If your Christmas dinner could do with a flavour update for 2020, we’ve got just the man to help.
Ryan Riley, founder of Life Kitchen, has published a book of Christmas recipes guaranteed to delight your tastebuds – and it’s completely free to order, bar the £2.95 postage.
Life Kitchen primarily works with people living with cancer to help them taste food again, but their recipes are meant for everyone to enjoy.
Ryan told The Boutique Handbook: ‘The idea for the Christmas cookbook was to make it as simple as possible, but include dishes with maximum flair.
‘We also wanted to make it free for everyone as it’s been such a tough year.’
There are 21 recipes in A Life Kitchen Christmas, which is divided into three chapters: The Night Before Christmas, The Main Event and Boxing Day and Beyond.
Here Ryan shares his favourite dishes from the book with us, including Mam’s Cauliflower Cheese Jackets, a recipe inspired by his late mother Krista.
Stuffed Leftover Yorkshire Puds
50g dried porcini mushrooms
200ml boiling water
8 leftover Yorkshire puddings
8 teaspoons mint jelly or sauce
8 tablespoons stuffing
8 slices of leftover roast meat
8 teaspoons cranberry sauce
8 rosemary sprigs (optional)
1 beef stock cube
1. Place the mushrooms into a heatproof jug and pour over the boiling water. Leave to rehydrate for 10 minutes, then drain the mushrooms reserving the liquid to make a little umami-packed gravy later. Chop the mushrooms up as finely as you can.
2. Cut a hole in the tops of the puddings if there isn’t one already and line them up on a baking tray.
3. Add 1 teaspoon of mint jelly or sauce and 1 tablespoon of stuffing into each pudding cavity. Sprinkle in some of the mushrooms and then roll up the slices of meat and push those into the cavities, too.
4. Add 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce, and a rosemary sprig, if you wish. To make the umami gravy, pour the mushroom stock into a small saucepan.
5. Crumble in the beef stock cube and place the gravy over a medium–high heat.
6. Bring to the boil until the liquid has thickened and reduces by half (about 15 minutes), then serve immediately alongside the puddings for dunking.
Mam’s (Cauliflower Cheese) Jackets
8 large potatoes
150g brie or camembert
150g unsalted butter
1 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 tablespoons miso paste
2 tablespoons pesto
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 240°C/220°C fan.
2. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and then bake them for 1 hour, until the skins are crispy but the flesh is tender to the point of a knife.
3. In a bowl mix together both kinds of cheese, along with the butter, cauliflower and miso.
3. Remove the potatoes from the oven and cut them in half. Carefully scoop out the potato flesh and add this to the cauliflower mixture.
4. Mix thoroughly and taste to check to the seasoning, adding salt and pepper, if needed.
5. Scoop the mixture generously back into the potato skins and return them to the oven for 30 minutes, until the tops are golden and crisp. Drizzle with pesto and serve immediately.
Brown Butter Humous
SERVES 2-4 AS A DIP
2 x 150g pots of Moorish smoked humous
50g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon za’atar
6–10 sage leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon za’atar
1. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan.
2. Spoon both pots of Moorish smoked humous into a wide serving bowl and smooth out with the back of a spoon.
3. Place a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the butter and allow to melt, then continue to cook it for about 2–3 minutes, until it begins to turn brown.
4. Add the za’atar and the sage leaves, leaving them for 10 seconds or so to get crispy.
5. Pour the fragrant brown butter with the crispy leaves over the humous in an even layer.
6. While the butter is cooking, gently warm your flat breads in the oven for 3–4 minutes, then remove them from the oven and spritz them with fresh lemon juice while they’re still hot. Cut them into wedges.
7. To serve, sprinkle the final teaspoon of za’atar over the humous and serve the wedges of flat bread alongside for dipping.
Mince Pies with Miso White Chocolate Ganache
12 ready-made individual tart cases
1 x 400g jar of mincemeat
75ml double cream
2 teaspoons miso paste
150g white chocolate, broken into small pieces
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1. Fill the tart cases with enough mincemeat to line the bottom of each
case, but be careful not to overfill. (You’ll have enough mincemeat left over for another batch.)
2. Pour the cream into a small saucepan on a low heat. Bring to a gentle
simmer, then whisk in the miso until fully incorporated.
3. Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour over the hot miso cream. Leave for 5 minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir to fully combine.
4. Place the tarts on a tray and slowly pour the white chocolate ganache into each case over the mincemeat, being careful not to let it overflow.
5. Sprinkle over the orange zest, then refrigerate the tarts until set. Once set, eat all the tarts yourself!
A Life Kitchen Christmas by Ryan Riley, Kimberley Duke and Moorish, is available to order online now at lifekitchen.co.uk
Photos courtesy of Life Kitchen