Julie Neville shares her festive family treats

PUBLISHED: 09:19 22 November 2020 | UPDATED: 10:21 23 November 2020

Team Neville: Harvey, Julie, Phil and Isabella are looking forward to a foodie Christmas Day

Team Neville: Harvey, Julie, Phil and Isabella are looking forward to a foodie Christmas Day

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Christmas at home with Julie and Phil Neville

Julie Neville in her Christmas kitchenJulie Neville in her Christmas kitchen

Christmas Day at home in Cheshire with Julie and Phil Neville is one of the few times when food takes second place to football.

Julie is queen of the kitchen all year round and 2020 has given her the chance to concentrate on her Home Cooking with Julie website, here YouTube channel here and Instagram page homecookingwithjulieneville to spend extra special time in the kitchen where for most of the year she cooks up healthy food for England Women’s Team manager Phil, their son Harvey, 18, who is on Manchester United’s book and daughter Isabella, 16.

Christmas starts a week early when Julie does all her festive shopping, and then in the run-up to the big day prepares as much as possible in advance, such as chopping and bagging onions, and measuring out ingredients for her array of sweet treats (see some of her favourite recipes below).

On the big day itself, she likes to be on her own in the new kitchen of the family home in Hale (Phil famously has never even made a cup of coffee during their 21 years of marriage).

This year, regulations permitting, she hopes to host a family day for 10 including her parents, serving turkey, a big ham and all the trimmings. Plus a dessert table full of all the indulgences former Manchester United, Lionesses’ boss and football commentator Phil, and young star Harvey might be able to enjoy as they take a short break from professional sport.

The only shop-bought treat on the table will be a Christmas pudding: “For my dad, and because it is traditional,” says Julie, who will be making sticky toffee pudding for the rest of her guests, who she hopes might include Phil’s family if they are not able to have their traditional Christmas day restaurant lunch this year.

“I love to be in the kitchen and especially early on Christmas Day,” says Julie.”It’s all system go from first thing inn the morning.”

You can find out about how Julie feeds her athletes Phil and Harvey when they are back at work in the January issue of Cheshire Life.

CHRISTMAS TREE MERINGUES

These look too good to eat. A perfect centre table piece and are loved by both adults and children.

Watch the video tutorial

TIME TO MAKE TWO HOURS INCLUDING COOKING AND COOLING

SERVES 12

Ingredients

4 room temperature egg whites

250g caster sugar

Quarter teaspoon cream of tartar

Half a teaspoon vanilla extract

Green food colouring

Christmas sprinkles

Method

Preheat the oven to 120oc.

Place the egg whites into the mixing bowl and using an electric whisk, start to whisk.

Add in the cream of tartar and vanilla and continue to whisk until starting to form soft peaks.

Gradually add in half of the sugar a tablespoon at a time whisking between each addition.

Add in the green food colouring and continue whisking.

Continue adding in the rest of the sugar then whisk until forming stiff peaks and you have a smooth glossy mixture.

Spoon into a piping bag with a star nozzle fitted.

Pipe onto baking sheets lined with parchment then sprinkle over the Christmas sprinkles.

Place in the oven for around an hour then turn the oven off and open the door slightly, Leave for another hour before removing.

Allow to cool completely on the baking tray.

CANDY CANE FUDGE

SERVES 24

TIME TO MAKE 10 MINUTES

This is the quickest fudge to make yet totally delicious and the candy canes are the perfect festive addition. I am sure they must eat these in the North Pole.

Ingredients

1 can sweetened condensed milk 397g

Two cups of milk chocolate either chips or chopped into small pieces

One teaspoon vanilla extract

One box of 12 candy canes

Method

Butter a square baking tin and then line with baking parchment leaving an overhang to enable easy removal of the fudge once set.

Place the condensed milk and chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water and stir until melted. Once combined and smooth add in the vanilla extract then pour into the baking tin.

Smash up the candy canes and sprinkle over the top of the fudge.

Leave to cool completely (you can place in the fridge)

Once cool and set, remove from the pan and cut into squares.

Store in an airtight container.

CHOCOLATE ORANGE BUNDT CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ORANGE GANACHE

SERVES 10

TIME TO MAKE ONE HOUR 15 MINUTES

Well if you want a Christmas table centrepiece this is it. Beautiful, rice and decadent. It almost looks too good to slice into.

Ingredients

300g plain flour

85g cocoa powder

One tsp baking soda

Half a teaspoon cinnamon

450g granulated sugar

Four large room temperature eggs

One teaspoon vanilla extract

Two tablespoons orange zest

225g unsalted butter at room temperature

280ml freshly squeezed orange juice

Quarter teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 165oc.

Grease and flour a bundt cake pan.

Firstly whisk together the dry ingredients of flour, salt, cinnamon, cocoa powder, baking soda.

In the mixing bowl of an electric whisker, place the butter and sugar and beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy and pale in colour - 2-3 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated before adding the next egg.

Add in the vanilla extract.

Start to add in the flour and alternate with the orange juice then fold in the orange zest.

Pour into the bundt tin and tap on the work surface to release any air bubbles.

Place in the oven for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Leave to cool completely before covering in ganache.

Chocolate orange ganache:

340g dark chocolate chopped finely

320ml double cream

One tablespoon finely grated orange zest

One tablespoon butter

One teaspoon orange extract

Method

Place the cream into a saucepan and add the orange zest. Heat until bubbles start to appear around the edges then remove from the heat.

Add the cream to the chocolate and leave for a minute then start to stir until you have a smooth glossy mixture.

Add in the butter and orange extract and stir until the butter has melted.

Pour over the cooled cake.

GINGERBREAD CUPCAKES WITH CINNAMON BUTTERCREAM

Watch the video tutorial

SERVES 12

TIME TO MAKE ONE HOUR

These are Christmas all wrapped up in a cupcake. I doubt anyone will be able to resist these delicious treats. I hope that there is one next to my stocking on Christmas Eve.

Ingredients

25g cornflour

190g plain flour

One and a half teaspoons baking powder

One teaspoon cinnamon

One teaspoon ground ginger

Half a teaspoon ground nutmeg

Quarter of a teaspoon ground clove

Half a teaspoon salt

Two large room temperature eggs

One-third of a cup of molasses (80ml)

One-third of a cup of room temperature milk (80ml)

115g room temperature unsalted butter

100g dark brown sugar

One teaspoon vanilla extract

Buttercream:

225g room temperature butter

One teaspoon vanilla extract

One tablespoon ground cinnamon

450g icing sugar

Three tablespoons cream or milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 180oc and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

Sieve the flour, cornflour, spices and salt together.

Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix until light, fluffy and pale in colour.

Add the eggs one at a time until each is incorporated before adding in the next.

Add in the vanilla extract followed by the molasses.

Once combined add in half of the flour mixing on low speed and once combined add in the milk.

Finish by adding in the remaining flour and mix until just combined or you will end up with tough cupcakes.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases and place in the oven for between 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Once cooled make the buttercream.

Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat until soft and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar and cinnamon as well as the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Add the milk one tablespoon at a time so you only add what you need until you achieve the desired consistency.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a star nozzle fitted and pipe onto the cupcakes.

Top with festive decorations.

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