Christmas table

The traditional Czech Christmas meal is carp and potato salad, and this year we spent Christmas at my aunt’s and cousins’ house who added some lovely seafood into the mix. And this is what it all looked like.

The table set for dinner before we descended on it.

The table set for dinner before we descended on it.

Soup with liver dumplings to start off with.


The pièce de résistance (according to some only) the carp in breadcrumbs.

The pièce de résistance (according to some only) the carp in breadcrumbs.

And the true pièce de résistance for me - potato salad.

And the true pièce de résistance for me – potato salad.

Some more yummy seafood in case there wasn’t enough.

Tuna, scallops, prawns and squid.

Tuna, scallops, prawns and squid.

My plate -  can guess which dish is my favourite?

My plate – can guess which dish is my favourite?


And last but not least – homemade Christmas cookies – Czech style

xmas food


And that’s it! I have to say that I can’t take absolutely any credit for cooking any of the above, which were all made by my aunt and cousins and were all amazingly delicious. My mum made the carp which was also tastier than we remembered, so all in all it was a success, thanks to all those who did the cooking!

What did you eat for you Christmas dinner/lunch? Whatever it was I hope you’ve had a great time eating fantastic food in good company like we did.

Merry Christmas!







Carrot and green bean risotto

SAMSUNGThis recipe is based on non other than my favourite chef at the moment – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe in his Veg everyday cookbook. His recipe is with baby carrots and broad beans whereas mine is with normal carrots and green beans because that’s what I had in the fridge, but otherwise the recipe and amounts are the same.


1 tbl spoon olive oil

40g butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

about 800ml vegetable stock

200g risotto rice

250 – 300g carrots cut lenghtways into about 2cm pieces

150g green beans

Paremesan or goats cheese to sprinkle over the top

handful of flat leaf parsely, chopped



Heat 25g of butter with the oil and fry the onion until soft (about 10 mins). Add the rice and mix with the onion.

Add the wine. Cook until wine is absorbed and then add the stock , about a quarter at a time, waiting until it’s absorbed and stirring frequently before adding the next stock.

Add the carrots and beans to the mix about 5 mins after the rice.

Cook until rice and veg is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in the butter, and serve with the parsley, parmesan, and a sprinkle of olive oil.


Baked potato gratin with cheese and onions



This combination of potatoes, fried onions, cheese and butter is amazing and real comfort food. I’ve followed Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe.

“Pan Haggerty

The Northumberland take on the delicious combination of potatoes, onions and cheese. Rich and buttery, I like it with a crisp, green salad and some simply cooked pulses. Serves six as a side dish.

50g butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
500g fairly firm-fleshed maincrop potatoes such as maris piper
80g mature cheddar, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Melt half the butter in a 20-25cm ovenproof frying pan over a medium-low heat and fry the onions for about 15 minutes, until soft and golden. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and slice them very thinly (use a mandolin or the slicing side of a box cheese grater).

Set aside a good pinch of the cheese – about 10g. Scoop the onions out of the pan. Layer a third of the sliced potatoes into the still-buttery pan, then add half the onions and half the cheese. Season well. Repeat the layers, then finish with a final layer of potatoes. Dot the remaining butter and the reserved cheese over the top and season. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender all the way through and the top is golden. Serve piping hot.”

Vegetable risotto with haloumi burger

Vegetable risotto with haloumi burger

Vegetable risotto with haloumi burger


I love Czech fried cheese in breadcrumbs and haloumi cheese is also great to fry and add as a side instead of meat or add to your burger bun instead of meat, or with meat if you’re so inclined.

This haloumi was knocking about in the fridge and needed to be used up so I just fried it and had it with a standard vegetable risotto. This risotto is an adaptation of my favorite Ottolenghi’s multi vegetable paella which I love and have cooked many times before, but the one above is just using vegetables I had in the fridge.


Sardine and butter spread


It’s a Czech thing to have a light dinner and a heavy lunch, which is opposite to the English way of having a sandwich for lunch and a big meal for dinner.

Today’s dinner was home baked bread, with sardine spread (sardines, butter, salt blitzed in a blender or you can mash it with a fork) with a bit of garnish on top. You can also add some fresh onion for extra kick.

Easy, quick and tasty.

Roast veg, courgette, pepper and artichoke pasta

This is a easy dish to whip up for dinner or lunch.

Fry some red pepper and courgette with olive oil, until charred and soft.

Cook pasta.

Mix it together, adding pesto, chopped cherry tomatoes, some fresh herbs (basil or parsley) and some grilled artichokes. You can also add toasted pine nuts and sprinkle with Parmesan. Add salt and pepper and your’re ready to eat.

Top tip: Make more to put in your lunchbox for the next day.

Butternut squash and sage risotto

This recipe is from the September issue of the Czech food magazine Apetit.

Serves 4

1kg butternut squash – cut into squares and baked in the oven at 200 degrees until soft with some olive oil and chopped sage

2 tbl spoons olive oil

a bunch of sage – half finely chopped

1.5l vegetable stock

50g butter

salt and freshly gournd pepper

1 onion – finely chopped

300g risotto rice

150ml white wine

50g parmesan – finely grated

Bake the squash in the oven until soft. Fry the onion in half of the butter, until soft. Stir in the rice and wine. Leave the wine to evaporate and then add a ladel full of vegetable stock. Wait until the stock evaporates and then add another one. Keep doing this until you use up all the stock. In the meantime fry whole sage leave in the olive oil and dry on a paper kitchen towel. Add half of the baked squash to the risotto and squash it in with a fork until mashed. Add salt and pepper.  Serve the risotto with the other half of the squash on top and the fried sage leaves.

Bon apetit!