Neven’s Warm Rice Salad with Sour Cranberry Sauce

Serves 6


  • 150g (5oz) wild rice and basmati mix
  • 500ml (18fl oz) chicken stock
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 100g pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 100g mixed dried berries (such as sour cherries, blueberries and golden raisins)
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 large red dessert apple, cut into small pieces
  • 175-200g (6-7oz) celery heart and leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the sour cranberry sauce:

  • 75g (3oz) dried cranberries
  • 300ml (½ pint) fruity red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
  • 25g (1oz) sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp arrowroot
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Cook

Instead of stuffings many American cooks serve their roast turkey with side dishes and often refer to them as dressings. This one is typical – a pilaf type salad of nutty wild rice mixed with dried fruit, toasted pecans, crunchy apple and celery. It would also be delicious with roast duck or can make a good vegetarian alternative that everyone can enjoy. It would also work for St. Stephens Day with leftover turkey and ham

Put the wild rice, chicken stock, bay leaves and half a teaspoon of salt in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until most of the wild grains have popped open and the rice is tender. You may need to add more water if the stock is absorbed too quickly.

Meanwhile, make the sour cranberry sauce. Put the sugar in a small, heavy-based pan with one tablespoon of water and leave over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn the heat to high and cook until you have an amber-coloured caramel (keep a close eye on it as the colour can turn very quickly). Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar – stand back as it will fizz quite violently. Return the pan to the heat and add the soaked cranberries along with the wine. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the mixture has a good sauce consistency.

Mix the arrowroot with two tablespoons of water in a small bowl or jug, then stir into the sauce. Simmer for 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then keep warm over a low heat – it will continue to thicken.

Drain the wild rice and set aside. Melt the butter in a large pan, then add the onion and garlic. Cover and cook over a low heat until the onion is soft and lightly browned. Remove the lid and stir in the chopped celery and thyme. Cook for another 3 minutes. Add the drained rice to the pan with the toasted pecans, dried berries and apricots, the apple, and the celery heart and leaves. Stir gently over a medium heat to warm through. Take off the heat and stir in the parsley, then taste and season. Tip into a warmed serving dish and keep warm until ready to serve.


It’s our Polish Christmas Eve meal, a very special occasion, with 12 dishes to represent the 12 apostles. The ingredients, traditionally, are from the field, orchard, sea and forest. #VigilMeal #Wigilia Wishing everyone all the best. #ChristmasAroundtheWorld


Ren Behan

It’s our Polish Christmas Eve meal, a very special occasion, with 12 dishes to represent the 12 apostles. The ingredients, traditionally, are from the field, orchard, sea and forest. #VigilMeal #Wigilia Wishing everyone all the best. #ChristmasAroundtheWorld


Nigella’s mince pies

Nigella's mince pies

Making mince pies is truely enjoyable. I used to think that making your own mince pies was a ridiculous notion. Believe me, it isn’t.


  • 240g/8oz plain flour
  • 60g/2oz vegetable shortening
  • 60g/2oz cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 orange, juice only
  • pinch salt
  • 350g/12oz Christmas mincemeat
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • You will need a miniature tart tray, each indent 4.5cm/1¾in diameter, a 5.5cm/2¼in round fluted biscuit cutter and a 4cm/1½in star-shaped pastry cutter.


  1. Sift the flour into a shallow freezer-proof bowl, then add small mounds of vegetable shortening.

  2. Add the butter, shake to cover it, then place into the freezer to chill for 20 minutes. (This will make the pastry tender and flaky.)

  3. Mix the orange juice and salt in a separate bowl. Cover and leave in the fridge to chill.

  4. After the 20 minutes, empty the chilled flour and shortening mixture into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to make porridge-like crumbs.

  5. Gradually add the chilled salted orange juice, pulsing until the mixture is just coming together as a dough. Stop just before it comes together (even if some orange juice is left). If all the juice is used up before the dough has begun to come together, add some iced water.

  6. Turn the mixture out onto a clean, floured work surface and, using your hands, knead the mixture to form a dough.

  7. Divide and shape into three equal-sized discs (you’ll need to make the mince pies in three separate batches of 12, unless you’ve got enough tart tins to make all 36 pies at once).

  8. Wrap each disc in cling film and place into the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.

  9. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

  10. Remove a pastry disc from the fridge and roll out on a floured work surface thinly, but so that it will be sturdy enough to support the dense mincemeat filling.

  11. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut out 12 circles a little wider than the moulds in the tart tins. Press the circles gently into the moulds.

  12. Place a teaspoon of mincemeat into each pastry case.

  13. Reroll any remaining dough to a similar thickness, then using a star-shaped cutter, cut out 12 stars and place each lightly onto the mincemeat filling.

  14. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown. Keep an eye on them as they don’t take very long to cook.

  15. Remove from the oven, prising out the little pies straight away and placing onto a wire rack to cool. Allow the empty tray to cool down before repeating the steps from step 10. Repeat until you have made 36 mince pies.

  16. Dust the mince pies with icing sugar and serve.