The festive period doesn’t have to be all about turkey sandwiches and boiled sprouts. If you fancy bringing a taste of Cotswold fine dining into your home this year, here are some suggestions from a few of our finest chefs.

Deep-filled mince pies by Jolly Nice’s head pastry chef Oliver Snell

Our deep-filled mince pies are a local favourite, made from scratch; we sell over 7,000 every year!

This recipe will make about 20 deep-filled Jolly Nice frangipan-topped mince pies.



200g grated English Bramley apples

22g flaked almonds

3g mixed spice

Pinch ground cinnamon

Pinch ground nutmeg

100g vegetarian suet

150g raisins

100g sultanas

100g currants

100g mixed peel

150g dark soft brown sugar

Half orange zest and juice

Half lemon zest and juice

25ml brandy


Mix everything except the brandy together and leave to stand for 24 hours.

Place the mixture into an oven proof dish and bake at 110°C for about 30 minutes until cooked through, stirring occasionally.

Allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally to re-disperse the melted suet.

Once cool, mix in the brandy.

Store in an airtight container in a dark place to mature before use (minimum of 2 weeks).

St Clements sweet pastry

300g plain organic Shipton Mill flour

150g English butter

75g caster sugar

½ lemon zest

½ orange zest

75g cold water


Rub the butter into the flour, sugar and zests until a fine breadcrumb texture is achieved.

Add the cold water and mix together to form the pastry. Place in the fridge and chill until required.


190g English butter

190g caster sugar

3 Sherston free-range eggs

190g ground almonds

30g Gluten-free all-purpose flour


Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Gradually add the eggs, scraping down the mixer bowl after every addition.

Add the ground almonds and flour and mix until combined.

Other ingredients

Flaked almonds


Roll out the St Clements pastry to a thickness of 3mm. Cut using a 9/10cm crinkle cutter (depending on your tin size) and place into deep muffin tins, ensuring they are to the bottom of the tins. Using a wooden former helps. Rerolling the pastry to make 20 cases.

Half fill the pastry case with your mincemeat, ensuring there are no air gaps (approximately 35g).

Finally pipe some of the freshly made frangipan on top, ensuring there are no gaps where the mincemeat may boil out, and coming up to the fluted edge. Then sprinkle with a few flaked almonds.

Bake at 170°C (fan) for 20 minutes, turning halfway to ensure an even bake.

Cool slightly before removing from the tins, a small pallet knife can help with this.

Perfect as they are, but they are extra special served warm with brandy butter ice cream!

Jolly Nice, Frampton Mansell, near Stroud, Gloucestershire,


Christmas cake by Jolly Nice’s head pastry chef Oliver Snell

Makes 1 x 8-inch Christmas cake


Cake batter:

165g English butter

165g Dark soft brown sugar

1 tbsp treacle

3 Large Sherston free-range eggs

75g blanched almonds

50g ground almonds

210g Shipton Mill organic plain flour

2.5g mixed spice

2g ground nutmeg

1g baking powder

90g raisins

300g currants

210g sultanas

90g glacé cherries

65g mixed peel

150g cream sherry

1 orange zest and juice


Wash the dried fruits to pre-plump then drain well.

Add the sherry, orange juice and zest to the dried fruits and leave to soak for 24 hours.

Line an 8-inch heavy cake tin with baking parchment, and protect the tin by wrapping the outside with newspaper, tying with string.

Preheat oven to 130°C (fan).

Cream the butter, sugar, and treacle until fluffy.

Gradually add the eggs, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until fully combined.

Add the soaked fruits and all the liquid to the cake batter and mix until evenly distributed.

Place the cake batter into the prepared tin, smoothing the top and making a small hollow in the centre (this helps the cake to bake with a flat top).

Bake the cake for 3.5-4.5 hours. Check the cake at 3 hours and cover the top with foil if required to prevent it getting too brown. Check by placing a skewer into the cake (skewer should come out of the cake cleanly).

Allow to cool in the tin before removing.

Keep the cake well wrapped in an airtight container, feeding the cake regularly with good quality Brandy. (If you have an unused 50mm syringe this is ideal to ‘inject’ the cake with the brandy.)

A week before Christmas, remove your cake from its container, feed it one last time then it is time to decorate.

To decorate:

Apricot jam

Selection of nuts and dried fruits (here at Jolly Nice we use pecans, almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, prunes, apricots, preserved oranges and glacé cherries).

Place a few tablespoons of apricot jam into a saucepan with a little water, heat over a low temperature to dissolve the jam and then bring to the boil.

