Have yourself a Michelin-starred Christmas

Michael Caines

Michael Caines - Credit: www.simonburtphotography.com

Create the best Cornish Christmas dinner you’ve ever had with incredible recipes from Cornwall’s Michelin-starred chefs

Menu at Nathan Outlaw's new restaurant

Menu at Nathan Outlaw's new restaurant - Credit: Archant

Christmas dinner is one of the most important meals of the year – and for even the most accomplished of cooks – there is probably room for improvement. We asked Cornwall’s Michelin-starred chefs for some of their top tips – and a few ideas to refresh your menu (and a few ideas for those leftovers).

Michelin-starred chef Paul Ainsworth is best known for his Padstow restaurant No.6. He and wife Emma Ainsworth are also owners of the Padstow Townhouse. A winner of the Great British Menu he has also appeared as a judge, and is a regular face on TV food shows. Here he shares with us his Turkey Show Stopper and something special to do with those ubiquitous turkey leftovers.

Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth - Credit: Archant

“When cooking your Christmas turkey always cook the legs separately from the breast so you maintain a moist breast and you are able to cook the legs more slowly for longer to achieve a more tender meat,” he adds.

Christmas Turkey Show Stopper


Primrose Farm's pigs in blankets Food styling and photography by Ali Green

Primrose Farm's pigs in blankets Food styling and photography by Ali Green - Credit: Archant

? 2.5/3KG Turkey (legs removed from the crown and deboned)

Most Read

? For the brine

? 2L water

? 200g coarse sea salt

Primrose Farm's pigs in blankets Food styling and photography by Ali Green

Primrose Farm's pigs in blankets Food styling and photography by Ali Green - Credit: Archant

? 1 stick of cinnamon

? 3 bay leaves cracked

? 1 tpsn of black peppercorns cracked

? 5 star anise

Ben Tunnicliffe

Ben Tunnicliffe - Credit: none

? The peeled zest of 1 large orange

? 1 head of garlic crushed

? 5 blades of mace

Ben Tunnicliffe pud

Ben Tunnicliffe pud - Credit: Archant

? Method

? Combine all ingredients together in a pan, boil, cool to room temperature and refrigerate

? Submerge the crown and the legs in the brine and allow to work its magic for 6 hours

? Remove, rinse under cold water, pat dry with kitchen paper, allow to air dry on a rack, uncovered in the fridge for at least 12 hours

Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth - Credit: Archant


? 150g butter, softened

? 75g day-old brioche crumbs

general table decoration

general table decoration - Credit: Carol Burns

? Large bunch lemon thyme

? Sea salt and black pepper

? 2 bulbs garlic, halved

? 3 lemons, halved

Christmas turkey is the star of any traditional meal

Christmas turkey is the star of any traditional meal - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

? 750ml good quality chicken stock

? 100g butter, melted, for basting


Michael Caines Brussel sprouts with roasted chestnuts

Michael Caines Brussel sprouts with roasted chestnuts - Credit: Archant

? Pat the Turkey skin dry with kitchen paper, lay on a wire rack then chill in the fridge uncovered overnight.

? The next day preheat the oven to 180ºC. Beat the butter and brioche crumbs together in a large bowl then add the leaves from 6-8 sprigs of the thyme. Season with plenty of salt and pepper then spoon the mixture into a piping bag.

? Carefully loosen the skin covering the Turkey breasts then pipe the butter mixture between the skin and the breast meat. Smooth down then season the Turkey all over with sea salt. Stuff the cavity with the garlic, lemon and remaining thyme then lay in a roasting tin. Pour in 250ml of the stock, cover tightly with foil then roast for about 1 hour 20 minutes at 180c

? Increase the oven temperature to 220ºC, remove the Turkey from the oven and remove the foil. Brush generously with melted butter and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the skin is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 1 hour 30 minutes before carving.

Salmon fillets

Salmon fillets - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

? As a rough guide, you want to cook the turkey for about 35 to 40 minutes per kilogram.

? Using a meat thermometer test the thickest part of the breast, remove from the oven at about 65c and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving. I like to use 2-3 layers of good quality tin foil, with the shiny side facing to keep the bird at a lovely temperature while resting.

For the Turkey Rolls

Michael Caine's Brussel Sprouts with Roasted Chestnuts

Michael Caine's Brussel Sprouts with Roasted Chestnuts - Credit: David Griffen Photography

? 2 turkey legs deboned and brined.

? 500g sausage meat

? 80g dried cranberries

? 80g pistachios

? 80g dried chopped apricots

? 1 white onion diced

? Thyme and sage

? 5 cloves of finely chopped garlic

? 1 lemon


? Take a medium sized frying pan and add a little oil and butter when hot add the onion, thyme and garlic and cook until soft without browning. Leave to cool

? Add the onion mixture to the sausage meat, along with the nuts and fruit and the chopped sage.

