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Christmas feasts inspired by global flavours

by Jessica Lockyer-Palmer

published on 11 December 2020

Find a fresh take on festive feasting with our menus inspired by flavours from across the globe. 

Winter Pilau, Lamb Raan, Gulab Jamuns


For a festive feast packed with Indian-inspired flavours, turn to Meera Sodha's trio of cookbooks. Opt for baked onion bhajis from Fresh India to kick off the festivities, followed by  a centrepiece of tender, aromatic lamb raan from Made in India. Meera's jewel-toned root veg winter pilau from East makes for a side with a celebratory feel, while fragrant rosewater and cardamom syrup-steeped gulab jamuns from Fresh India will round off the feast with a festive flurry of pistachio.

Order your copy of Meera Sodha's East here. 

Meat Ravioli, Leg of Lamb with Anchovy and Rosemary, Zabaglione


It wouldn't be an Italian feast without a primo of pasta, and for the best possible start opt for Anna del Conte's homemade meat ravioli, stuffed with pancetta, beef and Parmesan, and dressed in a luxurious butter and sage sauce, from Italian Kitchen. Russell Norman's leg of lamb with anchovy and rosemary from Venice will do nicely for the secondo, served with Russell's grilled radicchio and garlic and rosemary roast potatoes from Rosemary Shrager's Cookery Course. As for the dessert, if boozy custard doesn't say Christmas, we don't know what does and Semplice's three-ingredient zabaglione offers just that.

Get your copy of Venice: Four Seasons of Home Cooking here.

Beetroot Dip, Cauliflower Shawarma, Baklava and Orange Blossom Semi Freddo

Middle Eastern-inspired (and vegetarian)

Begin your Middle Eastern-inspired feast with dips and homemade flatbreads from The Modern Kebab for the table. Falastin's claret-toned beetroot and sweet potato dip with a scattering of pistachio bulgur looks the festive part and works well alongside a bowl of Berber & Q's silken hummus with all the toppings. Stay with Berber & Q for the main event and delight the table with a whole-roasted cauliflower basted in a shawarma spiced butter, charred in the oven, drizzled with tahina sauce and decorated with rose petals and pomegranate seeds – just the kind of showstopper every vegetarian Christmas meal deserves. Serve alongside Falastin's delicately spiced mejadra, a mix of lentils and grains. Finish your feast with Falastin's Orange Blossom, Honey and Baklava Semi-Freddo – creamy, nutty, fragrant and finished with a scattering of festive pomegranate seeds and seasonal citrus.

Order your copy of Falastin here.

Terrine de Campagne, Chicken Legs Stuffed with Comté, Mont Blanc


A starter of Elizabeth David's terrine de campagne from At Elizabeth David's Table and a baked whole Vacherin Mont d’Or from Rick Stein's French Odyssey, served with hunks of bread for spreading and dipping, will make for a fitting start to your French-inspired feast. For the main, stick with Rick and his decadent mushroom and Comté stuffed chicken legs from Rick Stein's Secret France, best served with a side of Raymond Blanc's gratin dauphinois from My Kitchen Table: 100 Recipes for Entertaining. For dessert, Rachel Khoo's Mont Blanc from My Little French Kitchen, a billowing meringue topped with a duo of whipped and chestnut creams, will evoke wintry Alpine scenes.

Get your copy of Rick Stein's Secret France here. 

Pimientos de Padrón, Pork Belly with Mojo Verde, Basque Burnt Cheesecake


Start proceedings in authentic Spanish style with a selection of tapas, from oil-slicked and salt-sprinkled pimientos de padrón from Rick Stein's Spain to a gooey-centred morcilla and piquillo pepper tortilla from Sabor and suitably boozy clams with sherry and serrano ham from Tapas Revolution. For the main event, turn to Nieves Barragán Mohacho's melt in the mouth pork belly with a punchy mojo verde sauce and a side of creamy mashed potato topped with earthy chard, both from Sabor. Once you've found room to go on, it's time for Nigella Lawson's take on Instagram's dessert of the moment, a Basque burnt cheesecake served with an addictive liquorice sauce, from Cook, Eat, Repeat.

Get your copy of Cook, Eat, Repeat here.

Sweet Potato Bake, Treacle-glazed Ribs, Plum Sundae


Ainsley Harriott's rum, treacle and tamarind glazed ribs from Ainsley's Caribbean Kitchen take centre stage in this flavour-packed menu. Ainsley likes to serve his ribs with spiced buttered corn on the cob for a welcome and rare ray of sunshine at Christmas (use frozen if it's a struggle to get fresh at this time of year). Also on the menu are a creamy and cheese-topped sweet potato bake and a spiced caramel plum sundae with a pink peppercorn brittle that will lend just the right amount of festive sparkle to your dessert.

Get your copy of Ainsley's Caribbean Kitchen here.

The Persephone, Slow-cooked Lamb with Fresh Dates, Quince and Brandy Trifle


Slow-cooked for five tenderising hours with sweet dates, bay and cinnamon, Georgie Hayden's tender lamb shoulder from Taverna promises a fragrant feast. Serve, as Georgie suggests, alongside a bowl of steaming bulgur wheat; Nigella's spiced bulgur wheat with roast vegetables from Cook, Eat, Repeat is the dish for the job. For pudding, make Georgie's take on a Carlotta, or Cypriot trifle, with quince, brandy and gold foil-coated walnuts and toast to a feast well spent with The Persephone, a rose syrup-infused Prosecco cocktail. 

Get your copy of Taverna here.


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