Paul Flynn suggests doing most of your Christmas dinner preparation on the 22nd and 23rd. This is the perfect time to prep vegetables, make gratin potatoes, stuff turkey etc..

Ingredients

Paul Flynn suggests doing most of your Christmas dinner preparation on the 22nd and 23rd. This is the perfect time to prep vegetables, make gratin potatoes, stuff turkey etc..

Christmas Soup
Serves
8

Note: I like to add a ready-made mulled wine into the soup, it adds that magic touch of Christmas.

  • 2 red onions (268g) peeled and sliced.
  • 1 turnip (934g) peeled and diced.
  • 1 pkt carrot and parsnip (500g) peeled, trimmed and diced.
  • 2 pears (375g) peeled, cored, and diced.
  • 1 knob of butter (50g).
  • A little sage or thyme.
  • 2 1/2 ltrs water.
  • 1 chicken stock cube.
  • 2 glasses of mulled wine (350mls).
  • A pinch of cranberries.
  • A little lightly whipped cream (optional).
  • Salt and pepper.

Rillette of Salmon with Crème Fraiche, Horseradish, and Herbs
Serves 4

  • 225g/8 oz of poached salmon flaked
  • 175g/6oz of smoked salmon (cut into half cm dice)
  • 3 tablespoons Crème Fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon of creamed horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped chives
  • Salt and pepper
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 squeeze of lemon juice

Thai Pickled Cucumber

  • 120g caster sugar
  • 150 mls water
  • 120 mls rice wine vinegar
  • 4 Thai red shallots, finely sliced or small brown shallots if you can’t get them
  • 1 long red chilli cut into thin strips, the seeds can be removed for less heat
  • 4 cm piece of fresh root ginger, cut into matchstick strips
  • 1 cucumber
  • 20g coriander leaves
  • 20 g mint leaves

Spanish Roast Duck
Serve
s 4

  • 2 ducks(2.2kg each)
  • 500 mls water
  • 2 heaped tspns of paprika, mixed with warm water to form a paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Orange, chorizo and almond stuffing
  • Some fresh herbs, thyme bay or sage

Chorizo, Orange, and Almond Stuffing 

  • 2 packets of fresh breadcrumbs (800g)
  • I deluxe tub (150g)of roasted and salted almonds ,lightly crushed.
  • 150g of butter.
  • I lg mild onion (270g) peeled and diced.
  • Zest of 1 orange.
  • I/3 of a chorizo (100g) peeled and cut into small dice.
  • A little chopped fresh thyme .
  • Salt and pepper.

Roast Parsnips with Sherry and Bacon
Serves
4

  • 6 medium parsnips peeled
  • 100 mls  of water
  • 1 pkt of lardons 
  • 100mls of cream sherry or cider
  • 1tbsp of honey
  • A twist of pepper no salt
  • 1tbsp of butter
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • A sprig of fresh herb (thyme, sage or bay)

Ice Cream Cake with Sticky Plums
Serves
8- 10  

  • 2 pkts meringue nests..16 nests
  • 500ml whipping cream
  • 8 large RIPE plums.. Or 12 small ones
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 250 mls sparkling Apple Juice
  • A few fresh Bay leaves(optional).

Method

Christmas Soup
This would be a very nourishing soup sensibly made with some of the Christmas leftovers, but here I'm making it from scratch as its always a lovely winter soup.

However, the addition of some shredded turkey and ham would be lovely along with any cooking juices that might be lingering pleasantly around them.

  1. Sweat the onions gently in the butter for 10 minutes, making sure there's a lid on the pot for best effect. Add the carrots, parsnips, turnips and sage Continue to sweat the vegetables for a further 10 minutes then add the pears water, mulled wine and stock cube.
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes then blend until smooth, then season.
  3. When ready serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of whipped cream and a scattering of cranberries.

Rillette of Salmon with Crème Fraiche, Horseradish, and Herbs
This is something we used to do way back in the 80’s at Nico’s. It is perfect with toast, brown bread or blinis, accompanied with some pickled cucumber as a starter or on some croutons as finger food.