Check for seasoning and finish the mix with some lemon zest

? Lay out 2 sheets of tin foil with along with 2 sheets of grease proof paper big enough to wrap up your turkey legs

? Lay out each leg on top of the grease proof and fill with the sausage meat mixture. Roll up the legs and make sure the ends are nice and secure.

? Sit the turkey rolls on a rack inside or on top of tray and cook at 180c for 2 hours or until a small knife goes through the roll like butter.

? Remove from the oven and rest for 30 minutes.

? To serve unwrap and carve alongside your show stopping crown with all the trimmings.

Turkey Pressure Pot Broth

? 2 litre turkey stock

? 2 turkey wings

? 750g smoked streaky bacon

? 6 large carrots (minestrone style cut)

? 5 sticks celery (minestrone style cut)

? 2 large red onions (minestrone style cut)

? 1 leek (minestrone style cut)

? 250g of swede (minestrone style cut)

? Rosemary/thyme/bay leaf

? 5 cloves of finely chopped garlic

? 2 large potatoes peeled and diced

? 500g of chopped San Manzano tomato’s

? 400g cannellini beans

? 500g kale

? 200g Conchiglie pasta shells

? 25g freshly chopped parsley

? 25g freshly chopped basil

? 250g Fresh pesto

? Parmesan for grating


? Place you pressure cooker on the heat and add a little vegetable oil, once warm add your pancetta and turkey wings, fry until nicely crispy. Now add all of the minestrone style cut vegetables and stir through all the lovely crispy pancetta making sure the fat coats all the vegetables. Stir and cook over a medium heat for about 3 minutes, the vegetables should be softening without colour.

? Now add the garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf, tomatoes and stir.

? Add the potatoes and taste for seasoning, at this stage add a little salt

now add the stock and bring to a simmer, taste again and if you think needs more seasoning then add to your taste.

? Place the lid of pressure cook pot on nice and securely and cook under pressure for 8 minutes Once cooked allow the pan to cool down and then remove the lid, the liquid will still be hot and now you can fold through the chopped kale and fresh herbs and a little lemon juice.

? Serve up in a big bowl and a nice big dollop of pesto in the middle and grate fresh parmesan and lemon zest all over.

Chef Michael Caine holds two Michelin stars and celebrated 2020 with the opening of two new eateries in Cornwall. The Cove at Maenporth had only been open a few weeks when it was foced to close for the Covid-19 lockdown. At the other end of the restrictions, he opened a new restaurant overlooking the harbour at new foodie destination Porthleven. His recipe elevates that Great British staple which remains so controversial - the humble brussel sprout - by pairing it with chestnuts

Michael Caine’s Brussel Sprouts and Chestnuts Serves 6

1kg Brussels sprouts

3 ltrs water

40g salt

200g chestnuts

400g raw smoked pancetta

150g unsalted butter

2g fresh rosemary, chopped


Place the water and the salt into a pan and bring to the boil. In the meantime prepare the Brussels sprouts by taking off any discoloured outer leaves and after removing the tough stalk at the bottom, placing a ‘criss cross’ across it. Add to the water and simmer very gently for approximately 12 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Strain from the water and refresh the sprouts in ice cold water.

Heat 50g of the butter in a pan, cut the pancetta into chunky batons and add to the butter. Roast, stirring continually and when they are golden brown drain off in a sieve.

In a separate pan add another 50g of butter and do the same with the chestnuts, then drain and add to the pancetta.

To put the dish together, place the warm sprouts into a serving bowl, sprinkle with the pancetta and chestnut mix, warm the remaining butter in a pan and add the rosemary to it. Then pour this over the Brussels sprouts and serve.

Primrose Herd’s Pigs in Blankets

Another staple – some might say star – of the Christmas dinner is pigs in blankets and this is an easy Christmas entertaining idea courtesy of Cornwall’s award-winning pork producer Primrose Herd, with a tried and tested recipes from the Duchy’s culinary ambassador, The Cornish Chef.

Honey and Thyme Pigs in Blankets

1 pack of Primrose Herd Pigs in Blankets

A good squeeze of Honey

A few sprigs of Thyme

Salt and pepper


Simply drizzle with honey and scatter with the leaves from a few sprigs of thyme, then season with salt and pepper and bake as normal. This will give them a sticky glossy finish and a delicious flavour. Perfect finger food for seasonal get-togethers.

Primroseherd.co.uk / thecornishchef.com

Nathan Outlaw’s Cured Salmon with Beetroot and Clementine Dressing and Horseradish Cream

Nathan Outlaw faced the challenges of the restrictions on the hopsitality trade by closing down is Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant and opening something more accessible, alongside a take-away service. He offers us a Michelin-starred spin on another Christmas season classic: salmon. For many a festive time treat, this freshwater fish remains the height of sophistication on a party menu. Nathan Outlaw cooks it perfectly and serves up with two colourful sides.

