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Christmas lunch as told by a chef in training

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Christmas lunch as told by a chef in training

Olivia Spurrell cooked up a feast for her lucky loved ones this year.

I think I am still feeling a little shell shocked from Christmas, and yet Week 1 of the Intermediate Term is already upon us! Christmas happened. In a blur and a flurry of preparation - it happened, days merging into one as canapés, peeling, chopping, whisking and baking were all ticked off the unconquerable list, until at last, it was indeed conquered.

My first term at Leiths left me striding confidently in the direction of Christmas preparation and by December 6th, I was already elbow deep in mountains of mincemeat, with Gingerbread Advent Men hanging precariously from our Christmas tree! Inspired by some fantastic festive demonstrations at the end of Term 1, I was more than a little excited to get stuck in to cooking for all my family and friends at the most wonderful time of the year.

What a mountain Christmas can be! This is my second year cooking Christmas Lunch and I think my mum is rather revelling in handing over the reins, albeit tentatively, as I call her into the kitchen once again to check; ‘Is this how you usually cook the Turkey mum?’, ‘How does this taste mum?’. I may be well on my way to becoming a Leiths trained chef but she’s made more Christmas dinners in her lifetime than I have, so Mum Almighty still has the final say.I remember last year's lunch, up a mountain in a relatively poorly equipped chalet, being much less stressful. We still served 2 canapés, Turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas Pudding plus 2 desserts, mince pies, and copious amounts of alcohol, AND managed to go skiing for a few hours on the day!

As I woke at 7 on Christmas morning, stepping outside to listen to the dawn chorus, I knew this was going to be a rather different affair. Chained to the kitchen for more hours than I slept, the run up week was laborious and thorough, and on the day I didn’t manage to sit down for present opening until nearly 12! (That was after cooking an Eggs Benedict brunch for everyone too! (and how glad I am that Leiths has taught me the art of the perfect poached egg!)

In the end, it was brilliant. The canapés went down a storm, lunch itself was generously served and wolfed down by the whole table, and the array of desserts and little treats we prepared were equally popular. The Christmas cake we made at the end of term in particular, went down a treat, topped with a gingerbread replica of the Chalet I worked in last winter!

Despite my time at Leiths so far whipping me into organised shape, meticulously printing recipes, neatly filed in a ringbinder, with several time plans attached, of course I still forgot something - bread sauce! With the Turkey being carved and enormous bowlfuls of roast potatoes, glazed carrots and brussel sprouts being ceremoniously taken to the table, it was with a shock that I realised we had forgotten one of the best bits! No matter- within 5 minutes, a bowl of creamy, well seasoned bread sauce was on the table- and I was reminded that Christmas is about the ones you love, and I can tell you from experience, you love them even more when they can whip up bread sauce in 5 minutes and save your bacon on the big day! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! I cant wait to see what 2016 brings at Leiths!

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