Christmas is coming!


Don’t you just love Christmas? We’ve got our tree festooned with tinsel, baubles and brilliant angels, the crib on the mantelpiece above a roaring fire, a plethora of joyous decorations draped around everything in sight, carols blaring from the speakers…


Ah, what joy it is to open a new little window every morning in our Advent calendar and think, Just a few more days to go!


We’ve decided to kick off our Christmas holiday with a few mouthwatering recipes. So throw away all those useless cookbooks you never use and print out these goodies, guaranteed to juice up your taste buds! It’s time for…


Christmas Feast, part one:


Stuffed Turkey à la Sheen.




1 biggish turkey

2 onions

2 green peppers

250g mushrooms

3 chile peppers

1 aubergine

1 banana

100g hazelnuts

200g chestnuts

500g Digestive biscuits

1 large chorizo

¼ bottle Scotch whisky

1 glass gin

Tabasco sauce, to taste

1 tbsp coconut milk powder

A good amount of olive oil

1 stock cube

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp honey

2 cloves garlic

1 good chunk ginger

cumin, coriander, sage, thyme, mint, salt





Clean your turkey carefully, inside and out. If you’re using a frozen turkey, make sure it’s fully thawed before you start stuffing it.


Fry the onions and green pepper, chopped into manageable pieces, in a fair amount of oil on a low heat, just until the onions start to go soft. Add the mushrooms (chopped, obviously), the chile peppers and the aubergine in pieces. Add a little salt, turn up the heat and toss it all around for a bit until the aubergines have browned slightly. The oil should all have been absorbed at this point.


Remove from the heat and add the chopped hazelnuts, chestnuts, banana and biscuits. This recipe only really works with Digestive, in my opinion, but if you want to use your favourite kind, go on, be a devil. Also add a generous pinch of sage, thyme and mint.


In a small frying pan, sauté a good quality chorizo, in very little oil. Add the crushed garlic and ginger, and the coriander (seeds) and the cumin. Then pour in a good splash of Scotch and burn off the alcohol. Let this simmer for about 10 minutes before adding it to the rest of the stuffing.


Using your hands, knead all the ingredients together. The mixture should resemble a sloppy dough. Add as many biscuits as you need to stiffen, and a little water (or lemon juice) to soften. Leave the stuffing in the fridge for a few hours and, when it’s ready, stuff your bird tightly, leaving no pockets of air. Sew it up carefully and tie the legs.


Now fill a syringe with the following cocktail: 2 parts lemon juice, 1 part Scotch whisky, 1 part gin, 1 shot Tabasco. Give the turkey about 10 injections about 1 cm below the skin, making sure the syringe never reaches the stuffing inside. In total, you should count on using about ¼ of a bottle of Scotch.


Now prepare the “smothering mix”. Add the coconut milk powder to the olive oil and mix thoroughly. Add the crumbled stock cube and the turmeric. The end result should be easily spreadable on the skin of the turkey but should not run off – thicken it up with more coconut powder if this happens.


Warm up your oven to around 190º and stick your turkey in. How long will it take? Calculate 45 minutes per kilo. Every 20 minutes or so, dowse the bird with the following liquid: 1 part lemon juice, 1 part water, a few drops of honey, plus the juice that has appeared in the baking tray. If possible, use a ceramic tray. Glass is OK, too. We don’t like aluminium.


You should turn the heat up to around 240º for the last 40 minutes or so. When it’s done (stick the syringe into the middle of the turkey’s thigh and draw up the juice. Still red? Leave it for a while more) cover with foil and leave it to stand for at least 10 minutes before carving.


Serve with whatever you fancy!




Christmas Feast, part two:


Heen’s Revolutionary Christmas Rice


Boil your rice as you would normally. I usually use Basmati, but that’s up to you. Cover it and leave it to stand.


Now search for all those little bits and pieces that remind you of Christmas. You could start with the trimmings from your traditional Christmas dinner – some Brussels sprouts, maybe, chipolatas, bacon, that crispy dry stuffing that comes out of a packet… Grab a few Brazil nuts, a handful of dates, a mince pie, a piece of turrón, whatever you feel like.


Now go out for a walk, humming “God rest ye merry gentlemen”, carrying a small basket which you should fill with those elements of Christmas that really make a difference. I’m thinking holly leaves, mistletoe berries, perhaps a robin…(my little Yuletide joke, ho ho ho)


Mix all the goodies into the rice, add a few dabs of butter and warm it up in the microwave. And there you go.




Christmas Feast, part three:


Soraya/Sonic the Hedgehog’s Playful Christmas Cocktail.


3 parts sweet vermouth

1 part Guinness

1 part light rum

1 shot Angostura bitters


Serve tepid in a saucer.




Christmas Feast, part four:

“Enchiladas del inocente”


This dish requires an explanation. In Spain, December 28 is “Los santos inocentes”, the day people traditionally play practical jokes on one another and on one occasion many years ago I concocted a dish which epitomises the kind of hilarity we have here at Zaragoza Twins. Of course, these days Sheen isn’t taken aback and unawares when she unwittingly tucks into her enchiladas, so we have given the dish a Russian roulette format: Half the enchiladas are perfectly normal, straightforward, filled with juicy pieces of chicken, steaming jalapenos, sun-ripened vine tomatoes and creamy rich cheese and yoghurt sauce, but the other half…? Ah ha!


Fillings I’ve used over the years: raw liver, banana skins, whale blubber, feathers, a mouse, potato peelings, goldfish…


Oh yes, indeed, folks. The Zaragoza Twins sure know how to have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

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