Friday, 23 December 2016

Recipes: Christmas around the world

Try something from a different culture for your Christmas meal


A hearty, well-spiced curry is a favourite for special occasions throughout the Caribbean region; goat or mutton are traditional choices but a slow-cooked lamb cut works just as well. Rice and beans, a local staple, make the perfect accompaniment. A West Indian Christmas always provides a feast, with glazed hams, macaroni and cheese pies, homemade coleslaws and pot roasts. On Christmas Eve, Jamaicans celebrate with a Grand Market Night, which sees the streets strung with fairy lights and filled with stalls, music and dancing.

Caribbean black cake (see above)

• Vegetarian
• Preparation time: 20 minutes + soaking and cooling
• Cooking time: 2 hours
• Makes: 16 slices

500g pack essential Waitrose Mixed Fruit
270g pack Waitrose Love Life Soft Prunes, roughly chopped
500ml dark rum
250g butter, softened
250g light brown
muscovado sugar
4 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Eggs, beaten
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp black treacle
200g self-raising flour

1. Put the mixed dried fruit and prunes in a bowl with the rum. Cover and leave to stand for at least 6 hours or overnight.

2. Tip the fruit and any unabsorbed rum into a food processor, and blend briefly until the fruits are chopped but not completely puréed.

3. Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2. Grease and line the base and sides of a 25cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl, and beat with an electric whisk until very smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until thickened and smooth. If the mixture starts to separate, add a little of the flour.

4. Stir in the vanilla and treacle, followed by the flour. Once the flour is mostly combined, tip in the dried fruit mixture and stir in gently until evenly distributed. Transfer to the tin and level the surface.

5. Bake for about 2 hours or until the surface of the cake feels firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin. The cake will most likely dip a little in the centre, but this is normal. Store in an airtight container where it will keep well for several weeks before cutting.

Rice & beans

• Preparation time: 10 minutes
• Cooking time: 20 minutes
• Serves: 6


2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
300g long grain rice
1 tbsp chopped thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tsp paprika
500-600ml chicken or
vegetable stock
50g creamed coconut, chopped
400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
400g can black-eyed beans, drained and rinsed

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion over a low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and rice, and cook for 1 minute.

2. Add the thyme, bay leaves, paprika and stock, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 10 minutes until the rice is tender and the stock is absorbed. Stir the rice occasionally during cooking and add a dash more stock or water if the rice dries out before it's cooked.

3. Stir in the coconut cream, both types of beans and cook gently for a further 3-5 minutes until the coconut has melted and the beans are hot. Stir frequently so the rice doesn't stick. Season and remove the bay leaves before serving.

Lamb & tomato curry

• Preparation time: 20 minutes + marinating
• Cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes
• Serves: 6


1 red chilli, finely chopped
50g fresh root ginger, grated
1½ tbsp Cooks' Ingredients Curry Powder
½ tsp ground allspice
4 x 330g packs essential Waitrose British Lamb Diced Shoulder
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp plain flour
500ml lamb stock
2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
600g Charlotte potatoes, cut into large chunks
450g pack Waitrose Classic Vine Tomatoes, skinned and cut into wedges

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Combine the chilli, ginger, curry powder and allspice in a large bowl. Add the lamb and turn in the spices until coated. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for about 1 hour.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large flameproof casserole and fry the lamb in batches until lightly browned. Lift out onto a plate and add the remaining oil and the onions. Fry gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for a further 1 minute. Stir in the flour and return the meat to the casserole. Pour in the stock and heat, stirring until barely simmering.

3. Cover with a lid and bake in the oven for 1 hour.

4. Add the tomato paste, potatoes and tomatoes to the casserole, and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes or until the potatoes and meat are very tender. Season if necessary and serve.


Mangalore is a west region on India's coast, north of Kerala. Mangalorean curries use plenty of coconut, warm spices and tamarind and often feature in festive celebrations. The spicy macaroon recipe is another regional favourite, flavoured with ground cashew nuts instead of the more familiar coconut or almonds.

Cardamom & cashew macaroons

These Mangalorean treats are good with coffee after a spicy curry. Ground cashew nuts replace the almonds and cardamom adds an exotic twist

• Vegetarian
• Gluten Free
• Preparation time: 15 minutes
• Cooking time:20 minutes
• Makes: 14 - 16


6 cardamom pods
125g cashew nuts
2 medium free range eggs, whites only
100g caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Crush the cardamom pods using a pestle and mortar, until the seeds are released. Discard the shells. Heat a small, dry frying pan and toast the seeds for a couple of minutes. Return to the mortar and crush to a coarse powder.

2. Blend 100g of the cashew nuts in a food processor until they're as fine as ground almonds. Roughly chop the remainder.

3. Whisk the egg whites in a thoroughly clean bowl until they form peaks. Gradually whisk in the sugar, a tablespoonful at a time. Add the ground cardamom with the last of the sugar. Stir in the ground cashews.

4. Drop dessert spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheet, spacing them slightly apart. Sprinkle with the chopped cashews.

5. Bake for about 20 minutes until lightly coloured and beginning to crisp. Leave for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Coriander chapatis

No Indian meal is complete without some good bread for mopping up your curry sauce

• Preparation time:10 minutes
• Cooking time:10 minutes
• Serves: 4


200g stoneground strong wholemeal bread flour, plus extra to dust
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp groundnut oil
½ x 28g pack fresh coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped

1. Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the oil and 100ml warm water and mix to a dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.

