forum: Food & Drink

#1 Tue 07 Nov 06 11:33pm

Dave Barker

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Member since Tue 29 Jun 04

Dave Barkers Christmas Kitchen...

Hi Guys,

It has been ages since my last post, so I thought that I would come back with a biggie!!!!! CHRISTMAS IS NEARLY HERE AGAIN shocked

I know that there was a LOT of people on here this time last year that needed some inspiration regarding Christmas dinner. I gave a few people some pointers, as did plenty of other members and I don't know about your Christmas, but mine turned out to be one of the tastiest meals of the year...I cooked for both mine and Stellas families about 20 in total! and it was a breeze belive it or not!!!!!

I thought that I would put a few ideas on here, some things that I did last year, plus some new ideas that I have come across since that I intend to try this xmas...

It would be really cool if you guys could add to them.Ideas for starter courses, mains, desserts, Christmas cake recipies, pannetone, stollen.... its all great. So please, use your imagination and lets all eat well this Christmas...

All the best
Dave Barker

Last edited by Dave Barker (Fri 13 Nov 09 11:14am)

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#2 Tue 07 Nov 06 11:53pm

Dave Barker

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Occupation Chef
From At the stove...
Member since Tue 29 Jun 04

Re: Dave Barkers Christmas Kitchen...


The starter course for the big day needs to be light, as the main course is such a belly filler!!!

Here are a couple of ideas for starters that I have tried in recent years that have proved to be BIG sucesses...

Everyone loves a nice rustic, home made soup! the idea is to use something that is in season and something that tastes fantastic!!!

The kids were hollowing out pumpkins the other day for halloween so we had LOADS of pumpkin flesh going spare, so I made a great soup... everyone liked it so much it is a contender for this years xmas starter.



50g butter
1 onion, chopped
1kg pumpkin,de-seeded and cubed
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves (from my garden)
a glass of white wine
2 tablespoons double cream
900ml fresh organic chicken stock,hot
an old parmasan cheese rind! plus extra for shavings for garnish!


First, melt the butter on a med-low heat, add the onion and pumpkin and cook for about 5 mins. Then add the galic and the bay leaves and cook again, for another 5 mins.

Add the wine and let it bubble for a couple of mins to evaporate off the alcohol a bit!!! then add the stock and the parmasan rind (this is a good way to get some great flavour from a thing that you normaly throw away)

Now increase the heat and boil the soup for 10 mins, or until the pumpkin is nice and soft. Then set aside to cool down slightly. When it has, remove the bay and rind...

Puree with a stick blender until really smooth. At his point you can loosen the soup up a little with water if it is too thick!

Stir in the cream and season well with salt and pepper, transfere the soup to a clean pan and heat til hot.

Ladel into warm bowls. Top each with a few thin shavings of parmasan and a good drizzle of  a great, grassy, peppery good quality extra virgin olive oil.

If you find the time serve with a chunk of still warm, freshly made bread.

Thats the first starter idea! I have a couple more....

How about you guys?


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#3 Tue 07 Nov 06 11:58pm


Occupation nurturer.of.little.soUls
From Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Member since Tue 17 Oct 06

Re: Dave Barkers Christmas Kitchen...

That pumpkin soup sounds delish!

Sammi  thumbsup

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#4 Wed 08 Nov 06 12:07am

Dave Barker

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Occupation Chef
From At the stove...
Member since Tue 29 Jun 04

Re: Dave Barkers Christmas Kitchen...


The second starter idea is one that I tried 2 or 3 xmas's ago when an old butcher friend of mine Alan, got hold of some brilliant venison loin a week or so before the big day....



12 whole shallots, unpeeled
2 tablespoons of olive oil
sprig of fresh tyme
1KG boned venison loin
2 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish
200ml pot creme fraiche
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
zest 1 orange


Pre heat the oven to 180oc gas mark 4

Toss the shallots in the oil, season and scatter into a dish with the tyme. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 mins or until soft.

Trim the fat and sinew from the loin of venison, season well and brush with olive oil.

Sear the meat all over in a hot pan until brown all over the set aside to cool for 30 mins or so.

Mix the grated horseradish into the creme fraiche, season well with salt, pepper and the vinegar.

very thinly slice the venison and arrange just 3 slices on a starter plate.

Peel the warm shallots and tear them in half. and scatter over the venison.

Dollop one small spoon of creme fraich onto each slice of the venison and sprinkle the plate with the rosemary and orange zest and lightly drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil.

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#5 Wed 08 Nov 06 12:24am

Dave Barker

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From At the stove...
Member since Tue 29 Jun 04

Re: Dave Barkers Christmas Kitchen...


This one is another goodie, one that I put on the menu at work last year.....boy! did it sell fast......

This fresh little salad has it all.... smokey, salty, sweet, citrus, creamy texture, herbs, nuts...




half a ball of mozarella
3 thinly sliced strips of good quality smoked salmon.
thinly sliced fennel strips
thinly sliced spring onion
hazelnut oil
rock salt
freshly milled black pepper


This salad is simplicity itself!

tear half a ball of mozarella and place it in the center of the plate.

sprinkle with salt, pepper and a small drop of the oil.

Very thinly slice the fennel and spring onions with a mandolin (finger slicer!!!) into a bowl and mix together with some of the clemantine juice.

Place one thinly cut slice of cross-section clemantine on top of the mozarella.

take a large pinch of the fennel/onion mix and place on top of the clemantine slice.

carefully scatter the strips of salmon on top of the fennel.

season with salt and cracked black pepper and drizzle with more clemantine juice and drizzle hazelnut oil around the plate!!!!


Last edited by DB27 (Wed 08 Nov 06 1:26am)

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#6 Wed 08 Nov 06 1:13am

Dave Barker

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Occupation Chef
From At the stove...
Member since Tue 29 Jun 04

Re: Dave Barkers Christmas Kitchen...


I always intend to try something a bit special for xmas dinner, but usually the traditional food always draws me back to doing turkey and veg...

A couple of years ago, I started working for a restaurant where they made plain old turkey and veg exciting!

Then, last year I came across jamies idea of using flavoured butters to add brilliant flavours to the veg... The different combos of flavour is endless.....

I have started this thread using quite traditional dishes, but please, if any of you guys have any dishes that you feel are good enough to share, please feel free to post them here....



4.5 oven ready turkey, with giblets
2 lemons
3 large rosemary sprigs
4 fresh bay leaves
1 small bunch fresh parsley stalks
50 g butter, room temp


Liver from the turkey giblets, chopped
25g dried porcini mushrooms
30g butter
100g pancetta, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
500g good quality, pork sausages, skins removed
200g cooked and peeled chestnuts, coursley chopped
chopped fresh sage
chopped freshparsley
25g fresh white bread crumbs
freshly grated nutmeg


Remove the turkey from the fridge. take out the giblets and set aside the liver. reserve the rest until you make the gravy.


place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water and soak for 20 mins.

melt the butter in a frying pan, add the pancetta and fry over medium heat until golden. add the onion and fry for 8-10 mins .

drain the mushrooms, reserving the water! again, for the gravy.

at this point add the coursly chopped livers to the pan and cook for a minute, transfere to a bowl and let the mixture go cold.

add the sausage meat, chestnuts, herbs, breadcrumbs, nutmeg and season the mix with salt and pepper.


Now, pre-heat the oven to 190oc / gas 5

Spoon some of the stuffing into the cavity of the bird.

put the rest into a lightly gresed baking dish and cover.set it aside .

Spike the lemons all over and season the body cavity of the bird, then insert the lemons, rosemary, bay leaves, and parsley stalks.

At this point you should calculate the birds cooking time... usually allow 20 mins per kilo of weight plus 90 mins for birds weighing less than 4kg!

Also, allow 20 mins for resting time, and 20 mins to cook the extra stuffing.

Pour 300ml of water into a big roasting tin and place a rack over it.

Sit the turkey on the rack and spread the butter all over the bird, season well with s and p!

Cover with foil and bake for calculated time!

uncover for the last 30 mins to brown the skin.

push a skewer into the thickest part of the birds leg, if the juices run clear, its cooked! if there are traces of pink return it to the oven for another 15 mins and try the same thing until the juices are clear.

Remove from the oven and rest an a carving / chopping board, cover with foil and leave alone for 30 mins! (this is the point that my mrs tries stealing some...every time)

Now, increase the oven temp to 200oc / gas 6.

Skim off the excess fat from th cooking juices and strain them into a jug and leave to settle for a min or 2.

skim again, them use this to make the gravy.

put the dish containing the extra stuffing into the oven and cook for 20 mins while you concentrate on the gravy...

Hope this all made sense.... will add the gravy recipie tomorrow... it's a little late now

Good night all..

Dave Barker

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#7 Wed 08 Nov 06 1:39am

Dave Barker

Forum champ
Occupation Chef
From At the stove...
Member since Tue 29 Jun 04

Re: Dave Barkers Christmas Kitchen...



