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From barbecues to ‘duvet beef’, we asked 7 top chefs for their favourite Christmas food memories

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Reminiscing over Christmases past is a crucial part of the festive season, especially when it comes to making a decision over what you’ll be dishing up this year.

So, we caught up with a few of our favourite chefs to discover their ultimate Christmas foodie memories…

1. According to Tim Anderson, you can grow to love mince pies

And so it begins ….the first of hundreds ??. #eglinton #greencat #lovelocal #christmasbaking #mincepies

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MasterChef winner Tim is American, so his first British Christmas was quite the experience: “First of all, so many desserts – trifle, the cake, the Christmas pudding. Then my mother-in-law makes Christmas cookies and rocky road. Mince pies; I didn’t like them at first, I thought they were too sweet, but now I can’t get enough of them. And then the roast dinner, which I think is the height of British cooking. Roast potatoes, my father-in-law taught me to make them and they’re amazing. We just do mash in America.”

2. Rick Stein remembers a hot Aussie Christmas

As my wife @sasstein says “Great to be back on an Aussie beach” . Thanks @GourmetEscape for a wonderful welcome beach. BBQ at Bunker Bay. Delicious swim, followed,by @hayshedhill sparkling chardonnay lovely slow cooked pork and a great pineapple salad pic.twitter.com/OnaCL2Btds

— Rick Stein (@Rick_Stein) November 16, 2017

“The first time I had an Australian Christmas, which was salad and prawns outdoor by the pool – and this was in the early-Eighties; my fond memories are always of having turkey or goose – but having a genuine Australian Christmas, which a lot of Aussies don’t have, they still have roast turkey, was quite special,” says the seafood aficionado.

3. Barbecuing in the snow is fine by Claire Thompson

(Mike Lusmore/PA)

The ‘5 O’clock Apron’ blogger lived in Africa until she was eight, so grew up having hot Christmases by the pool, as did her Kiwi husband Matt. But some of her favourite Christmases have been since she moved to England and started spending them at her mum’s house in Shropshire, although they still rarely have turkey: “We have a brilliant photo of Matt standing in gum boots in about 3ft of snow with a head-torch on, barbecuing steaks in my mum’s garden.”

4. The trick is to have an all-day breakfast, says Kirstie Allsopp

Guess what? Yes, we are! We've so beaten you @jamieoliver #Firsttofilm #Earlybird

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To avoid rushing about with the turkey, while the kids open their presents first thing, the presenter and Kirstie’s Real Kitchen author has restructured Christmas day: “I like to do the supper at six o’clock, after the Queen’s speech, and basically have an all-day, rolling breakfast while everyone opens their presents. So, pancakes, scrambled eggs and maybe a bit of salmon – easy things. You can keep everyone fed and occupied – maybe have a couple of glasses of prosecco – and then have a big early supper.”

5. In John Whaite’s house, the sprouts are always waterlogged

It was very touching to be included in @dianahenryfood's top 20 autumn cookbooks in this weekend's @telegraph. #JohnWhaiteComfort #comfortfood

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“It’s like a scene from Piranha – the good films, not the new ones with Kelly Brook – with hands coming from every direction trying to grab the crispiest potatoes,” says the former Bake Off champion of his traditional Christmas lunches at home. “Poor mum always waterlogs the Brussels sprouts, no matter how hard I try to say, ‘Please, just fry them’. So I said, ‘This year, I don’t care what’s happening, I will kidnap you if I have to, I’m taking your freedom away from you and I’m making my sticky Lebanese sprouts’. I don’t boil anything these days, except pasta!”

6. For Gino D’Acampo, Italian Christmas lunch is a serious business

Gino is in #Hull today to check out the new site ahead of our #December opening, then onto #Harrogate for a party tonight! ??Happy Saturday everyone! #celebrate #weekend #hull

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“Here, it’s all about having a starter and then having this huge plate, where the turkey goes on top and the Yorkshire pudding and the potatoes, then it’s pretty much over. In Italy it’s different,” explains Gino D’Acampo, whose new book, Gino’s Italian Coastal Escape, was recently released. “We do between 10 and 15 different courses. We have fish, because we don’t have turkey. One of the dishes we do is sea bass cooked in a salt crust. We do a lot of antipasti, cured hams and cheeses. Then we do one or two plates of pasta. There is a lot for everybody, and you put everything in the middle of the table and spend four or five hours eating all beautiful different kinds of foods.”

7. Kate Young’s granny makes the most decadent duvet beef

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again. Alice's Adventures Through the Looking-Glass Lewis Carroll ~ The coziest of scenes. This winter, on December 16, @silverpebble2 and I are hosting a day long retreat in London (near Angel tube). Make silver pendants, woodland wreaths, crystallized ginger, and mincemeat, and feast all day long on delicious food, tea and (in the evening) hedgerow cocktails. We're so looking forward to it – please do come and join us. Only a few tickets left – follow the link in my profile to the events page and click through! Glorious pic here by the superlatively talented @leantimms.

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Australian-born food writer Kate Young, author of the literary inspired Little Library Cookbook, remembers the year her granny visited the UK from Brisbane for one Christmas: “My granny made duvet beef for Christmas dinner, which is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. It’s an enormous beef rump that she roasts for 45 minutes in a really hot oven, and then pulls it out and wraps up straightaway in foil, newspaper and then in a massive duvet, and then puts it in a box and leaves it for seven hours – it sounds absolutely insane, and if you don’t wrap it tight enough and it loses heat, you’re just left with raw beef.

“It gradually cooks inside the duvet, and it’s the best rare roast beef you’ve ever had; blush pink the entire way through. She didn’t have her special duvet and box in England that year, so we wrapped it in all our winter coats and put it in my suitcase!”

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