Christmas menus: Adding flair to classic fare

There is a reason things are considered classics - they just work, every time.

While we might be tempted from time to time to try something new and different on our Christmas menus, sometimes it leaves your guests aghast that a favourite they have been looking forward to is no longer.

A way around this is to put a twist on a family favourite like using chocolate brownie instead of sponge in your trifle or chocolate sauce and honeycomb instead of horrendously expensive Christmas strawberries on your pavlova.

Hey presto, new favourites are created and you might even win over the family Christmas grinch.

This year in our Fresh Christmas edition we have pulled together dessert recipes that do just that courtesy of some of our favourite cooks - Vanya Insull (aka VJ Cooks), Sarah Tuck and Claire Aldous and Alby Hailes.

Joan Bishop has also come up with a lovely light cake for those who do not appreciate a traditional fruit cake and one which can double as dessert as well as afternoon tea.

Steph Peirce helps us give our Christmas salads a bit of a makeover with a few of her tried and true favourites for the big day.

But if you feel like a complete refresh for Christmas dinner (or have a good-sized duck still in the freezer from duck-shooting season) take a look at Maria and Eva Konecsny’s German menu - roast duck and cabbage with gingerbread for dessert as well as a special spicy tipple.

And if it is Christmas present inspiration you are looking for, then Alison Lambert has it sorted with a twist on a popular tipple as well as some handy spicy gifts for the men in your life, especially the ones who love their barbecue (something to be encouraged over the holidays, I say).

While we never know what Christmas weather is going to be like, our wine reviewer Mark Henderson is picking a lovely sunny day and has reviewed rosés finding they have grown up and become more serious - no longer just a summer drink. And he picks local Methode Traditionelle Rosé to go with the Christmas roast.

Have a happy and safe Christmas

Rebecca Fox
Lifestyle editor