Christmas Pudding

Where would we be without a small fruit based, alcohol soaked pudding that requires igniting before serving? Some Christmas traditions you can’t live without. With a little bit of help from the Executive Chef at the Malmaison Hotels you can rustle up a storm in the kitchen, elevating your chef credentials to evangelical status.

Food is the Holy Grail of Christmas. This is really what it comes down to, isn’t? It’s the last thing you’ll think about before going to sleep and the first thing to occupy your mind when you wake up. What separates Christmas from any other Holiday spreads, like Easter or Thanksgiving, is the quantity. Never ever, in the history of mankind, has so much food been prepared for so few people to eat in one day. But some would argue that it’s not quantity - but the quality - that matters. John Woodward, from the boutique hotel group Malmaison, is a firm believer in this way of thinking - and eating 'I find most Christmas meals too big. Cut down on numbers and make the dishes count. Be smart about it, choose dishes that are easy to slice and quick to cook, like turkey breast wrapped in pancetta. Instead of goose, why not try rare breed English duck, it’s got a fantastic flavour, it comes in a good size for a family – and you can save the duck fat for the potatoes.

Preparation is key. Start the day before: it will make your life much easier. Don’t be afraid to try new dishes; Steak Tartare works perfectly in small bowls in the centre of the table; use beef fillet with finely diced red onion, ketchup, Worcester sauce, capers, gherkin and Tabasco sauce. But make sure you cherish traditions. In our house we’ve always had homemade mini sausage rolls and mini bacon croissant to have when opening the presents – I love them.' Bon appetite!