do try making it a few months in advance so the pudding has time to mature. Time is the most important part of a Christmas pudding recipe because the flavours need to marry together.
- Learn how to steam a pudding with our easy video tutorial.
5. What’s your tip for making the perfect mince pie?
- Try 5 ways with mince pies for some modern twists.
6. Do you have a secret to the perfect roast potato?
Ruffling. Quickly blanching your potatoes then ruffling them in a dry pan will give you a perfectly crisp roast potato… as long as you’re using the right variety. I use King Edward as they’re a good all-rounder, and the results are the most consistent.
- Take a look at our Christmas roast potato recipe collection for festive spuds.
7. What’s your favourite meal to make with Christmas leftovers?
My British friends have influenced me over the years, and I now enjoy a curry as much as they do. It must be delicately spiced and not too overpowering. I like mine served with steamed brown rice and some wilted garlic spinach on the side.
- Try our recipe for Boxing Day scones to use up your festive leftovers.
8. What’s the best way to serve Brussels sprouts?
Sprouts are delicious prepared in many ways as long as they haven’t been cooked to death for hours. I like mine quickly blanched, sliced in half, then sautéed with some bacon lardons and cooked chestnuts.
- Turn this polarising Christmas side dish into something special with our chorizo and almond version.
Enjoyed these festive ideas? Read our other celeb top tips...
What are your top tips for getting ready for Christmas day? Leave a comment below...