Hairy Bikers Go North – Christmas

Hairy Bikers Go North

The Hairy Bikers Go North – Christmas: The Hairy Bikers are back on the road, and this time they have got their sights set on creating a northern festive feast for their families.



Dave and Si both feel it has been far too long since their families have been together around one table for a proper celebration. So, over a bacon butty and cup of tea at one of their favourite haunts, the Hartside Cafe in Cumbria, they hatch a plan.

The Bikers find a local base to cook and host the party, and then ride the backbone of the north, the Pennines, from top to bottom, to meet, taste and be inspired by the best food artisans and producers around. They then create a Christmas dinner using the ingredients they have found, treating their families to the best northern Christmas ever.


The Hairy Bikers Go North – Christmas


French trimmed roast pork

French trimmed roast pork
French trimmed roast pork

The roast with the most! French trimmed roast pork with a sausagemeat, cranberry and chestnut stuffing, crisp crackling and a rich gravy. A great alternative to roast turkey at Christmas.


  • First score and prepare the pork skin, this is easiest when it is still fridge-cold. Score the skin all along the joint, then cut the skin and fat away from the top of the joint and along the contour of the joint, leaving around 5cm/2in intact at the base so it remains in one piece (this will create a flap where the stuffing will be added later). Leave out of the fridge to come up to room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
  • To make the stuffing, heat the oil in a frying pan. Gently fry the onion until soft and translucent, then remove from the heat to cool. Put the cranberries or prunes in a small saucepan with the calvados or brandy. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave until all the liquid has been absorbed. Combine the onions and cranberries or prunes with all the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
  • Pull back the flap you have cut on the joint of pork and spread the stuffing over the exposed area. Replace the flap, then tie the joint together at intervals to help keep the stuffing in place. Rub the skin with oil and season with salt. Weigh the joint and work out the cooking time – it will take 30 minutes per 500g/1lb 2oz after the initial sizzle.
  • Arrange the onions over the centre of a large roasting tin and top with the thyme sprigs. Place the pork on top. Put in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Cook for the time you have worked out, sprinkling the cut sides of the apples with the sugar and adding for the last 45 minutes.
  • Remove the pork, apples and onions from the roasting tin. Loosely cover with kitchen foil to rest. Drain off any liquid, then set the tin over a heat and stir in the flour. Stir to deglaze the tin and make a roux, then gradually add the cider and stir to a thick paste. Pour in the stock and any skimmed pan juices, then stir until the base of the tin is completely clean. Strain into a saucepan. Taste for seasoning and add a little apple jelly and calvados or brandy to taste (if using).

Christmas veggie Wellington – The Hairy Bikers Go North – Christmas

Christmas veggie Wellington
Christmas veggie Wellington

Banish any thought of bland vegetarian food with this veggie Wellington packed with mushrooms, chestnuts, herbs and prunes. Use any pastry offcuts to decorate the Wellington and make it look extra special.


  • First make the filling. Heat the oil and butter in large frying pan and add the onion and celery. Cook until the onion is starting to caramelise, then add the grated vegetables. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until they have reduced down considerably. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the garlic and herbs. Continue to cook for another 2–3 minutes then stir in the lemon zest and spices. Set aside to cool. When cool, stir in all the remaining filling ingredients and set aside.
  • For the outer filling, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and add the shallots. Gently fry until translucent, then add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms have reduced in volume and any liquid has evaporated – the texture should almost be that of a mushroom pate. Wilt down the spinach in a little water, then drain and finely chop. Squeeze as much water out as you can, then stir through the mushrooms and lemon juice, to taste. Set aside to cool completely.
  • To assemble, put the prunes in a small saucepan and cover with the sherry or Marsala. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat and leave the prunes to absorb the sherry.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Line a baking sheet or tray with baking paper.
Method part 2:
  • To assemble the Wellington, flour a large piece of baking paper and roll the puff pastry out to around 30cm–40cm/12–16in. Spread a quarter of the cold mushroom mixture lengthways down the middle of the puff pastry, leaving a border on both short sides. Pile half the filling mixture on top, then put a line of the prunes along the centre. Add the rest of the filling, making sure it seamlessly joins together, then spread the rest of the mushroom mixture on the top and sides of the filling. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash, then bring up the sides to cover the filling and slightly overlap. Seal the ends, trimming a little if you want to then carefully roll onto the lined baking tray so the join is on the bottom. Cut a few slashes in the top to help steam escape and brush with more egg wash. Use any offcuts of pastry to decorate, if you wish. Bake for around 35 minutes, or until the Wellington is rich golden-brown and piping hot. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
  • Meanwhile to make the gravy, heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan. Add the shallot and fry on a medium-high heat until it has softened and caramelised. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have reduced down and are dry. Stir in the garlic and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, then turn up the heat and add the wine. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then add the mushroom ketchup and stock a little at a time until it has all been added and you have a fairly thin gravy. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Strain through a sieve if you prefer it smooth or serve as is.
  • To make the cranberry sauce, put the cranberries, orange (or clementine) juice and zest, and sugar into a saucepan. Add a splash of water and cook over a gentle heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When most of the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened, taste and add a little more sugar if necessary. Stir in the sherry or port and simmer for another minute. Transfer to a serving bowl and allow to cool.
  • When the wellington is ready, slice into pieces and serve with gravy and cranberry sauce.

Christmas pudding trifle

Christmas pudding trifle
Christmas pudding trifle

Christmas trifles are always an indulgent affair but this one is a little extra. Using Christmas pudding and madeira cake for the base and swapping jelly for tropical fruit makes it rich and sumptuous. Make sure you use a good, thick custard and leave time to allow it to set in the fridge.


  • Arrange the Madeira cake and Christmas pudding in a layer in the base of a trifle bowl. Pour over around half of the ginger wine (add as much of the wine as you think necessary – you don’t want it so soggy the cake is swimming in it).
  • Arrange the mango slices over the top, then add the pineapple. Pour over the custard, making sure it is evenly smoothed over. If you have time, leave it to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. This will allow the flavours to meld together and the custard to set.
  • Put the double cream and vanilla in a bowl and sift the icing sugar on top. Whisk until soft and billowy, then pour over the custard.
  • Decorate with toasted flaked almonds and long pieces of pared orange zest. If using the marshmallows, pile on top and toast lightly using a chef’s blow torch.
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