There's no doubt about it: Christmas 2020 will be one to remember. And no matter what size your festive bubble, cooking something special remains an important part of the big day. Large, whole turkeys may be out of the equation but treat this as a prime opportunity to enjoy alternative main-course centrepieces, such as Georgina Hayden's festive pork with Marsala sauce, or John Gregory-Smith's turkey pilaf, which uses only the thigh of the turkey.
For vegetarians, Melissa Hemsley's wild mushroom, leek and cheese tart is a glorious addition to the table, not to mention delicious eaten cold the next day.
And Christmas-pudding haters rejoice: a bowl of Claire Thomson's stunning Black Forest trifle is a celebratory and indulgent replacement.
So whether you're cooking a delicious dinner à deux or looking for a festive fix for six, make this Christmas one to remember for all the right reasons – starting with the fantastic food below.
Best Christmas dinner menu ideas
John Gregory-Smith's menu for two
No matter how many people you are cooking for this year, the Christmas meal should feel super special. This menu for two is easy to make but is packed with festive flavours.
The main course is turkey, but not as you know it: the gloriously golden meat is cooked with rice and warming spices that will fill the house with their heavenly scent, then showered with fruit, nuts and herbs. You could use cashews, almonds or walnuts instead of pistachios, or swap out the dried cranberries for sour barberries or chopped dried apricots - whatever you decide, be generous with the garnishes.
To serve with the bird, it’s got to be Brussels sprouts. I adore roasting them whole until charred and tender, and combined with juicy clementine slices they make a vibrant winter side. For dessert, give Christmas pudding a decadent twist by layering up a pair of ice cream sundaes to douse with hot chocolate sauce.
Georgina Hayden's menu for four
Whatever Christmas looks like this year, my husband and I will do it with gusto for our girls. It will be the first for Elektra, our youngest, and our three-year-old, Persephone, has been writing her Christmas list since June. Usually, there would be 15 of us at the table, gathered around a turkey, but I love a joint of pork, which is just perfect for four.
The all-in-one side dish I’m sharing is effortless, and will go with any main. Our Christmas cake has been maturing for several weeks now, but for me it’s not a festive feast without a hot pud, and this stunning tarte Tatin is my current obsession.
Claire Thomson's menu for six
Cooking the Christmas meal will feel like a triumph this year, for so many reasons. For six, splash out a centrepiece such as a rib of beef, which looks celebratory, impressive (especially with all the trimmings), but is still easy to pull off.
To go with it, a tray of deconstructed devils on horseback, with the prunes, bacon and shallots cooked together in a splash of Madeira. Bake the brownies for the trifle the day before so you can assemble it in the morning, leaving you with only one major task: roasting and carving the beef. Relax, afterwards, with a glass of red in hand. Happy Christmas!
Melissa Hemsley's vegetarian menu for six
Even though I’m not vegetarian, I always look forward to the vegetable dishes most at Christmas. With this menu, I am sharing a star of a main course – a glorious wild mushroom tart, with slow-cooked, caramelised leeks, two cheeses and garlic. The pastry is made with chickpea flour for a delicious, earthy flavour and is also gluten-free.
My mum and I always make traditional red cabbage together and she approves of my updated version that teams the cabbage with grapes, apple and chicory leaves. Follow with a fabulous dessert inspired by my favourite Christmas treat, the chocolate orange. Merry Christmas!