Foodie resolutions: Lilly Higgins

Chef Lilly Higgins with her Mince Swirls.

Higgins is a food writer, photographer and chef with regular TV series, including Ireland’s Best Young Baker (RTÉ). Her new book, Dream Deli (Gill & MacMillan), is out now. www.lillyhiggins.ie

On Christmas Day

I am usually in my parents house and it’s all food based. We start by having selection boxes for breakfast and a fry-up. For the past few years, I’ve missed all that with the new babies so we get there between ten and 11 to begin a mince pie session. I freeze loads in the run up to Christmas and make all the brandy butter and rum butter. It’s my favourite part of the morning. Then it’s off peeling carrots, or whatever, for the dinner with everyone helping. We have dinner at about three or four and then it’s food coma time.

My Christmas ‘guilty pleasure’

My guilty pleasure is rum butter with ground almonds on toasted brioche, minced pies and fried Christmas pudding.

My ideal ‘food present’ would be

An [London-based chef and food writer Yotam] Ottolenghi hamper, obviously, all the lovely little jars of dukkah, olive oil and bottles of wine.

What is the strangest place you’ve eaten Christmas dinner

It’s always been at home up to now other than when we lived in Africa when I was small. We lived in Zimbabwe and at Christmas went to a holiday home in Nyanga. I remember it being very sunny. We used to have one gem squash each and scoop out the centre and then fill it with butter and we probably had a roast chicken as well.

Other than family and friends, guests at my fantasy Christmas dinner would include

Darina Allen, Yotam Ottolenghi, Alice Waters, Nigel Slater, James Cracknell and Domini Kemp — I love her and she’s so funny, a great business woman and she loves her food.

I would serve

As much local artisan food as I could and I’d introduce them all to spiced beef — except Darina, of course, she definitely knows what that is!

My ‘food’ resolutions for the New Year include

Eating as much raw stuff as I can. I’m really getting into eating food for health. I want to educate my two little boys to keep them confident in the kitchen and I want to develop my own work a lot more, during the year.

My cooking tip this Christmas

Doing all the brandy butters, edible gifts, mince pies, biscotti, well in advance of Christmas Day.


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