Panettone ice cream bomb recipe

Panettone ice cream bomb recipe

Some foodie friends came for dinner last month bearing white truffles, Pinot Noir and extra virgin olive oil (my kind of people). They run a swanky grocers in Chelsea and to be honest, I slightly dread having them over, because despite the fact we love them very much, they are such good hosts (and even better guests) that I worry my cooking is not going to be up to par. My tip with dinner parties is to do as much as you can in advance, to avoid a mid-course nervous breakdown. So I did a burrata for starter – unaware until I wrote it down that it rhymes – with olive-studded bread from a fabulous new Italian deli near my house, before serving Claire’s legendary pork ragu recipe which I made the day before, alongside some roasted broccoli and M&S mash potato. I know I should know better and make my own, but I find the stress of making lump-free mash under scrutiny too much, so decanted this into a terracotta dish for the homemade look. But the star of the show was this Panettone ice cream bomb. It was a trial run for Christmas – Claire is cooking this year – hurrah! – and as well as our mum’s Christmas pudding, we will be eating this for afters. It can be made well in advance and only takes 15m to throw together. You literally just hollow out a Panettone, whip up some double cream and condensed milk, stir in some sour cherries and pistachios, fill up the hollow and freeze for at least 24 hours. Just before serving, you...

Christmas – so, how was it for you?

Are you reading this, relaxing on the sofa? A warm glow from presents well-chosen and well-received? We are feeling remarkably rested, calm and organised. It’s a far cry from the chaos of last year (a reminder: the turkey was roasting, the pudding was bubbling away on the stove, and we, the hosts, plus 12 guests were locked out on the street outside). Yes, this year Lucy and her husband were in charge of the celebrations so it all took place like a well-oiled machine. There were in-laws, there were little children, there were sprouts and there was fizz. It was the age old festive mix and it went like a dream. Our surprise Christmas hit (maybe I shouldn’t be surprised) was the clementine vodka. Mulled wine always seems a bit  pointless, with the alcohol stewed out of existence. A dash of clementine vodka and that Christmas cheer is restored! We had a festive street party which was a lot more festive with a shot of that in the mulled wine.  Now we’re in that strange limbo land, where Christmas is all but over and New Year’s Eve is the next big event. What do you eat when the leftovers have gone? We’ve had soup, soup and more soup. Plus cabbage.  We are hosting New Year’s Eve this year, there’s 10 for dinner – we now know to include our kids (aged 6 and 8) in those numbers. Some parents are not sure whether their kids will stay up for the celebrations. They know their kids may feel tired and fractious. I know, from bitter experience, that my kids will be up for it....
Clementine vodka – and a very merry Christmas!

Clementine vodka – and a very merry Christmas!

Clementine vodka – what could sound more Christmassy in a slightly drunken Russian way?  This idea is a festive take on Limoncello – in fact I use the same method as for Limoncello – but instead of lemon and sugar I used oranges, clementines and mulling spices. In the name of thoroughness I’ve actually made three big bottles of this, in order to get the perfect flavour, and I’ve been studiously ignoring them for the last month, just waiting for Christmas. But now the time has come to have a little snifter – well, not literally now, as it’s 11.41am on Friday, and I’ve got son #2’s carol concert in an hour, and that would get quite messy.  I suggest serving this deliciousness as a digestif, to cut through all that over-eating and inertia that can kick in after a big Christmas meal. A shot of this after turkey could provide you with the energy required for a round of charades or even a game of Monopoly. Alternatively/additionally, pour into little bottles with a shaving of peel, a label and a bow and give as hostess presents or to the teacher. I know it’s supposed to be an apple for the teacher, but my kids’ teachers deserve vodka and the unconsciousness it can bring.  The great thing about this recipe is that the total time needed is only four days, so start now and it will be ready by Tuesday. For more details on how to make, check out our video here.  Christmas clementine vodka Zest of 4 oranges Zest of 4 clementines 750ml of vodka 1 Litre mason jar 225g sugar 225ml...
Your crash guide to Christmas

Your crash guide to Christmas

Christmas is coming and in the five years since Claire and I started this blog we have learned a lot not just about Christmas but life, the universe and everything. Here is some of it, in handy-sized bullet points because at this time of year our brains can’t cope with anything but lists. Food and drink Make your gravy in advance – it is one of the most important and stressful bits about Christmas dinner as it is all done at the last minute, so making it a few days ahead takes the pressure off. There is an easy recipe here but leave out the star anise people. It is too much!  If that is too much faff, M&S turkey gravy is supposed to be the best shop-bought on offer. Likewise make your red cabbage in advance. It freezes really well. We made our own Clementine vodka this year as presents for friends, but it is also extremely delicious to have neat straight from the freezer. In a glass of course. It takes 10m to make, 3 days to steep and about 3 seconds to down. There is still plenty of time to make some before the 25th. What’s stopping you?  This very simple fruit loaf lasts for days, is easier to make than a normal Christmas cake and is very good with cheese.  Hate to boast but although these reindeer fairy cakes are everywhere this year, we first made them 4 years ago. Still as sweet now as they were then. For the best roast parsnip recipe click here For two great Brussels sprout recipes, click here. I love this lower fat mince pie – made with shop-bought filo pastry...
Two ways with sprouts

Two ways with sprouts

Sprouts – you either love them or hate them and although I started out as one of the latter I have ended up as one of the former, so it just goes to show in the life anything can happen. This year Claire and I set ourselves a challenge to come up with a new way to eat Brussels Sprouts. She made a delicious raw sprout, pomegranate, Parmesan and almond salad that is one of the best things she has made me. Ever. Whilst I pureed some sprouts with cream and Parmesan cheese and baked in the oven au gratin. This is great for Christmas day as you can do it before and just reheat it or m left-over sprouts. Being massively competitive sisters, we have decided to turn it into a competition – we made a film about it here – so please vote for your favourite in the comments below.  Sprout puree Takes: 10m Serves: 4 as a side dish 500g brussels sprouts, trimmed 40g butter 60g grated Parmesan cheese salt pepper Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, and cook the sprouts in it until just tender. I actually used ready sliced sprouts because I am extremely lazy. Drain then tip into the bowl of a food processor along with the butter and most of the cheese, reserving a handful for the top. Pulse until you have a rough, creamy purée. Spoon into an oven-proof dish and either sprinkle on the Parmesan and eat straight away or pop in the oven until the cheese melts. Raw sprout salad Takes: 15 m Serves: 6-8 depending on...