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James Martin’s Home Comforts at Christmas: Just yum

Fiona Wickham

Editor, BBC TV blog

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Do you like food? Have you been watching James Martin’s Home Comforts at Christmas? In greedy appreciation of the series, we’ve plated up some Twitter chat about the show for you.

All 10 episodes have different themes so there’s way more being served than the traditional roast. James is making all kinds of wintry dishes that you can cook in advance, edible gifts you can make, simple recipes for new cooks - and alternatives for the turkey and Christmas pudding haters which still feel sumptuous. It’s really helping us feel Christmassy, where the weather is kind of not.

The series kicked off with James cooking for Sir Michael Parkinson, who provides the Christmassy quote of the episode "I hate turkey, full stop."

So James whips him up a pork fest instead: barbecue ribs and pork belly, garnished with a pork pie on top (really) and to Michael, it’s "Paradise" - just watch this: 

For lovers of traditional scoff like gingerbread, gammon, figgy pudding, roast meat – even sprouts – James is catering for you. And if you’re with Michael Parkinson and you object to traditional Christmas food, James is championing comfort food alternatives like his ultimate macaroni cheese.

Start by melting butter in a warm pan...

Cheddar's not enough, mind. James has leftover gorgonzola dolce, Caerphilly and parmesan going into his sauce, although Adrian has a point here:

We've learned some interesting things. Firstly the words "pan bagnat". Translation: it’s the best and biggest roast dinner sandwich you’ve ever seen. Watch episode six to find out how to make it. Your friends will love you. If you do share it, that is.

And then we can't be the only ones who've wondered why mince pies are called mince pies when they don't have actual minced meat in them. It's because they used to. Seventeenth Century mince pies were filled with minced tongue, cooked Islamic style with dried fruit and sweet spices. 

Not everyone wants to be part of that particular ancient tradition though:

Lovely Mary Berry is in episode six. And because she is lovely, her ideal Christmas foodie gifts are homemade mulberry jam, marmalade and "nicely presented" biscuits.

Watch for the laugh out loud moment when Mary tells James off for separating eggs with his bare hands – now that’s just "typically cheffy" behaviour.

For us, the most imaginative tip so far is this one – who wants to try it with a fry up?

And finally…

Fiona Wickham is the editor of the BBC TV blog.

Home Comforts at Christmas continues daily on BBC One at 3.40pm until Friday, 18 December. All episodes are available to watch in BBC iPlayer for 30 days after broadcast on TV.

All James Martin’s recipes from Home Comforts at Christmas are on the BBC Food website

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