Chef to share top tips for Christmas with spice

By Beth Allcock on November 8, 2012 12:16 PM |

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Adding a sprinkle of spice to your festive fare could inspire a Christmas dinner to remember.

But if you're a little apprehensive about stepping away from the security of sage and onion stuffing and boozy Christmas puds in favour of a family dinner with a twist, chef Vivek Singh is on hand to take you through the basics.

The Indian culinary master, owner of Cinnamon Kitchen and a familiar face to viewers of the BBC's Saturday Kitchen, will take to the cookery theatre stage at Excel next month during its three-day Taste Of Christmas event.

"The main buzz for us is that the crowd is in festive spirits and it's a really good collection of people under one roof," he said.

"We will showcase some of our favourite dishes, which we feel are relevant around Christmas-time, and also give people ideas of how they can spice up their Christmas roast dinner.

"It's very simple, it's just the introduction of a few flavours of spice and it just transforms it.

"You can spice up your meat - try a herbaceous roast chicken stuffed with cumin, peppers, star anise and clove.

"It's quite Christmassy in many ways and it will pep up the whole thing.

"We also have our take on the proper Christmas pudding - we use garam masala spices. It's really a cross between the traditional dessert and a sticky toffee pudding.

"Taste Of Christmas just ends up like a big party - it's a wonderful thing to lift your spirits and look forward to something festive.

"Both Taste Of London and Taste Of Christmas are fantastic opportunities for me to be in front of the people who come and visit us at our restaurant.

"These events are a great chance to meet these people face-to-face and see their expressions when they taste and try different things, and we just get to know them better. We really look forward to it."

While Vivek will be busy rustling up numerous dinners at his restaurant on the big day itself, he said his family's Christmas evening would be dedicated to tucking into a spiced roast chicken stuffed with basmati rice and a boiled egg.

Taste Of Christmas, at the Excel centre, runs from December 7-9.

Go to tasteofchristmas.com for more information.

Vivek's top tips for Christmas cooking

>Make sure you are prepared

>Ensure you know who is coming for dinner, what they like, dislike and how many people will be sitting at your table.

>Consider how big your turkey will be and, most importantly, whether it will fit in your oven.

>Try to prepare pretty much everything so all that you need to monitor on the day is your roast potatoes and vegetables

>Relax, and have a good time catching up with your loved ones.