2. Add half the coriander and continue to knead until it's all incorporated. Divide the dough into 8 golf ball-sized pieces and roll to a 1-2mm thickness, roughly a 15cm circle.

3. Warm a large frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, pat off any residual flour from one of the breads and toast in the pan for 1-2 minutes on each side until puffed and golden. Wrap in a clean, damp tea towel to keep soft and warm until ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining dough. Serve scattered with the remaining coriander.

Mangalorean curry

This is a medium-strength, richly flavoured curry with plenty of coconut and fragrant spices. Serve with rice
• Gluten Free
• Preparation time:15 minutes
• Cooking time:1 hour 20 mins
• Serves: 4, as part of a larger meal


1 tsp ground turmeric
1 guinea fowl, cut into 4 (see Tip above)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
4 red onions, chopped
1 red chilli, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
400ml can coconut milk
2 tsp tamarind paste
2g jar Bart Freeze Dried Curry Leaves
Chopped coriander, to sprinkle

1. Rub the turmeric over the guinea fowl pieces and leave to stand while preparing the sauce.

2 Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan and fry 2 of the onions for 8-10 minutes until deep golden. Add the chilli, garlic, cumin and fenugreek, and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, scraping up the spices from the base of the pan. Tip into a food processor and add the tamarind paste. Blend until smooth.

3 Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining oil. Fry the curry leaves and remaining onions for 5 minutes. Lift out of the pan and fry the guinea fowl pieces on both sides until browned.

4 Return the onions to the pan with the coconut milk mixture and 100ml water. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook, stirring frequently until the guinea fowl is tender and thoroughly cooked, about 1 hour. Serve generously sprinkled with chopped coriander.


In Scandinavia a julbord is traditionally served on Christmas Eve, a smorgasbord of typically pickled fish, cold baked ham and a hot, substantial dish like a creamy potato fish bake. In Norway, Christmas is a much more laid back affair to the UK. It's simply a good honest meal, and much less extravagant gift giving. Rather than have one massive celebration, there tends to be smaller get-togethers throughout December and January.

Herring & beetroot salad

Just a spoonful of this richly flavoured salad will whet appetites for the rest of the meal.

• Prep time:5 minutes
• Serves: 6 as a starter


275g jar herrings in dill marinade
250g pack cooked beetroot
1 tbsp capers
¼ x 20g pack fresh dill, chopped
½ small red onion, sliced very thinly
2 tbsp double cream
6 thin slices of toasted rye bread, halved, to serve

1. Drain the herrings, reserving the marinade. Drain and dice the beetroot, and place into a bowl. Add the capers, dill, red onion and herrings.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved marinade and the cream to the bowl, and stir well to combine. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
3. Spoon the salad and juices onto small pieces of toasted rye bread to serve.

Potato & anchovy bake

Traditional recipes for this hearty dish use pickled sprats, but anchovies are really delicious and far more widely available. Don't be put off by the large quantity of anchovies – their flavour is readily absorbed by the potatoes and cream.

Prep time: 20 minutes
• Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
• Serves: 6


1.2 kg floury potatoes, eg King Edwards
100g jar anchovies in olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
300ml double cream
150ml milk
50g butter
50g breadcrumbs
Watercress or baby leaf salad, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Grease a large, shallow baking dish. Very thinly slice the potatoes, then cut across into fine chips. They should be almost matchstick sized, but don't worry if they end up chunkier.

2. Pour the oil from the anchovies into a large frying pan and gently fry the onions over a medium heat for 5 minutes to soften. Chop the anchovies into small pieces and mix with the onions. Using a slotted spoon, put the onion mixture into a bowl. Return the pan to the heat. Add the potatoes and turn in the oil left in the pan for 5 minutes. You may need to add a little extra oil.

3. Spread a quarter of the potatoes over the base of the baking dish. Spoon half the onion mixture on top, then another quarter of the potatoes. Layer the remaining onion mixture on top, then finally the rest of the potatoes. Combine the cream and milk with a little salt and black pepper, then pour into the dish.

4. Melt the butter and mix with the breadcrumbs. Scatter them over the surface of the potatoes. Bake for about 1 hour until the potatoes are tender and the breadcrumbs are golden. Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving with a watercress or baby leaf salad.

Julskinka crumbed ham

This is a sweet mustard and breadcrumb-crusted festive ham, served cold in wafer thin slices. It's always worth cooking a large joint so there are plenty of leftovers for grazing on!

• Preparation time:15 minutes + cooling
• Cooking time:1 hour 50 minutes
• Serves: 6, plus leftovers


2.3kg (approx) smoked or unsmoked British gammon joint
2 onions, halved
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tsp whole cloves
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp light brown muscovado sugar
25g white breadcrumbs

1. Put the gammon in a large saucepan and add the onions, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns and cloves. Top up with cold water to cover the meat completely. Bring very gently to a simmer, cover with a lid or foil and cook over your lowest heat for 1½ hours until the ham iscompletely cooked through. If the ham is not completely submerged in liquid, turn it halfway through cooking. Leave to cool in the liquid, overnight if more convenient.

2. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Drain the ham, remove any string and cut away the skin. Combine the mustard and sugar, and spread all over the fat. Press a layer of breadcrumbs on top, pushing down firmly with your hands. If liked, score the fat in a diamond pattern with the tip of a sharp knife.

3. Transfer to a roasting tin and bake for about 20 minutes until the breadcrumb crust is golden. Leave to cool, then chill until ready to serve.

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