Whether you’re keeping it simple this year with ready-to-serve feasts or are going all out with a show-stopping spread that’s sure to impress – enjoy Christmas your way with our three editors’ takes on easy festive success
Rachel Sullivan, Style & Living editor-in-chief with her daughter, Lara
“This year I’m hosting my entire family, and we all have what could be called complex dietary requirements. I don’t eat dairy; my husband eats a gluten-free diet and my step sister is a vegetarian. And my brother-in-law is allergic to alcohol – so we won’t be serving any rum-glazed hams this year!
“The ideal is to create a feast that everyone can enjoy, while not feeling like you’re missing out, which is why the Made Without Wheat options in Christmas Food to Order this year are brilliant. I can serve up the pork-and-chestnut-stuffing wreath, knowing it’s breadcrumb free, as well as impressive desserts like the frosted holly cake and creamy, vanilla-rich cheesecake. Lara loves to help, so I get her to write various food labels on little flags that she can stick in every dish so everyone knows what they can and can’t eat, from the colourful butternut squash and sweet potato rosti vegetarian mains down to the veggie gravy, which I thicken with arrowroot as it’s naturally gluten free.”
Alice Wignall, Style & Living deputy editor with her son, Doug
“I always host various members of the family and sometimes it feels like feeding the five thousand. I’ve also got two kids under five who don’t appreciate me disappearing into the kitchen for hours at a time. For me, Christmas is more about spending time with them than spending time with my oven, so anything that looks good and tastes great while being easy is a winner. I don’t know many people who have time to individually ice 24 mini cupcakes, so I’ll be serving these cute ready-made ones for Christmas Eve.
“Cooking a whole turkey stresses me out, so this boned turkey breast parcel with its pre-done fig and orange stuffing is a lifesaver – all I have to do is chuck some halved clementines and garlic into the roasting tin to make it look even more delicious. And I have no shame when it comes to pre-prepped veg – this luxe spread has everything from cauliflower cheese to honeyed parsnips and it all cooks in double-quick time.”
Emma Sleight, Style & Living food, wine and flowers editor and her mum, Claire
Emma: “It was only a few years ago that Mum started to let me make tweaks to her classic feast, like frying the sprouts with sherry, pancetta and chestnuts. I’m a proper Instagram cook, so I’m always thinking of how I can make food look and taste that little bit special – like making a mignonette dressing (minced shallots, pepper and red wine vinegar) for a platter of fresh oysters dressed with samphire fronds, dressing whole brie or tying trios of macaroons to make pastel-coloured place settings for the festive table.”
Claire: “I used to do elaborate dinner parties, but now I’m nearly 70 just hearing what Emma makes for her seven-course extravaganzas leaves me exhausted. I still like to keep Christmas a magical event, though, and love the idea of cooking four quails instead of a big turkey as I cater for fewer kids at home nowadays. If you roast them with halved pears and red grapes, the juices make a rich, sweet base for gravy.”
Photographer: Emma Lee / Food stylist: Emily Ezekiel / Prop stylist: Marisa Daly
Stylist: Louise Carmel Hall / Hair & make-up: Lisa Valencia / Editor: Emma Sleight