Rachel Burden on what she'll be eating this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 00:00 16 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:51 24 October 2015
BBC 5Live presenter Rachel Burden lives just outside Knutsford with her husband and three children. She explains how family and food - and lots of it - is what makes her Christmas special
I don’t usually welcome the premature arrival of Christmas. The roadside pubs advertising Christmas meals in August and M&S clearing the decks for the decorations. But I walked into my house from an early shift at BBC 5Live one morning a couple of weeks ago and was hit by the sharp, tangy and unmistakably festive smell of fruits and spices.
My mother was in the kitchen, mixing up the Christmas cake. Sitting on the side were about two dozen mince pies, still steaming and sticky from the oven. My reluctance suddenly swept aside, I scoffed one in a single mouthful.
Christmas cooking is a big thing in our house. Being a naturally competitive - and hungry - family, everyone likes to help out. The dishes have become increasingly elaborate – my brother’s pork stuffing in a basket of ribs last year was a thing of beauty which was as pleasurable to look at as it was to eat. We had a Christmas Eve fish-pie bake-off which left everyone incredibly well-fed, but failed to resolve the annual debate of what makes the best fish pie-topping – puff pastry or mash (although there was broad consensus on the acceptability of ketchup as accompaniment).
Christmas is also an excellent time if left-overs are your thing. They are definitely our thing. My dad’s Boxing Day favourite is Christmas pudding, reheated in a frying pan with brandy butter for breakfast. My husband will regularly eat a second Christmas dinner late at night over the poker, mixing up all the bits and pieces in a saucepan with gravy. He calls it ‘Warmed-Up’. I call it baby food.
Last year I managed to scavenge the left-overs away from the poker players to keep for a Boxing Day dinner which in the end was almost better received than the previous day’s Christmas dinner. Let’s face it, if you wake up on the 26th December to find the brandy bottle is empty and you’re down to the last strawberry creams in the chocolate tin, you don’t want to have to prepare anything overly complicated for a houseful of guests. I’ve no doubt you’ve all got your own versions of this, but if you haven’t done it before, you are truly missing out.
Boxing Day Everything Pie
Ingredients: leftovers, ready-made puff pastry, egg
Method: shove everything that’s leftover from your Christmas dinner into a pie dish (meat, ham, sausages, veg, roast potatoes, stuffing, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, gravy, the lot – avoiding crackers toys where possible). Cover it with a puff pastry lid, brush over some egg and whack it in the oven.
It’s incredibly tasty and you don’t need to serve anything with it – although we kept the left-over red cabbage and had that on the side. What’s more, a recent study suggested reheated food is better for you than when it’s cooked first time round. So tuck in with relish! It’s not gluttony, it’s good for you. Happy Christmas.
Rachel Burden presents BBC5Live Breakfast, Mondays to Fridays, 6-9am.
Tweet her at @rachelburden.