James Hickson from The Royal in St Leonards, shares how to elevate festive food plans

  • Think as carefully about the drinks you’re serving as you do the food. Start the celebrations with a sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne before a lightly chilled Pinot Noir with the roast turkey. A sweet dessert wine such a Pedro Ximenez is the perfect partner for Christmas pudding or for a lighter alternative, warm the sherry in a small pan before adding in a few handfuls of raisins. The dried fruit will soak up the warm alcohol, and the boozy raisins are great on a good quality vanilla ice cream.
  • Plan for how to use the inevitable leftovers by having bread, noodles and eggs in the store cupboard for Boxing Day sandwiches, spicy noodle salad with roasted meat, shredded brussels sprouts and chilli and bubble and squeak cakes with a fried egg on top.
  • Tins of smoked fish are so useful; try a few anchovies melted into olive oil with dried chilli and fennel seeds to toss through cooked and shredded cavolo nero, kale and cabbage, or smoked oysters on top of crackers and cream cheese, as an easy canapé. 

Find out more about James’ food at theroyalstleonards.co.uk

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