Nigel Slater’s recipes for the Christmas season squib

Roast pork and green olives, mushrooms with herbed hummus, pear biscuit cake – the menu to see you through the festivities

You can plan Christmas dinner. A neat list in black ink on white paper – a roast goose and a figgy pudding; a seating plan and a playlist of carols – but Christmas is not about just one meal. There are the smaller feasts to consider, meals for special friends and family who may be at someone else’s table on Christmas Day. A roast turkey may feel inappropriate on such occasions – a bit premature or over the top – but the event must still be special. My own plans (I am a list-maker) include a menu that feels right for any time over the next few weeks, from now till New Year’s Eve.

I am looking forward to Christmas more than ever this year. The tree will be twinkling aside the fireplace, its branches laden with old baubles and frosty lights; there will be presents tied up with golden ribbon and the pudding – rich, sweet and heady with brandy – will be no doubt be puttering away on the stove. Yes, there will be the sound of carols, but tucked in the background will be the soft crackle and hiss of something roasting in the oven.

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