(Serves 10)

1 side of organic farmed or fresh salmon

Cornish sea salt and freshly ground pepper


1 kg beetroot, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes

4 clementines, chopped including skin, pips removed

1tsp fennel seeds

A small bunch of tarragon, leaves only

500g caster sugar

1kg sea salt

Beetroot and Clementine Dressing

1kg raw beetroot, washed

5 clementines

50ml white wine vinegar

10ml clementine juice

2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped

About 200ml olive oil

2tsp chopped chives

Horseradish Cream

500ml double cream

3tbsp good-quality creamed horseradish

To Serve

500g watercress, trimmed and washed

Good quality granary bread

Check the salmon for any pin-bones and trim as necessary.

To make the cure, put all the cure ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Lay the salmon on a tray large enough to hold both the salmon and the cure. Spoon the cure over the salmon, making sure it is completely coated then cover and leave in the fridge for 10 hours.

Turn the side of salmon over and spoon over the cure again. Re-cover and return to the fridge for another 20 hours.

Wash off the cure and pat the salmon dry. It is now ready to eat.

To make the beetroot and clementine dressing, place the unpeeled beetroot in a pan and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and a dash of white wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the beetroot is tender but not soft. Turn off the heat and leave to cool in the pan. Once cold, drain and peel the beetroot.

Cut the beetroot into 5mm dice and place in a bowl. Peel the clementines and remove any pith. Segment the clementines and once the membranes are removed, cut the flesh into 5mm pieces and add to the bowl. Put the shallots and garlic in the bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add

the wine vinegar and clementine juice and stir through gently. Pour the olive oil over to cover the mixture and set aside. When ready to serve, stir in the chives.

To make the horseradish cream, whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold in the horseradish. Taste and season, adding a little more horseradish if you like stronger. Spoon into a small serving dish.

To serve, cut the salmon across the grain and arrange on a platter. Scatter over the diced beetroot and clementine then drizzle over the dressing. Finish the platter with watercress leaves and serve with the horseradish cream and bread to the side for people to help themselves.

Ben Tunnicliffe’s Buttermilk Pudding, Plums & Pistachio

Ben is a pioneer of the Cornish restaurant scene. He held one of the county’s first Michelin Stars at The Abbey in Penzance in the early 2000s, after which he was head-hunted to launch the food offering at Cornwall’s preeminent luxury hotel, The Scarlet. He then embarked on a solo passion-project, transforming The Tolcarne Inn - a modest pub in a working fishing port - into a dining destination to rival those of Padstow, Port Isaac and St Ives.

Eight busy years later, and with The Tolcarne firmly established amongst the upper echelons of the Cornish dining scene, Ben found himself ready to embark on a new venture alongside his Head Chef, Matt Smith. The pair opened their second pub - The Packet Inn - in the summer of 2020, and early reports suggest it is just as good as its big sister.

Serves 4

Buttermilk Pudding

100ml double cream

125g caster sugar

½ vanilla pod

Zest and juice of ½ orange and ½ a lemon (zest finely grated, being careful not to take any pith)

2 leaves of gelatin

300ml buttermilk

100ml cream, semi whipped

1. Put the citrus juices and zests into a pan with the seeds scraped from the vanilla pod, the cream and the sugar. Bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on it as this shouldn’t take too long.

2. While the sugar is dissolving soak the gelatin in cold water to soften. When the cream and sugar mix is ready, take the gelatin out of the cold water and squeeze out as much water as possible. Add this to the cream and stir to dissolve.

3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix in the buttermilk.

4. Whisk the cream until it just holds its own weight, then cover and refrigerate it until needed.

5. When the buttermilk mix is about body temperature (it doesn’t feel hot or cold when you put your finger in it) gently fold in the whipped cream. You can use a whisk for this but do it very gently.

6. Pour the mixture into glasses and refrigerate until required, but for at least 2 – 3hrs to ensure it is set.

Stewed Plums

500g plums of your choice

150-200g caster sugar

1. Take the plums off their stones, put into a suitable sized pan with the sugar and heat gently to dissolve the sugar in the juice of the plums. Cook until a loose jam-like consistency, then let it cool and set aside until required.

Pistachio Shortbread

125g butter

65g caster sugar

190g plain flour sieved

50g chopped pistachio nuts

(This will make more shortbread than you need for the desserts but can be kept and cooked as required as a nice addition to a cup of coffee.)

1. Cream the butter and sugar until it is pale and fluffy, then add the flour and pistachios and mix until it starts to come together.

2. Shape the dough into logs. Be careful not to overwork the dough at this point or the shortbread will have a heavy texture. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate.

3. When firm, cut into ½ inch slices and place on a silicone-lined baking tray and bake at 125C for approx. 40 mins until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.


Put the glass of buttermilk pudding on a plate and spoon some of the stewed plums on top. Serve with a few pistachio biscuits on the side.