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Serve lightly chilled.

Thai Pickled Cucumber

  1. Combine the sugar, water, and vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat when the sugar dissolves and allow to cool.
  2. It should taste both sour and sweet. This can be prepared in advance and left in the fridge.
  3. Place the shallots, chilli, and ginger in a bowl.  Leaving the skin on the cucumber, slice it lengthways into quarters. Remove the seeds from the centre.
  4. Slice the cucumber at an angle into thin strips about 5 cm long and mix with the shallots, chilli, and ginger. Add the coriander and mint leaves. 
  5. Pour over the vinegar/sugar liquid. Mix and serve at room temperature. This should always be put together at the last minutes so that it stays fresh and crisp.

Spanish Roast Duck

  1. Trim the excess fat from inside and outside the duck at both ends.
  2. Keep some of the fat to put at the opening once the duck has been stuffed to stop the stuffing drying out.
  3. Gently score the skin of the duck to allow some of the fat to run out during cooking about 4 cuts per breast will do.
  4. Put the stuffing into the cavity but don’t over-stuff or compress it too much as this will result in a heavy stuffing then place a little of the excess fat at the mouth of the cavity.
  5. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees
  6. Rub salt and pepper onto the skin 
  7.  Put the herbs and the water into a deep roasting tray, place a wire rack securely on the tray and the Ducks on the rack then put in the oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Turn down the oven to 180 degrees, brush evenly with the paprika paste and leave to cook for a further 1 hr 20 mins.
  9. Remove the ducks and keep warm. It is important to let them rest for 15 minutes or so before carving.

Chorizo, Orange, and Almond Stuffing
This stuffing is mega, I'm of the opinion that chorizo improves everything and with the orange and the crunch of the almonds it really makes a lovely and different stuffing.

Note: There should be enough stuffing for two birds plus a little left over. I love to use this stuffing with Turkey or chicken also.

  1. Cook the onion gently in the butter for 10 minutes then add the chorizo.
  2. Cook for further 2-3 minutes until the chorizo starts to soften then add your breadcrumbs, orange, almonds, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Roast Parsnips with Sherry and Bacon

  1. Cut the top off your parsnips and cut them in 1/2 lengthways
  2. Lay the parsnips flat on a roasting dish
  3. Add the water sherry and herb then scatter over the bacon and dot the butter on top, drizzle the oil and season
  4. Cover with foil making sure it’s nice and tight on the tray so no steam escapes
  5. When cooking preheat your oven to 180deg
  6. Put the tray in and cook for 20 mins (this part can be done in advance if you like)
  7. Take the foil off drizzle over the honey and turn the parsnips, cook for another 15 minutes until the parsnips are cooked and shiny when turned in the juice.

Ice Cream Cake with Sticky Plums

  1. Line a large pudding bowl with clingfilm making sure you leave a decent overhang to cover the cake. It helps if you brush the bowl with a little oil. 
  2. Whip the cream and break the meringue into the cream ..it's ok if they are in all different shapes and sizes and fold everything together gently.
  3. Spoon the mix into the bowl and press down to remove any air pockets .bring the overhanging Clingfilm over the cake and press down to form a flat top.
  4. Put into the Freezer until needed

For the Plums:

  1. Set your oven to 180deg
  2. Quarter the plums, remove the stones and scatter on a baking tray with the sugar and splarkling apple juice.
  3. Bake for 25- 30 minutes (this will depend on how big and how ripe the plums are)
  4. To serve, take the cake out of the freezer 10 minutes before you need it, it will be easier to get out of the mould.
  5. Turn out onto a platter scatter the Plums around and decorate ... Let everyone dig in.

Note: This is a brilliant Christmas cake but you can use it any time of the year, it's particularly good as a summer cake with lots of raspberries and lemon curd.

The cake needs to be frozen at least 6 hours ahead of time. Make it up to 2 weeks ahead of time. It'll be perfect and stress-free.