From irresistible nibbles to decadent desserts: our best recipes for Christmas Day

A decadent starter – and a godsend for cooks who like to get ahead.

A set of festive snacks: caraway, spelt and parmesan grissini with aleppo chilli, to dip in a three-cheese mix with spiced date syrup and pine nuts, and a posh, sake-cured salmon with sesame sprinkles and pickles.

Two light first courses to offset the big feast to come – a bright prawn, fennel and celery salad, and a ricotta and spinach bake that’s somewhere between a soufflé and a frittata.

With roast cassava, a garlic and coriander salsa, rainbow chard with ham hock, and a cranberry and chard stem pickle.

A cheering alternative ham with a spicy, sweet-sour Mexican glaze of pineapple and chilli.

Dried fruits are a speciality of the Levant, and bring festive luxuriousness to these dishes of fragrant roast chicken and nutty, chewy jewelled pilau rice.

A bulging, festive squash filled with a savoury stuffing of spicy, herby veg, mushrooms and nuts.

A crisp and fresh winter salad of festive red cabbage, crunchy apple and sweet-sour pomegranate that will go nicely with any roast.

A whole fillet of salmon baked with fennel in chilli and sea salt, then drizzled with a honey, lemon verbena and clementine vodka glaze, with candied clementines, and a dill creme fraiche.

Spiced apple pies that will win over people who (say they) don’t like mince pies.

Turn the remains of the festive table into a barnstorming pie that’s as satisfying to make as it is to eat.

Introducing a Chinese-inspired vegan centrepiece for your Navidad mesa.

Delicious – and easily adapted to feed however many people you have around the table.

A Scandinavian feast of blow-dried roast duck with a boozy cherry sauce, a winter salad with clementines and candied walnuts, and a luxurious, layered potato hotpot.

Wild mushroom, chestnut and stilton filo pie, a “sunset roast” of swede, pumpkin and sweet potato with saffron lemon yoghurt, and pickled beetroot with a sprout, dried cherry and dill slaw.

A crowd-pleasing seafood alternative to the turkey roast.

Turn heads with a roast spatchcock chicken in chilli butter, with a Gruffalo-inspired stuffing cake, sweet potatoes roasted with pecan and lime, and a zingy sprout slaw.

A banquet of gammon cooked with stout, oranges, molasses and spices, with sides of mustard pears, blue cheese gratin, roast parsnip and date salad, herby sprouts with puy lentils, and a caramelised onion mash.

Everyone will tuck into these festive beetroot pastries – plus a recipe for honeyed harissa brussel that may even win over the anti-sprout brigade.

Known as vada pav, this snack gets on well with a bit of green chutney for the perfect festive evening snack.

The perfect combination: spicy chicken jewelled with cranberries and cashews, and a sharp fruity side.

A big, bronzed turkey or a sage and stilton nut roast this year? Or both? And not forgetting all the classic festive sides. Our resident perfectionist shows you how.

This adaptable seasonal favourite features a ricotta pastry with just the right amount of flaky crumble and a thick and richly flavoured filling.

A satisfying dessert that’s a cross between mousse, cheesecake filling and blancmange – enjoy with a glass of something strong.

The pinnacle of trifle decadence: mascarpone, panettone, poached pear and chunks of dark chocolate, with a good kick of sherry.

A chocolate and cinnamon rice pudding, known as kheer + caramelised almonds = a Christmas dessert with the x-factor.

A tender, outrageously sweet dessert.

Is there any dessert more flamboyant than this retro barnstormer of ice-cream on a sponge base, all smothered in meringue and blowtorched to crackly perfection?

If you’re still looking for a high-impact sweet centrepiece for the Christmas table, this simple baked dessert is ideal.

This festive tribute to the Terry’s Chocolate Orange makes for a showstopping dessert.

The sweetness of clementine curd mellows the hit of fiery ginger in this tasty winter pudding.

A winning alternative to traditional Christmas pud. Spoons at the ready …

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Food stylists: Emily Kydd (Yotam, hasta que la mezcla quede ligera y no queden grumos de merengue, Sweet Spot, huéspedes, Tomás), Kitty Coles (Felicidad, Thomasina, Meera, guest spots), Benjamina Ebuehi, Anna Wilkins (Sweet Spot), Rosie Ramsden (Felicidad), Ellie Mulligan (guest spots). Prop styling: Jennifer Kay (Yotam, Rachel Roddy, Felicidad, guest spot, Tomás), Louie Waller (Felicidad, Thomasina, Meera, guest spots), Tabitha Hawkins (Felicidad), Toni Musgrave (Thomasina, guest slots). Comida styling assistants: Jessica Geddes (Yotam, Raquel), Rosie French (Felicidad) Julia Aden (Sweet Spot, Raquel), Sarah Vassallo (Felicidad, Meera, guest spots). Photo assistant and retouching: Sophie Bronze (Yotam, Rachel Roddy, huéspedes, Tom Hunt).

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