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The best of December on Great British Chefs

The best of December on Great British Chefs

by Great British Chefs Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A monthly roundup of what we have been up to here at Great British Chefs during December, including recipes, features and brand new tips and techniques.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Christmas sorted

You can’t escape it – the start of December heralds the coming of all things festive, so we dusted off our Christmas jumpers here at Great British Chefs and threw ourselves into the seasonal spirit. With the aim of making the holiday as stress-free as possible, our Christmas menu planner laid out timings for the month, while Clare Gazzard picked up some top tips for getting ahead with an easy Christmas dinner. Talking turkey, our essential recipes and cooking guides addressed everything from roasting to rolling, and our chefs chipped in with some of their favourite stuffing suggestions.

Although we love the fact that many of our festive foods are steeped in tradition, it’s great to have some alternative options, especially when catering for different diets. We made sure we had plenty of meat-free recipes for the main event, Tom Shingler explored the culinary mine-field which is vegetarian cheese, and we also focussed on some essential gluten-free Christmas recipes. For the Christmas pudding-haters, our alternative dessert collection had plenty of inspiration from chocolate to trifle.

Beyond the main meal itself, wine guru Fiona Beckett filled us in on what to drink at Christmas, particularly useful when thinking of hosting a canapé and cocktail party. In the spirit of giving (and receiving!) Katie Smith looked at recipes for perfect edible gifts, including some delicious Christmas biscuit recipes which would be perfect for as a great activity for cooking with kids, and Izzy Burton sorted the perfect present for every foodie with her run-down of cookbook gifts.

Christmas around the world

We’ve also been looking further afield than just British classics to discover Christmas traditions from around the world… One of our more unusual discoveries came when Katie Smith interviewed Tonkotsu and Tsuru chef Ken Yamada about Christmas in Japan, where dishes range from festive KFC buckets to cream-topped Christmas mousse cakes. Offering a slightly sunnier perspective, we were lucky enough to find out about some Spanish traditions with a recipe for a traditional torró (an almond confection) and an insight into an Asturian Christmas from three Michelin-starred chef Nacho Manzano.

Looking out from another drizzly December in Britain, Christmas in Scandinavia always seems like such a romantic prospect, with snowy vistas, warming glugg and a beautiful array of treats and trinkets displayed at the Christmas markets. Inspired by this festive utopia we’ve shared several Danish Christmas recipes including Aebleskiver (a type of apple fritter), Christmas butter biscuits and risalamande by Sally Abé. The latter, a rice pudding made with cream and almonds, forms a key part of the Danish Christmas meal – not to mention the game of hunt the almond which Izzy Burton describes from her own (sometimes painful) family experiences.

With Great Italian Chefs now in full swing, we took the opportunity to explore the country’s foods and festivities all the way from Piedmont to Puglia. With a focus on sweets and pastries, food blogger Giulia Scarpaleggia filled us on the traditional treats of Tuscany, while Antonella la Macchia shared some delicious recipes for stuffed pastries and ricotta cannoli. and Nancy Harbord delved into the family traditions of spongata di natale, an Italian Christmas cake. Some of our Italian chefs shared their favourite festive moments and memories, while chef Pietro Leeman discussed with us his perfect vegetarian Christmas and Clare Gazzard explored the fishy origins of the Christmas eve feast.

 
 

Chef news

Setting Christmas to one side for just a moment, it’s been an exciting month in Italy, with the release of the Italian Michelin results further establishing the country as a gastronomic haven. Over on our sister site, Great Italian Chefs, we have welcomed Norbert Niederkofler, Pino Cuttaia, Giuseppe D’Aquino and Grazia Soncini to the site, each bringing with them a selection of inspired recipes, such as Pino’s artistic ‘Anchovy painting’ and Giuseppe’s refined take on a rustic Italian wedding soup recipe.

Great British Chefs hasn’t been short of new chefs either this month, and we were proud to welcome Bryn Williams and culinary legend Claude Bosi into the fold. Anyone who had previously read about the creation of the Odette’s Jaffa cake in our Mind to Menu interview will be overjoyed to hear they can now make this nostalgic treat at home, while Claude Bosi allowed us a wonderful insight into his two Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant, Hibiscus.

 
 

Coming up in January

As we prepare for one last night of indulgence on New Year’s Eve, we’ve been planning ahead with top tips for creating canapés and party hosting advice, and looking at perfect recipes for using up all those Christmas leftovers before the inevitable January health kick starts.

With this in mind, we’ll be brushing off our blenders and polishing off our processors in a bid to make sure there’s plenty of delicious, yet wholesome, recipes on offer to help us keep those New Year’s resolutions. As a start, why not try some key superfoods at home, by making your own almond milk or kale crisps, or blitz up up a hearty soup to see off the January blues. We’ll be keeping up with new food trends as well with our predictions for 2016, looking at the cuisines, restaurants and ingredients we think will be top of the menu throughout next year, including a focus on Japanese cooking, all things seaweed and the rise of goat meat.

 
 
 

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