Q&A with Rachel Allen for BBC Good Food Show Winter

Ahead of her appearance on our Live Cook stage at BBC Good Food Show Winter, we asked Rachel Allen what makes the festive season extra-special... 

1. What is your favourite Christmas foodie memory?

We bought a site right on the south coast of Ireland about 11 years ago and built our home there. We moved in two days before Christmas and I always remember how satisfying it felt waking up there early on Christmas day and looking out over Ballycotton Bay on a crisp calm winters morning. 


2. Which is your favourite autumn / winter ingredient to use?

Wild mushrooms! I start foraging for them from around the end of October every year. Just fried in a little butter and garlic and served on toast or with pasta, they are delicious. Or else they make a fantastic mushroom soup.


3. What would be your dream Christmas dinner feast?

I'm quite traditional at Christmas so it's roast turkey and glazed ham with all the trimmings. Bread sauce, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, sprouts, carrots and wilted kale. Followed by old fashioned trifle.


4. What are your tips for getting the kids involved in preparing the Christmas dinner?

Don't! My children would look at me as if I had two heads if I asked them to help cook on Christmas day!


5. Can you recommend a foodie, make-it-yourself Christmas gift?

 Sloe Gin is always a winner! 


6. What dishes would you recommend as an alternative to turkey – such as vegetarian dishes or other more unusual meats?

As I mentioned I'm a traditional turkey girl, but if you can get your hands on a naturally reared farmyard goose that's always a treat.  If you know someone who shoots its a great time of year for wild game too. 


7. What’s the best way to use up leftover Christmas dinner ingredients?

A sandwich made from crusty white bread, cold turkey, stuffing, Ballymaloe country relish and mayonnaise in front of the TV on boxing day always hits the spot. 


See Rachel on the Stoves Live Cook stage at BBC Good Food Show Winter