"Last week, Chef Dom and I shared our Christmas roast recipes, which hopefully got you thinking about what you’ll be cooking for Christmas dinner this year.
"This week, we’re sharing our favourite sides, which we will be cooking at home and some of which will feature on our festive menus at The Scran & Scallie.
"No Christmas dinner is complete without great roasties and tasty sides"
"For me, no Christmas dinner is complete without really good roasties. Get yourself some quality potatoes and roast them in goose fat – it’s the best way to make them lovely and crisp on the outside and soft, warm and fluffy in the middle. I can never resist pinching a few when no-one else is watching before they even reach the dinner table.
"Carrots deserve a place in every Christmas spread. It can be easy to stick with the same recipes every year, but rethinking traditional dishes doesn’t have to be complicated. By adding seasonal herbs or spices you can bring out the sweet, earthy flavours of fresh vegetables. This year I’m giving my carrots a twist with a lovely combination of orange, honey and star anise, which will really complement the rib of beef I’m serving up.
"Brussels sprouts are a love or hate dish. I have to admit I think I will be stealing Chef Dom’s recipe for confit Brussels sprouts this year. It could convince even the children to try a sprout or two."
• 1kg potatoes – preferably Maris Piper, peeled and halved or quartered depending on size
• 100g goose fat
Place a large roasting tin in the oven, and preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. Meanwhile, wash, peel and cut each of your potatoes into two or four equal sized pieces. Place the potatoes in a large pan, add a pinch of salt and cover with water, then bring to the boil. When the water reaches boiling point, lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Add the goose fat to the hot tray and place back in the oven for a few minutes.
Drain the potatoes, shaking and bashing them a bit as you do so to get them nice and fluffy. Very carefully place them into the roasting tin, covering each all over in fat – use a spoon or fish slice to mix it all up. Spread the potatoes evenly in the tin, then pop them back in the oven.
Roast for 15 minutes, turn the potatoes over and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes, then repeat for a third time, making sure they are really golden and crispy. Sprinkle with salt and serve with your choice of roast.
• 8 carrots, peeled and quartered
• 4 star anise
• 2 tbsp of honey
• knob of butter
• olive oil for cooking
Slice the carrots into thin quarters length-ways. In a pan, add the carrots and cover with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, reduce to a gentle simmer, then cook for around 45 minutes until the carrots are soft. Once cooked, remove the carrots from the water, keeping a tablespoon of the cooking water back. Place the carrots back in the pan, and add the honey, star anise, knob of butter and a dash of salted water from cooking.
Mix together, then place in a serving bowl.
"I’m told I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the presentation of my dishes and I guess Christmas is no different.
"Two of our sides this year will be confit Brussels sprouts and parsnip crisps which taste delicious but also look incredible on the plate.
"This recipe is a good way to get most people eating Brussels sprouts. If it can convince my young son to try them, then it should convince anyone. The secret here is in the slow cooking and the addition of the juniper berries to give them a natural taste of the festive season. I like to remove the outer leaves of the sprouts and blanch them quickly, then place them back into the bowl when they’re ready to serve. It makes the dish look brilliant on the table as the outer layers stay a vibrant green. Voilà – Brussels sprouts that look and taste good.
"These parsnip crisps are a good alternative to roast parsnips and add a nice crunch. If you have time, make a big batch beforehand and you can serve them as pre-dinner nibbles or enjoy any leftovers later in the evening."
• 400g Brussels sprouts
• knob of butter
• 500ml chicken or veal stock
• 12 juniper berries, lightly crushed
• 1 sprig of thyme
For the emulsion
• knob of butter
• salt and cracked black pepper
• an extra 10ml chicken or veal stock
You’ll also need some parchment paper for wrapping over the pan to make a cartouche
Peel the Brussels sprouts, removing and reserving the outer green leaves. Blanch the sprouts in boiling salted water for one minute. Then transfer to a heavy-bottomed pan and place on a medium heat with a knob of butter, the crushed juniper berries and the sprig of thyme. Lightly sauté all of the ingredients together in the pan.
Cover with the chicken or veal stock and bring to a simmer. Place the cartouche paper over the top of the pan. Place in the oven at 180C/Gas Mark 4 and cook for about 45 minutes until most of the stock has reduced down and been absorbed by the sprouts. Blanch the outer leaves in salted water.
Take the sprouts and cover them in an emulsion of butter and the remaining chicken stock with some cracked black pepper and salt so they go nice and shiny and look wonderful on the table. When ready to serve, place the sprouts in a bowl and garnish with the outer leaves to add colour.
• 6 parsnips
• 2 litres vegetable oil
• 100g flour
Pre-heat the oil in a large pan or deep fryer to 160-170C. Peel the parsnips and cut them into thin slices on a mandolin.
Dust gently with flour and place them in the hot oil.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, mixing them with a fork, until crispy. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Add salt and serve.