CHRISTMAS WITH SKYE MCALPINE

The food author reveals her stylish festive secrets...

Skye McAlpine moved to Venice when she was six and her passion for Venetian cooking resulted in her blogging about the city.

Skye’s book, A Table In Venice: Recipes From My Home, evokes the joys of sharing simple, fresh dishes. A mum of two, Skye likes to gift home-made Christmas cakes and go over the top with her festive table.

Sum up your Christmas in five words…

My happiest time of year.

Any traditions?

Every year, I bake Christmas cakes and give them to friends as gifts – I’ve done it since I was a child. On Christmas Day, we always do the same thing for breakfast: slices of hot, buttered, toasted panettone with ginger tea and hot chocolate while we open our stockings.

Tell us about your festive meal?

We usually do Christmas lunch in the traditional British style: turkey or goose, lots of stuffing (my mother has a wonderful recipe), roast potatoes and red cabbage. Plus panettone with brandy butter and Christmas cake topped with marzipan for pudding.

Do you have any cookery shortcuts?

I don’t peel or parboil my potatoes before roasting. I just drench them in lots of olive oil, throw in a few handfuls of fresh thyme and rosemary, and roast in the oven until golden and crisp.

What about the table?

Christmas for me is all about going over the top: I like the table to be covered in goodies. I start with a nice linen tablecloth and napkins (Once Milano is my favourite), vintage plates and beautiful pink Murano glasses from Giberto Venezia. Then lots of pretty plants in terracotta pots down the centre of the table, interspersed with shimmering candles, bowls of fresh fruit and nuts, sweets, chocolates and glacé fruits.

Three fail-safe gifts for foodies?

A Sicilian pistachio butter-studded panettone (I buy mine online from Dosicily), monogrammed tea towels from Volga Linen and, of course, my cookbook…

See the Christmas gift trends for 2019.

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