I have a confession. I have never eaten turkey for Christmas dinner… and I hope I never have to.

As my Dad couldn’t eat white meat, we never had a traditional Christmas dinner growing up. After trying turkey as an adult – I can’t really understand why people would!

Our Christmas meal evolved over a number of years and I now mimic a version of it with my own family (who certainly aren’t complaining!).

The original idea came from a TV show my brother and I liked to watch after school called ‘Ready Steady Cook’. Contestants had to bring a random bag of groceries from which the professional chef had to prepare a meal consisting of several courses. The meal that became our Christmas dinner in fact won second prize that day  – we obviously continue to be upset on the chefs behalf 15 years on!

Rather than preparing everything at once, we have always eaten slowly throughout the day interspersing courses with present opening, the Queen’s speech, a nice amount of wine and of course, just enjoying each others company!

Round One has always been ginger and garlic prawns on Ritz crackers – served with champagne. Round Two is potato waffles with a sun-dried tomato, mushroom and blue cheese sauce – with a nice variety of white white. Round Three has evolved to be a 3 rib prime rib of beef, which happily also provides us with leftovers for a few days – served with a bottle of red. Round Four is sweet waffles, with slices of oranges topped with cream and drizzle of honey – obviously with a sweet white wine. Finally, if anyone is still going, there’s cheese, salad, port, chunky bread and our only nod to tradition – Christmas pudding with brandy butter.

I realise at the point of writing, that this may seem extreme, but the meal often starts at 11am and doesn’t finish well into the evening. At no point have I ever felt ‘stuffed’ at Christmas. It’s all a very enjoyable time and I’m looking forward to this year’s immensely!

Edinburgh of course, offers a number of excellent sources of food in which to source the feast – and my local area of Stockbridge this year has really come up trumps. I’ve ordered the beef from Bower’s to be collected on Christmas Eve and of course, our cheese selection has come from I.J. Mellis:

Mellis cheese

On Christmas Eve I’ll need to pick up a few extra bits  – like crusty bread for sandwiches on Boxing Day, but everything is pretty much in hand. Which of course brings me the added benefit of being able to relax with my family and visit with friends – the best bit of the season!

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