Until about two days ago, I was feeling just a little bit been there, done that about Christmas in the kitchen. Having enjoyed a, ahem, ‘significant’ birthday in the last couple of weeks, I found myself thinking that maybe I could just forget it this year in favour of a nice little package somewhere. Say Barbados. Or The Maldives. Somewhere they give you a sun lounger and a butler. Obviously, this is only in my dreams, so instead I’ve ended up doing what I always do and invited the world, his wife and their 16 children to join us for what seems like (and possibly is) every meal throughout Christmas and New Year.
Obviously, considering my job, I do quite like cooking, and I have a husband who is very well trained in keeping the cook’s Bloody Mary/G&T (depending on the time of day) refreshed, so things do get quite jolly. And this year is suddenly looking much brighter because I am now armed with secret culinary weapons provided by some of the best chefs in the region, which is making me inordinately happy. Truly, persuading a group of brilliant culinary brains to reveal their best Christmas cooking tips (see pages 20-23) has to be the best editorial decision I’ve made in 25 years. Who else is going to be serving up John Cairns’ turkey kievs, eh? Well, he is, obviously. And probably quite a few readers. But still, I feel like I’ve been given the keys to a safe full of secrets. John Calton’s scallop tartare is on the menu on Christmas Day, and Martin Charlton’s fish chowder is on for Boxing Day. And when my guests ask me for the secrets of my culinary triumphs I will be blasé and declare, “oh, just something I learnt from one of my chef friends”, which means I get to look like I know what I’m doing! Happy Christmas to me – and to you!
Appetite issue 40 December / January
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