Angela Hartnett MBE is chef-patron of Italian fine dining restaurant Murano in Mayfair, and also its newer offshoot, Cafe Murano, which focuses on the cuisine of northern Italy. Hartnett also co-runs Merchants Tavern in Shoreditch with her partner, the chef Neil Borthwick.
Describe an ideal Christmas: where, who, and what you would eat.
At home with all of the family, a big roast turkey, and sprouts with bacon, roasted onions and fresh chestnuts. Quite a traditional affair really.
What’s the worst Christmas you can remember?
I once left a goose in the oven too long, it ended up looking like a Peking duck.
Do you have any favourite Christmas suppliers or merchants – or any Christmas foodstuffs you are fond of?
My secret ingredient – mustard fruits. It’s an Italian condiment made with crystallised fruits preserved in syrup and flavoured with mustard seed oil. Great with turkey and cheeses.
Any tips on how best to cook Christmas lunch?
Take your turkey out of the fridge the night before you cook it, and keep it in a cool place. The meat will be better if not cooked straight from chilled. Once you have cooked your turkey, don’t be scared to let it rest for a decent amount of time while you cook your potatoes and veg. The birds are large enough that they will retain heat and resting the meat will improve its tenderness.
Any Hartnett family traditions at this time of year?
The women in my family have made anolini since I can remember. It’s a traditional Italian pasta dish from the Emilia-Romagna region, of ravioli-like parcels stuffed with veal, in a meat broth. It’s delicious and we still make it the same way every year using my grandmother’s traditional anolini stamp.
Which cheeses would be on your cheeseboard at a party?
Mont d’or Vacherin; it’s the most amazing cheese, particularly served molten with bread or grilled potatoes. It’s so evocative of winter.
What’s good to eat on Boxing Day?
As well as cold cuts, we make a salad with oranges, pomegranate and mint, and a red wine vinegar, olive oil and mustard dressing. It feels healthy after the indulgence of the day before, and is very tasty. I love oranges at this time of year.
Do you have a winter drink or cocktail that you make for yourself at home?
A negroni, every time. Or a glass of strong Italian red wine.
Christmas cake or mince pies? Or neither?
Stollen – Richard Bertinet’s for preference.
What does 2014 hold for you?
I’ll be keeping busy checking in with the teams at Café Murano and Merchants Tavern, which have both opened recently – discussing menus with two quite different but absolutely fantastic head chefs, Sam Williams and Neil Borthwick, respectively. I’ll of course still be cooking at Murano with Diego Cardoso as well as running the masterclasses there, and cooking at Hartnett, Holder and Co. at Lime Wood too. I think that’s rather enough to be getting on with for now!
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