Brush the jam over the top of the cake to glaze it.

Decorate with dried fruits and nuts.

Finish by placing on a suitable cake board, and adorning with festive ribbon.

Jolly Nice, Frampton Mansell, near Stroud, Gloucestershire,

Great British Life: Crab and scallop ravioli, curry beurre blanc. Photo: prithvirestaurant.comCrab and scallop ravioli, curry beurre blanc. Photo:

Crab & scallop ravioli, curry beurre blanc by Thomas Law, executive chef of JM Socials and Prithvhi

Thomas Law, executive chef of JM Socials and Prithvhi says, ‘This ravioli dish encapsulates exactly what Prithvi is about... classic European techniques harmoniously blended with the spices and the luxurious flavours expected from the restaurant.’

Serves 4


150g ’00’ Flour

50g Yolk

25g Whole Egg

10g Saffron Water

1/4 tsp Turmeric

3g Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil

2g Salt

Begin by steeping 10 strands of saffron in warm water until the water is bright red

Mix all the wet ingredients together in a jug

On a table, place the flour & salt mixture and make a well in the middle.

Pour the wet ingredients into the well and incorporate with a fork until a lumpy dough is created.

On a floured surface knead the dough for 10 minutes until elastic and smooth. Cut into 2 pieces, Wrap tightly and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, roll to approx 1cm thick with a rolling pin then roll through a pasta machine to the thinnest setting. You should be able to see your hand through it when you hold it up.

Cut 8 discs 8cm wide, store these on a clingfilmed tray airtight until needed.

Scallop & crab mousse

100g scallops

15g egg yolk

15g Keralan style curry paste

35g double cream

50g cooked & picked white crab meat

5g salt

Pinch cayenne

Place your food processor including blade into the freezer for 1 hour prior to making the mousse.

In a cold food processor Blend the Scallops, yolk and curry paste together until smooth.

Slowly emulsify in the cream until a smooth mousse is created.

Remove from the processor and fold in the crab meat. Season then roll a small amount in cling film and poach for 1 minute to check seasoning.

Once happy with the flavour, place in an airtight container and leave in the fridge for 1 hour to set slightly.

To make the ravioli, take your discs of pasta and pipe 50g of mixture into the centre.

Wet the circumference of the disc with a pastry brush then carefully place the second piece of pasta over the top.

Using the blunt side of a ring cutter push down around the mousse to ensure there are no air bubbles.

Using another cutter, cut a 1cm wider circle around the mousse ensuring the pasta is air tight.

Cook in boiling salted water for 4 minutes.

Beurre blanc

100g white wine

100g fish stock

1 garlic clove

1 green chilli

1 shallot

½ tsp chilli powder

1 tsp mild curry powder

250g unsalted butter, diced and fridge cold

25g double cream

Lemon juice / salt

Place the white wine, stock, garlic, chilli, shallot, chilli powder & curry powder into a pan and reduce quickly but carefully by ¾.

Turn the heat down but not off then carefully emulsify in the cold butter one block at a time, allowing the completely disappear before adding the next.

Once all the butter is added, add the remaining ingredients and check the seasoning.

Once happy, strain through a fine sieve and reserve in a WARM place until needed.

If the sauce gets too hot or too cold it will split.

Chive oil

100g chives, roughly chopped

150g rapeseed oil

In a blender, blend together until warm (50 deg) to activate the chlorophyll. Hang in a damp j cloth overnight until the bright green oil has all dripped through.

Kashmiri chilli oil

50g Kashmiri chilli

150g rapeseed oil

Blend together until warm, then pass through a j cloth as above!

To serve

Cook your ravioli in a deep pan of salted boiling water for 4 minutes.

Remove from the water and drizzle with extra virgin rapeseed oil and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt. Place on a j cloth to absorb any excess water.

Place ravioli in a bowl and ladle over a generous amount of the beurre blanc, swirl the oils around the sauce and serve with a huge quenelle of caviar.

Prithvi, Cheltenham,

Great British Life: Spiced venison loin, duck liver keema, masala fig, blue cheese. Photo: prithvirestaurant.comSpiced venison loin, duck liver keema, masala fig, blue cheese. Photo:

Spiced venison loin, duck liver keema, masala fig, blue cheese by Thomas Law, executive chef of JM Socials and Prithvhi

Thomas Law, executive chef of JM Socials and Prithvhi says, ‘The strength of the perfectly in-season venison stands up to the richness of the fig and duck liver keema. Along with the spiciness of the sauce, this dish is a customer favourite at the moment.’