1 tabelspoon of sunflower oil.
reserved giblets from last post.
4 banana shallots, sliced
1 large garlic clove, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
50g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
6 black peppercorns
30g butter
30g plain flour
cooking juices from the turkey from last post
porcini soaking liquor from last post


Heat oil in a saucepan, fry giblets over a high heat until well browned. add shallots, garlic, carrots,.celery and fry for 8 mins.

add the sliced mushrooms and cook for further 3 mins.

add bayleaves, peppercorns and 1 and a half litres of water bring to the boil the bring down to a simmer.

simmer, uncovered for 1 hour or so.

strain the stock into a jug and throw away the solids.

set aside until needed.

Melt butter in a clean pan.

add flour and cook for 1 min.

gradualy add the turkey cooking juices and mushroom liquor and the stock.

bring to boil, the reduce to a simmer.

reduce to a gravy and season well.

Serve hot.

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#8 Wed 08 Nov 06 2:41am


From Shanghai ;-)
Member since Thu 07 Apr 05

Re: Dave Barkers Christmas Kitchen...

For me there is only one starter that will do and I'm already drooling just thinking of it...

Foie Gras served with a lightly toasted brioche,confit d'oignon and a nice glass of Sauternes!Yummi.......



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#9 Wed 08 Nov 06 5:53am


Forum champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Dave Barkers Christmas Kitchen...

Seafood Cocktail
serve with cocktail sauce

1 pound crab meat
1 pound crab claws
1 pound shrimp 10/15 [should be 12 ]
12 baby octopus 
12 wooden skewer
1 head shredded lettuce [fine shred]
1 large lemon for juice
3 lemons quartered
2 rib celery cut into baton
12 sprigs mint

Serve the dressing in boats and pass it around.
Place lettuce in the bottom of the glass, season with lemon juice.  Layer the seafood, with the shrimp on top.  Place the octopus on the skewer.  Place the celery batons and the mint in the side of the glass.  Place lemon wedge [with a seafood/fish fork in it.] on the plate next to the glass.
Cook Octopus in salted boiling for 2 minutes no more.

Cocktail Sauce

1 jar [16 oz] chili sauce [mild]
1 pt heavy cream
juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoon capers [small]
1 tablespoon finely chopped white onion

Combine chili sauce lemon juice, onion and whisk until mixed. Then add  heavy cream and mix well.  Pour into a bowl and chill add capers just before serving.   Should be light pink and thick and creamy

Stuffed Leg of Lamb

5-6 lb. leg of lamb [boneless]
1/4-1/2 c olive oil [good one]
2  lemons juice of
4-5  cloves garlic cut into pieces
10  leaves of fresh mint

Day Before:
Wash the leg of lamb very well under running water.  Dry lamb well.   Open lamb up, remove any excess fat from the meat.   Make small holes in the inside of the leg of lamb.
Force the garlic piece into the holes.   Wash the lamb inside with the olive oil and the lemon.   Lay the mint leaves inside the lamb.  If you can find a net bag like your meat comes in, roll the lamb up and place inside the bag. [If not it needs to be tied up well.]
Rub the lamb all over with olive oil and lemon.   Set the lamb in the refrigerator over night, in a pan to keep all the juices in the pan [stainless steel, or glass].
Next Day:    Place the lamb  on a rack and bake it 350’  for about 1-1/2-2 hours or until  a internal thermometer read 165-170.   or longer if you prefer. But it should be at that temperature.

Now your boneless leg of lamb may come in this bag. wash the bag with soap and water and be sure to get all the soap out of it.

Tabouleh [Parsley Salad]

This MUST BE made the day before

3  bunches parsley, minced and drained WELL
2 bunches of mint, minced, drained WELL
3 1 bunch spring onions, chopped fine
½   c  bulgur  wheat fine #1  soaked
½   c bulgur wheat  coarse # 3 or 4
2 c  hot water
1/3 c  extra virgin olive oil
3 lemon juice of
½  teaspoon salt
4 tomatoes  cut in wedges or  2 boxes cherry tomatoes

Chop medium fine in a food processor [a little at a time] parsley, mint and onions.   Place on paper towels in a strainer and let drain while you are chopping it].  When finished chopping place in a towel [ you must bleach the towel as soon as you are done or at least set the towel in bleach water or you will have green towels] squeeze all the liquid out [this step is important so the dressing will not be watered down]   Combine wheat with the hot water and let stand for 1 hour.  Combine lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a jar and shake well.
Combine wheat, parsley mixture, and lemon mixture cover tightly and refrigerate over night.  Next day garnish with the tomatoes.

Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce

1 quart plain yogurt 
2 large cucumbers peeled and shredded, drained well [squeezed out]
1 small onion, minced
5 mint leaves fine shred
2 cloves garlic minced [optional]

Combine and refrigerate over night.

Christmas Spice Cake

1 1/3 C. butter
1 3/4 C. sugar
4 eggs
2 t. real vanilla extract
2 1/4 C. flour
1 T. orange zest
2 t. baking soda
1 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 t. allspice
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 C. grated zucchini
1 1/2 C. grated carrots
1 C. pecans, medium pieces
1 C.  walnuts, medium pieces
1/4 C. golden raisins
1/4 C. dark raisins

Orange Icing:

2 C. powdered sugar
water, as needed
1 t. orange extract

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Using a nonstick cooking spray, grease one large or two medium loaf pans. Line with wax paper and grease again.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly. Add the vanilla.

Sift the flour, orange zest, baking soda and spices together. Add to the butter mixture.

Add zucchini and carrots. Mix until just combined.

Stir in nuts and raisins.

Pour batter into the pan or pans and bake 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan, then cool completely.

Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Mix 1 teaspoon water with orange extract. Add to sugar and mix thoroughly. Add water, if needed, 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until icing is of a spreadable consistency.

Spread over top of cooled cake.

Christmas Pudding

3 C. white bread crumbs, lightly packed (about a 1/2 lb. loaf, crust on)
1 C. black raisins
1 C. yellow raisins
1 C. currants, chopped
1 1/3 C. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. mace
1/2 t. nutmeg
8 oz. (2 sticks) butter, melted
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
few drops of almond extract
1/2 C. bitter orange marmalade

For flaming:
1/2 C. 151 rum or whiskey

Toss the bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl with the raisins, sugar and spices. Then toss with the melted butter, and finally with the rest of the ingredients.

To steam, you must use a container with a very tight lid which will stay sealed throughout the cooking, about 6 hours.

Pack the pudding mixture into the container; cover with a round of wax paper and the lid. Set the container on the steamer in the pot, and add enough water to come a third of the way up the sides of the container. Cover the pot tightly, bring to a simmer, and steam about 6 hours. Check occasionally to make sure the water hasn’t boiled off.

The pudding is done when it is a dark walnut-brown color and fairly firm to the touch.

To serve, pour 1/2 cup of hot 151 rum or whiskey around the pudding. Flame at the table

Apple and Gingerbread Trifle

2 C. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 t. ground ginger
1 t. cinnamon
8 T. (1 stick) soft, unsalted butter
1/4 C. sugar
1 large egg
2/3 C.  molasses
2/3 C. milk

3 lbs.  apples
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. water

Whipped Cream
2 C. cream
1/4 C. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

2 cups toasted pecan pieces, for finishing

1 8-x-8-x-2-inch pan, buttered and the bottom lined with a square of parchment or wax paper

1 2- to 3-quart trifle or other crystal or glass bowl

For the gingerbread, preheat oven to 350° F. and set a rack in the middle level. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a mixing bowl and stir well to mix. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, by hand or by machine on medium speed. Beat in egg, and continue beating until smooth. Stir molasses and milk together and add to butter mixture with dry ingredients. Fold batter together with a rubber spatula. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake gingerbread about 35 to 45 minutes, until well risen and firm in the center. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then unmold to a rack to cool completely.

For the applesauce, peel and core the apples and cut coarsely. Place in a pan with a cover with the sugar and water and cook, covered, for 5 minutes, until the apples begin to disintegrate. Uncover and cook until slightly thickened, stirring often. Cool and puree in food processor, or leave chunky if you wish.

For the whipped cream, combine all ingredients and whip by machine until the cream forms a very soft peak.

To assemble, cut the gingerbread into thin vertical slices and layer in a bowl alternating with applesauce, whipped cream and toasted pecans. End with whipped cream and pecans. Chill until serving time and serve with a large spoon.

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#10 Wed 08 Nov 06 9:49am

Dave Barker

Forum champ
Occupation Chef
From At the stove...
Member since Tue 29 Jun 04

Re: Dave Barkers Christmas Kitchen...

Great stuff VENUS!

I like the sound of the apple and gingerbread trifle...and a nicr idea, putting fresh mint inside the lamb...

Thanks mate


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