Break with tradition and serve up our modern festive recipes this Christmas. We’ve picked out 2016’s most up-to-date dishes to ensure you stay on-trend.
Being in the thick of the nation’s food scene, we like to stay ahead of the curve by identifying what you’ll be eating next. Our food trends section is full of innovative new ideas and hot ingredients as we predict the latest foodie arrivals to land on the nation’s dinner tables. For Christmas 2016, on top of our usual traditional recipes (not to mention the hundreds of Christmas recipes online), we've created trend-led feasts based on our insider knowledge. Break with the norm and give something new a try this year…
Eight on-trend recipes to serve this Christmas
We’ve tried brines, bastes, flavoured butters and even deep-frying, but our turkey treatment for 2016 is the confit. Confit was actually designed to preserve food by slowly cooking it in fat, but confiting your turkey legs means they’re guaranteed to have the softest meat and crispiest skin. We haven’t forgotten the crown though – we added a dry brine to ensure the citrus seasoning has a day or two to penetrate the white meat. Once tried, you’ll never go back to a standard roast.
Say hello to the new panettone – the pandoro. This sweet, buttery Italian bread is cooked in an eight-pointed mould, giving it a ridged effect when baked. To serve, slice it horizonally into five pieces and arrange them on an angle. The finished effect is a Christmas tree-like tower, sandwiched with boozy mascarpone and orange zest. If it sounds complicated, believe us, it really isn’t – you buy the pandoro ready-baked. You can get them online from Italian delicatessens and some national supermarkets.
When we carried out the blind tasting for our 2016 Christmas Taste Awards, we noticed a few trends from the supermarkets. As well as gold lustre and melting middles, Prosecco-flavoured food is still very much of the moment, although it occasionally misses the mark (for instance, it's a yes to Prosecco panettone – Prosecco crisps, not so). As we usually add a splash of wine to gravy anyway, this year we're using Prosecco to ramp up the flavour. The best part about this deluxe gravy is that you can make it weeks in advance and freeze it, leaving you more time to, erm, drink Prosecco come Christmas day…
We love to turn the traditional on its head, and there’s nothing as trad’ as an old school trifle. This year, we updated this layered dessert with a drink we’ve seen surge in popularity on our website over the past few Christmas periods – American-style eggnog. The trifle is topped with a homemade meringue, blow-torched to toasted perfection. If the idea of all that whisking gives you a headache, try deconstructing the flavours of trifle and making it into an easy jelly cheesecake.
Festive celeriac koshari
In a year when hyper-regional food and vegan and vegetarian cooking were two big restaurant trends, it seems fitting to pay due attention to your veggie offering this Christmas. We’ll be serving Rosie Birkett’s koshari on our buffet tables. Rosie – our contributing editor and avid food trend spotter – has taken the Egyptian street food dish and given it a festive twist with cinnamon and seasonal celeriac.
Southern fried chicken, arancini, topped fries… deep-fried food is still all over the street food scene. You don’t need an industrial-strength frier to achieve the same result at home, although you do need to feel comfortable working with hefty amounts of scorching hot oil. It’s worth the effort though, and we think our deep-fried sprouts would convert even the most hardened Brussels sceptic. The sprouts are served in a modern salad with black pudding and apple.
Christmas grilled cheese
The grilled cheese sandwich has really taken off recently, and you can now find entire restaurants dedicated to this melty, pan-fried treat. So it’s only natural that our Christmas sandwich of choice this year is a toastie that comes oozing with cheddar. As per the street food way, use sourdough – it’s robust enough to handle being flipped around in a pan – and switch chutney for Spanish quince paste, membrillo. We have a secret ingredient for getting a really golden, crisp finish on the outside of the sandwich, too...
Ramen is now a mainstay on UK restaurant menus and we can’t get enough of it. This leftover soup uses up not only turkey meat but the gravy too, which creates an unctuous, authentic broth. We topped ours with sauce of the moment sriracha, crumbled sheets of nori (pressed seaweed – another trend to look out for) and silgochu chilli threads for added trendy kudos, but use whatever you can lay your hands on.
More on trends...
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What are you serving this Christmas? Have you spotted anything on-trend that's tickled your festive fancy?