Yotam Ottolenghi’s Christmas dinner with Grace Dent

I just decided, although at home we
always have it really traditional. Is it traditional? It is really traditional. Because I can’t imagine you doing anything
traditional. It is at home but here … Do you just hoy a big handful
of pomegranate over it at the last minute? No, no, no pomegranate. Sometimes on the Brussels sprouts but that’s as far as it goes. It’s completely different,
it’s almost like we’re in Australia so it’s a lot of
Asian flavours and a shoulder of lamb. Just so you know, chilli and garlic
comes in almost in everything here actually. It’s been marinating with black
garlic, Szechuan pepper, cumin, so it’s really unctuous. A bit of brown sugar. And it just sits there for 24 hours absorbing, playing, having fun with all those
flavours and then it goes into the oven. The aubergines are dressed with all
those cooking juices but they’ve been steamed first. Steamed aubergine? Yeah, steamed aubergine. You see, how do you make them look like that? Very common in Chinese cooking: with
very little time, the help of steam, in no oil, you do get the texture that
you want. How long does this take though? About five hours. But you’ve been marinating it for …? 24. I mean, you know it by that point? It feels like … It feels quite rude to eat it. How do you get this bit on the top? I don’t understand how it’s soft and mushy and lovely and delicious but then it’s also kind of beautifully browned. How do you do that? It’s the beauty of caramelisation. So essentially, it’s slow-cooked but because there’s
some sugar and soy in the marinade once you remove the foil and expose it to
the oven, it does become beautifully coloured and kind of slightly grilled. Have you not had a blowtorch at that? I didn’t blowtorch it, I promise you. You promise me? I promise you, I didn’t blowtorch anything.
– It feels a bit blowtorched. It’s just the waiting but I think anyone would wait
for about five hours for the lamb. It’s Christmas, right? I mean, it’s not too much
to ask. I think everybody has to wait for lunch at my house because I generally start
drinking quite early. Cheers to that. So, is this your nod towards
roast potatoes? So, that’s my nod towards roast potatoes. It’s a gratin which has
got chilli, garlic, ginger … It’s slow-cooked with stock
and then it gets some aromatics fried on top, so the fried aromatics are coriander
and spring onion and chilli. The last one – these are smacked cucumbers just
to add freshness, coriander, chilli, garlic, ginger … So it’s uplifting. I mean, I
think of Christmas food often as kind of quite like one-dimensional and slightly
bland but this just kind of rocks the boat a little bit,
you know? Like, who doesn’t like a little bit
of chilli, garlic and ginger? I mean, it’s just so good. And lime. I am sort of disappointed
at the lack of pomegranate seeds here because I just thought that you always had handfuls of them in your pocket Let me check my pockets. and you’re just kind of
hurling them like a whirling dervish all the time. I love pomegranates but you see them
everywhere so on our Christmas table
it’s going to be really only over the Brussels sprouts because
they really need that. You put pomegranate on roasted …? Roasted Brussels sprouts
with pomegranate seeds. It’s really good. You’re probably thinking that I’m
being quite rude because I haven’t cooked today. But did you cook something? I did, I cooked something, I cooked a traditional northern recipe. So what I’m
going to bring you is a little bit of Carlisle. (Singing the tune of Jingle Bells)
Ching, ching, ching … Oh my God! This is … it’s a cheese and pineapple porcupine. That is delightful. And everything of the top quality. When you see this, you know … Top quality pineapple, top quality cheese,
right? It’s absolutely everything that you can
get in a small supermarket at about 4pm on Christmas Eve. But can you not
see how it would add a party? So it would, like, start a party. It would, yeah, or end a party in my world. Here, have one, see. I am going to go for the blue
cheese now. You don’t want the blue cheese, you want this. That’s cranberry and wensleydale, there you go. It’s big as well. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Actually it’s … it’s good. I’m enjoying it.

About the author


  1. I find Grace Dent the epitome of elegance, she is statuesque, she conveys natural authority and grandeur. Love this kind of women !

  2. Grace Dent seems like the type of person who watched the first season of Great British Menu and though "Eh up, I can do that! It dead easy like just talk waffle bout food and that" and managed to completely wing a career in food.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *