The best thing about Christmas is, obviously, the food. Because it’s such an important part of the season, cooking anything festive can feel daunting— here’s four of my favourite books which will help take off the pressure.
The Christmas Chronicles, Nigel Slater
The Christmas Chronicles is the winter cookbook. As well as advice on buying Christmas trees and scented candles, you’ll find recipes for a huge variety of seasonal winter dishes alongside the traditional Christmas favourites. Think a gorgeous sprout and clementine salad, a bright and fruity Christmas cake, and recipes for sides and centrepieces to make Christmas dinner special. Nigel’s travel vignettes are wonderful too – be ready to impulse-buy flights to Nuremberg just for the Christmas markets.
Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection, Mary Berry
The perfect book for a straightforward, hassle-free Christmas. It’s full of clear, reliable recipes for all the Christmas favourites, from Mary’s ever-reliable hands. Some of Mary’s recipes can be a little old-fashioned, but her Christmas Collection has dozens of bright, modern takes on festive favourites that you know you can rely on, as well as solid instructions for the Christmas food shop and for preparing all the traditional favourites. In Mary we trust.
Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi
For me, Christmas isn’t Christmas without the bronzed breast of a roasted bird on the dinner table surrounded by goose fat potatoes. But not everybody eats meat, and this first book from vegetable whisperer Ottolenghi will give you and your veggie or vegan guests bright salads and beautiful, Middle Eastern-inflected roasted veg that will keep everybody ’round the table happy. Vegetarian-friendly dishes and sides without the abject misery of trying to cook (or worse, eat) a “tofurkey”.
Nigella Christmas, Nigella Lawson
The most practical, useful Christmas cookbook on my shelf. Straightforward recipes, written in that wonderful, humoured, conversational tone that only Nigella has, where you feel like she’s in the kitchen guiding you as you cook. There’s a whole chapter of recipes for things you can give friends as gifts (thrifty and thoughtful!), and another for boozy festive drinks. Nigella also includes a detailed, practical guide to cooking Christmas dinner that tells you exactly what time you should be putting your tatties on so they’re ready for dinner at three. Domestic goddess indeed.