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10 Festive Dinner Essentials That'll Make You A Hit This Christmas

by Pascale Day ,
10 Festive Dinner Essentials That'll Make You A Hit This Christmas

We can pretend that what we love most at Christmas is the presents or the good TV, but let's be honest: It's all about the Christmas dinner. But actually making such a feast is not the same as eating it. As daunting as it may seem, we know you're going to do a great job. How? Because we've got your secret weapon: James Martin. He's teamed up with Asda to bring you all the recipes that'll make your Christmas dinner the best one yet. Here's our top picks.

  1. · Whole Salmon
  2. · Hollandaise Sauce
  3. · Roast Potatoes
  4. · Roast Turkey with Gravy
  5. · Roast Lamb and Boulangère Potatoes
  6. · Spiced Candied Walnuts
  7. · Simnel Cake
  8. · No-bake Christmas Cheesecake
  9. · Instant Homemade Chutney

Whole Salmon


Y'know what? Turkey isn't for everyone. When you have a big family Christmas, there's always guaranteed to be one pescatarian in your midst - perhaps it's you. Or maybe you just have a family member who isn't that hot on turkey. Don't let that person sit at your dining table pushing potatoes and sprouts round their plate whilst everyone else gorges on turkey legs like it's the 16th Century and they're all King Henry VIII. With its meaty texture and delicate taste, salmon is the perfect fish to serve alongside your turkey. Not only that, but it makes you look so fancy. In fact, even if there's no pescatarians you should still serve a salmon, because it's a fish that's loved by everyone. For a twist, Mr Martin lays the salmon atop a bed of oranges and onions. You can try it out here.

Hollandaise Sauce

First thing you'll learn in Salmon 101: You can't serve the fish without a side of hollandaise sauce. It's like serving turkey without gravy. Christmas pudding without brandy cream. It's definitely frowned upon, if you ask us. No salmon is complete without the creamy sauce. And whilst creating a sauce using eggs can seem like a daunting task for someone who's got so many things to think about on Christmas day, this one could not be easier. Really - it's only got two instructions to the method, and one of those is "serve salmon". It doesn't get much easier than that, my friend. Get the recipe here.

Roast Potatoes

It's a common misconception that the hardest part of a Christmas dinner is the turkey. A turkey is a turkey: you shove it in the oven filled to the brim with stuffing and play the waiting game, right? It's the roast potatoes that are the centrepiece of any roast dinner. A roast potato can be a myriad of different things depending on who's cooking them: Maybe your ma does 'em light and fluffy whilst your dad gets that crispiness that is to die for. Yes, the potato is the hardest thing to get right. There's low-key expectations to those taters. If the turkey goes wrong it's fine - your mum has probably brought a fallback chicken with her and snuck it into the fridge. But no one brings spare spuds, do they?

I can tell I've panicked you. You thought potatoes were the least of your worries, right? Look, don't worry - James has got your back. He's got the easiest recipe, and all you need is potatoes, goose fat and a sprinkle of sea salt, if you fancy it. Give it a go here.

Roast Turkey with Gravy

So y'know earlier, when we said that the turkey's not that important? Yeah, it's still pretty important. Your Ma might bring a backup, but you wanna prove her wrong. And really, the turkey's not too hard - as long as you know what you're doing. Luckily, you don't even have to know what you're doing, not really, because James does, and he's got a step-by-step guide to cooking your glorious bird. And with ASDA being the Turkey Retailer of the Year, you know that bird is gonna be good before you've even put it in the oven - so you're already one step ahead of whoever made the dinner last year. Not only that, James's recipe teaches you how to make a top-notch gravy using the turkey juices and a touch of marmite. Get yourself a glass of wine and check it out here.

Roast Lamb and Boulangère Potatoes

For those big bird naysayers in your family lamb is a perfect, inexpensive alternative. And just look at it. Just look at that beautiful piece of meat. How impressive would that look at the centre of your table, surrounded by veg and potatoes? Now this might come as a surprise to you, and don't tell the fam, but it's kinda easy to prepare for: simply stud the lamb with garlic and rosemary and place it on a rack in the oven above the potatoes. Done!

Speaking of the potatoes, don't let the "Boulangère" scare you - that's just a fancy word for "potatoes and onions" - and delicious ones at that. In fact they're the perfect alternative side dish to make if you ever find yourself cooking for a date - they're super easy to make but sound ever so fancy, which means they'll also impress all your relatives that expected you to burn the vegetables and dry out the turkey. Take that nan, you pessimist! Get the recipe for these two mouth-watering alternatives here.

Spiced Candied Walnuts

So the presents have been opened and everyone's getting a bit peckish whilst they wait for their dinner. It's hardly surprising: all the things you got going on in that kitchen undoubtedly smells uh-mazing. But to stop your sis popping her head round the door every ten minutes, asking "Is it ready yet?" you NEED these candied walnuts. Are they sweet? Are they savoury? Who knows! It's one of life's great mysteries. But all we do know is that they taste delicious, and don't even take that much prep. Check out how to make them here.

Simnel Cake

Hey, Christmas puddings aren't for everyone. They're too dense, and that whole setting-them-on-fire thing? Dangerous, especially near all those polyester onesies you're all sporting. Simnel cake is a perf alternative to a Christmas pudding. It's comprised of a light fruit cake with two layers of marzipan, and I'll be honest with you: this one takes a bit of work, so maybe don't leave it to the morning of the main event. Put an evening aside, pop on your Michael Buble Christmas album, pour yourself a mug of steaming hot mulled wine, and get to work. What could be better than that? Recipe here.

No-bake Christmas Cheesecake

You know that age-old saying, "If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen"? That doesn't apply here. Literally. This cheesecake requires no space in the oven, and is so easy to throw together that it won't occupy much space in your mind either. Just in case you've left the dessert until the last minute, don't panic: James's no-bake cheesecake is also no stress. It is stress-free. You could even trust someone else to give you a hand with it, if you want. And look - look how pretty! Cheesecake is the universal food of the people. Finding someone that doesn't like cheesecake is as elusive as Father Christmas himself. So keep the family happy and keep the pressure down. Try it here.

Instant Homemade Chutney

So you've had the starter, the main, the dessert, the second dessert, and now it's time for the cheeseboard. Don't kid yourself - you've got room for it. You've got your stretchiest trousers on. This is the event you've been practicing for all month! And whilst we don't suggest attempting to make your own pasturised goods, we do recommend that you give James's chutney a go. It takes around 20 minutes to make, and contains pears, apples, cranberries and cinnamon, which all sounds like it would be perf on top this festive savoury Triple Layered Pie - all the meats, all the cheese, all the cranberries, all wrapped up in buttery pastry. You can give the chutney a go here.

And the best thing about all these recipes? They're going to give you the confidence to make Crimbo dinner every damn year! So if you think you can handle these nine recipes - which, by the way, you totally can - think of all the marvellous foods you can make with a trip to ASDA and a little bit of Christmas imagination (AKA, a glass of your nan's sherry). Pop into your local ASDA store to find out more about how you can cater for the whole clan this year.

What are your top Christmas dinner tips? Let us know! @sofeminineUK

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Pascale Day
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