Spiced venison loin

400g trimmed venison eye loin

1/2 tablespoon garlic & ginger paste

Tsp chilli powder

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp table salt

2 tsp Greek yoghurt

In a bowl, rub the ingredients into the loin.

Roll the loin in clingfilm tightly and refrigerate for 2-24 hours.

Once ready to cook, unwrap the meat then sear in a hot pan with oil in, remove and Place on a cooling rack.

Cook in the oven at 180 deg on rack for 7-10 minutes until core temp is 50-54 deg (for medium rare).

Allow to rest well before carving and serving.

Duck liver Keema

300g venison mince

100g chicken liver

50g foie gras

100g beef fat

100g chicken breast

5 cardamon pods

2 bay leaves

Tbsp curry powder

Tbsp chilli powder

Tbsp garlic ginger paste

Mix all ingredients together and leave to marinade overnight

Place your mincer in the freezer for 1 hour before using. This will stop the blades getting clogged with the fat.

On the finest setting on your mincer, pass through all the ingredients twice.

(This will make a big batch, but can be frozen, any smaller is too hard to work with!)

Roll into 50g balls and wrap tightly in cling film. Cook in 85 deg water for 15 minutes.

Reheat in venison curry sauce (below).

Blue cheese crumble

150g blue cheese

75g butter

200g plain flour

Mix all ingredients together with a paddle attachment in mixer.

Bake at 160 until golden brown chopping at 5 minute intervals

Masala fig

5 figs

100g orange juice

100g port

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

1 star anise

3 cardamon pod

Pinch chilli flakes

20g demerara sugar

1 bay leaf

Reduce liquid and spices by 1/2

Pour over the halved figs.

Place in low oven 80 degrees for 7 hours, turning every so often until the liquid is sticky and reduced.

Baby leeks

100g white wine vinegar

100g sugar

100g water

2 star anise

5 curry leaves

10 baby leeks

Wash and peel the baby leeks.

Place all ingredients in a pan and simmer gently until leeks are cooked through.

Store in the pickle liquid until required.

Venison Curry Sauce

2 litre game demi glace

500g roasted venison bones

100ml rapeseed oil

4 Cardamon

2 tbsp garlic ginger paste

1/2 tsp black peppercorn

3 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1.5 kg onion, sliced

4 bay leaves

1 tsp each: paprika, cumin, turmeric, chilli powder, curry powder.

Heat the oil then add the curry leaves, bay and cinnamon stick so the crackle and spit.

Add the onions and cook down for 10 minutes until beginning to soften.

Add the remaining spices and cook until they become fragrant.

Add the Stock and bones and slowly reduce all by 1/3.

Remove the cinnamon stick then blend and pass.

Check seasoning.

Prithvi, Cheltenham,

Great British Life: Twice-baked mature Cheddar cheese soufflé with Parmesan sauce. Photo: mature Cheddar cheese soufflé with Parmesan sauce. Photo:

Twice-baked mature Cheddar cheese soufflé with Parmesan sauce by Gary Lissemore, The Seagrave Arms 

Head chef at The Seagrave Arms, Gary Lissemore


Makes 16


80g butter

80g flour

1tbsp English mustard

585ml milk

320g Cheddar cheese

200g egg yolk

400/450g egg white (this will be what’s left from the egg after taking the yolk away)


100g Parmesan

500ml double cream

Bake 130 degrees C for 20 mins


Melt butter and add the flour. Cook this until smooth, then gradually add milk. Use the same process as when making a bechamel sauce.

Gradually stir the sauce until it becomes thicker. Make sure not to burn the bottom!

Once thickened, add cheese and stir constantly until the cheese has melted.

Add English mustard.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When sauce has cooled, add egg yolk and mix well.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks.

Gently fold into mix until egg white has been incorporated. Don’t beat too much as this will reduce the mixture and push the air out of the mix.

Butter and add a light dusting of small breadcrumbs to the moulds to prevent the soufflé from sticking.

Pour mix into moulds.

In a bain-marie, cook in the oven at 130 degrees C for 20 mins.

While they are cooking, you can make the Parmesan sauce. Heat the cream, add Parmesan until melted.

Once soufflés have cooled down, turn them upside down and remove the moulds and place soufflés into small bowl/ramekin.

Turn the over up to 180 degrees C, pour sauce over the soufflé and cook for 9 mins.

Serve with a side salad and choice of chutney, and enjoy!

The Seagrave Arms, Weston Subedge, Chipping Campden,