Tradition is all well and good, but when it comes to food, the rules are there to be broken! Thanks to these inspiring ideas from Jamie magazine, there’s no better time to tweak your festive menu.

Go on, guys – make this the year you discover the dishes that will become your family favourites in years to come.

WE WISH YOU A VEGGIE CHRISTMAS

The news that a vegetarian needs to be catered for over Christmas can often provoke panic in a host, and veggies can sometimes be left feeling overlooked in the midst of a sausage, bacon and stuffing-filled feast (and that’s just the side dishes!). However, the many warming spices synonymous with Christmas – think cinnamon, clove and citrus – are the key to producing veg-based dishes that even committed carnivores will love. Food writer Anna Jones looked to Persian flavours to inspire her beautiful squash and pistachio roast featured in this month’s Jamie magazine;, the brash, punchy flavours lending themselves perfectly to this delicious vegetarian dish. A mushroom stuffing is also a great option for veggies and meat-eaters alike – the earthy, big-hitting flavours of the porcini will ensure it holds its own alongside rich meats and sides.

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MAKE A FISH LIST

Aside from enjoying a traditional fish pie on Christmas eve and the odd bit of smoked salmon, seafood can get a bit sidelined during the meat-heavy holiday period.  But a really good fish dish is definitely worthy of centre stage on the big day. Jamie shares his festive fishy favourites in this month’s Jamie magazine, including this epic jerk gravlax, which would be a really special way to start your dinner. “Curing your own fish is seriously easy, and something you can prep in advance,” says Mr O. “This spiced version adds a real festive vibe.” Or, go all out and make a whole fish the main event – this sea bass wrapped in puff pastry will make everyone smile when you bring it to the table. Just mix up your sides – try buttery potatoes tossed in salsa verde, Mediterranean-inspired roasted veggies and elegant steamed winter greens.

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MEAT AND JOY

A traditional roast bird is a brilliant festive centrepiece, but not everyone wants to be eating turkey sandwiches until New Year’s Eve! If you’re not expecting a houseful this year, think about opting for a different meat. These duck breasts are marinated overnight in a rich, cognac-spiced mixture, and would make a wonderful intimate Christmas dinner for two. Beef is something we don’t often see on festive tables, but this poached beef with herb vinaigrette takes its inspiration from classic French cooking and makes a really elegant alternative to turkey. What’s more, you’ll have lots of free oven space for some delicious sides to accompany.

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