Q&A – a very foodie Christmas

Edd Kimber, winner of The Great British Bake Off 2010 and Kerstin Rodgers, founder of The Underground Restaurant tell all about their Christmas food routine.

Edd Kimber, aka The Boy Who Bakes

How will you be spending Christmas this year?
I love a big old-fashioned Christmas so I will be back home in Yorkshire spending Christmas with my family. Unfortunately my boyfriend and I spend Christmas apart so a week before the real deal we have an early celebration together, we do the full thing – cook a big dinner, watch some cheesy Christmas films and give each other gifts. Maybe it’s greedy but I love having two Christmases!

Do you have a repertoire of baked goodies you prepare for the festive period? Is it still a time for experimentation, or for tradition?
For me Christmas is all about tradition so there is no experimentation, I stick to my family’s traditional recipes. I will make a Christmas cake to my Nanna’s recipe which we think is probably around 100 years old and then a LOT of mince pies based on my mum’s recipe, filled not just with mincemeat but also a nugget of almond paste. They are richer but it’s Christmas and a little indulgence is definitely called for

What are your top three Christmas foods and why? And what do you avoid?
My favourite thing about Christmas isn’t the main Christmas dinner but the leftovers. On Boxing Day I love to have baked ham and stuffing sandwiches – it’s the perfect Christmas food. My mum will also make a total retro sherry trifle but made properly – everything from scratch and no jelly in sight! But there are a few things I hate… boiled sprouts and Christmas pudding are definitely not on my wish list and something I avoid every year

What would be your perfect foodie Christmas gift (to give or receive!) and why?
I think the best presents are those that involve thought – if someone bought me a copy of a hard to find cookbook, one I’ve been looking for, for years I’d be very happy. Last year alongside other presents we gave our family hampers of homemade goodies including sloe gin and salted caramel chocolates and lots more. For me that effort shows love and affection

And finally, what is the secret to successful Christmas entertaining?
Preparation and not trying to do too much. There are loads of things you can prep early, things like the stuffing and the mince pies all keep really well. If you have a lot of people round for the main meal then I find it’s a good idea to write a prep list and schedule, that way everything is there in front of you in black and white. But my biggest tip is to remember it’s just a meal and it’s more important to spend time with those you love, so don’t spend all day in the kitchen if you can. Make things easier for yourself. You’ll have a much more relaxed Christmas if you do

Edd’s latest book, Say It With Cake is out now


Kerstin Rodgers, aka Ms Marmite Lover

You’re known for your great experimentation and themed dinners – how does Christmas go down at your place?
I’ve always done Christmas supper clubs, since my first year in 2009 when I opened on Christmas Day. In 2010 I had a dinner on Christmas Eve; 2011 I did a Boxing Day brunch. Christmas is the perfect time to entertain strangers. Even before I ran The Underground Restaurant I’d welcome ‘waifs and strays’ over during the Christmas period. I like the whole Christmassy decorating thing because I do love a theme

What are your top three Christmastime foods and why? And what do you avoid?
I don’t eat meat so turkey is out. I don’t like Christmas pudding either. Christmas morning is a time for a luxury brunch: champagne, smoked salmon. I mostly cure my own salmon. I like American Christmas traditions like egg nog and Scandinavian traditions like glogg, a mulled spiced wine. But really it’s the vegetables I love.
So my top three Christmas foods are:

  • Roast potatoes
  • Roast parsnips
  • Liqueur chocolates

What would be the perfect food-lover’s Christmas gift (to give or receive!) and why?
For me, it’d be a Thermomix. It costs about £800 but would make my life so much easier. It’s a mixer, processor, ice-cream maker, soup maker, all in one

What is the secret to successful Christmas entertaining?
Relentless generosity. Even if guests are groaning ‘no more food’, you just keep it coming. Also making the table look nice is important: candles, home-made pepparkakor, that sort of thing

And finally… does Marmite have any place at the Christmas table?
Marmite on toast in the morning sets you up nicely for the feasting

Upcoming events from Ms Marmite Lover:

This year I’m doing a Hobbit themed meal: elevenses and supper (15th of December at The Highgate Yurt). Other meals (including any Christmas dates) will be announced here. I’m also running the monthly Secret Garden Club with gardening workshops and themed food: check here for events

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