It’s been a challenging year for everyone, with lots of uncertainty around the globe. One thing remains unchanged in many households – Christmas is a time we want to spend with our loved ones. At Upscale Living magazine, we have sourced a complete menu for you to make at home, ensuring that this will be a Christmas to remember.

A Christmas to remember, Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake, Heckfield Place, England

For wintertime cheer at its finest, the bucolic English countryside cannot be beaten, with its snowglobe-style scenery, quintessentially British atmosphere, and Heckfield Place, the Georgian manor house-turned-luxury hotel in Hampshire located on 438 acres of land. Renowned chef Skye Gyngell, the Culinary Director at Heckfield Place, has created the below recipes, ideal for any Christmas table across the world:

1 cup Plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 ½ cup sultanas
½ cup prunes pitted and chopped
1 cup seeded raisins
1 cup amerena cherries, half chopped
1 cup blanched almonds blitzed
1 cup candied peel
¼ zest lemon
½ zest orange
3/4 cups muscovado sugar
4 eggs
¾ cup butter, melted
⅓ cup brandy

– The day before, mix sultanas, raisins, and cognac; allow to soak overnight. The next day, drain the cognac from the fruit and set the juice aside. Place fruit in a mixer, add almonds, candied peel, zest of lemon and orange, and the muscovado sugar. In a second bowl, combine cherries and prunes.
– Mix sugar and fruit very well; then add cherries and prunes. Next, sift the dry ingredients into another bowl, and add the butter, eggs, and cognac. Now add the batter to the fruit mixture and mix very well.
– Butter your cake tins and fill them with the cake mix.
– Bake for 1 to 2 hours until the cake is firm to touch and dry when tested with a toothpick in the middle.
– Cool the cake.

Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup Insured with Lemon Grass, Fregate Island Private, Seychelles

Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Fregate Island Private in Seychelles offers visitors total seclusion with only 17 villas sprinkled throughout the nature-rich island. In addition to enjoying the island’s tortoise sanctuary, beaches, and water activities, guests are able to dine anywhere on the island- including the island’s highest point. Fregate Island Private’s Pumpkin Soup Infused with Lemon Grass is a popular recipe amongst guests and a perfect way to stay warm this holiday season. Fusing the cozy flavors of fall and the freshest ingredients, this simple recipe can easily be made at home.

Ingredients (serves 4 people):
One small 2-3lb pumpkin (peacock pumpkin or any similar pumpkin you like)
2 large onions
¼ cup cream
7 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
¾ cup of chopped lemongrass
6 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons of chives

– Peel and wash the pumpkin. Cut it into 2 cm cubes and reserve.
– Peel and wash the onion and cut it into slices
-Wash and dry the lemongrass
– Heat a pan (8 inches diameter recommended)
– Add butter and let it melt
– Add pumpkin, onion, lemongrass, and chicken stock
– Let it cook on mid-heat for 20 – 25 minutes and stir now and then
– Remove the lemongrass after 25 minutes and blend the soup
– Once you have a creamy soup, bring it to boil, add the cream, salt, and pepper – season to taste.
– Serve the soup in your favorite bowl, garnish with the chopped chive and add some dry crisp-croutons if you like.

Gambaroni, Karotte, Kürbis, Vadouvan C Lukas Kirchgasser Fotografie
Gambaroni, Karotte, Kürbis, Vadouvan C Lukas Kirchgasser Fotografie

Gamba Carabinero, Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Munich

Hotel Bayerischer Hof is an institution that exudes the grandeur of a renowned city hotel. Purchased by the Volkhardt family from King Ludwig I over 100 years ago, the hotel is one of the oldest in the city, now featuring modern designs from acclaimed architect Andree Putman and Axel Vervoordt. The hotel’s rooftop terrace is an oasis in itself, offering panoramic views of the city and the distant Bavarian Alps, along with its Blue Spa and rooftop pool with retractable roof, bar, lounge, and restaurant. Hotel Bayerischer Hof is famous for its many design collaborations, in particular its ongoing partnership with the Axel Vervoordt, one of the world’s most emulated tastemakers. The hotel also has six bars, including Falk’s Bar in the famed ‘Mirror Hall,’ the only room in the hotel to have survived the Second World War unscathed. The hotel’s three Michelin starred restaurant Atelier is one of the most popular in the city and is frequented by hotel guests and residents who flock to enjoy the exquisite cuisine by head chef Jan Hartwig.

4 Gambas
Bamboo basket (min. 25cm diameter)
4 skewers
1 slice of galangal
1 stick of roughly cut lemongrass
3 Kaffir lime leaves

– Peel the prawns down to the last tail segment and remove the intestines.
– Soak in the saltwater for 7 minutes and then rinse briefly under running water.
– Dab them dry and place them on the skewers.
– Bring a pot with some water, galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves to the boil and insert the bamboo basket. Place the prawns in the basket, close it with the lid, and remove it from the cooker.
– Steam the prawns for 3-4 minutes until they’re glassy.

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Rome

This wintertime favorite is offered by Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel at its Tiepolo Lounge & Terrace as part of its special festive menu. Ideal as a sweet aperitif after a winter’s day or as a warm dessert cocktail, the Tiepolo Bar Irish Coffee offers the inviting aroma of the coffee, the warmth of whiskey, and perfect flavor pairing of sugar and whipped cream.

1.35 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey 3 oz Coffee
1 oz Whipped cream
3 Coffee beans

– Prepare and pour 3 oz coffee over 2 spoons of sugar
– Mix to dissolve the sugar
– Add 1.35 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey and gently mix
– Add 1 oz whipped cream
-Garnish with 3 coffee beans

Naughty Hot Chocolate recipe

Naughty Hot Chocolate, Hotel Ranga, Iceland

A Christmas Eve tradition in Iceland is curling up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. While the Yule Lads (instead of Santa) will deem whether you’ve been naughty or nice, you can decide how you want your hot cocoa at Hotel Ranga after a day of arctic adventures. Using the cream instead of just milk makes the consistency of the hot chocolate thicker because you’ll need that extra layer for an evening of stargazing or awaiting the Northern Lights.

1 oz Stroh
Hot Chocolate A La Hotel Rangá (recipe below)
Lightly whipped cream
Chocolate flakes

Hot chocolate

1 c milk
1 c cream
2 c dark chocolate
½ c sugar

Boil milk and cream in a pot until it starts boiling. Set aside. Add 300 gr dark chocolate and 100 gr sugar. Mix in with the milk until all the chocolate is melted. Add a shot of Stroh to make it naughty, or don’t to make it nice. Serve with whipped cream and sprinkle chocolate flakes on top.

Sea & Mountains, Hotel Hassler Roma, Rome recipe

Sea & Mountains, Hotel Hassler Roma, Rome

A signature dish served at Hotel Hassler Roma, the iconic five-star hotel located atop the Spanish Steps. Guests can enjoy this dish at the Michelin-Starred panoramic Imàgo restaurant, with Chef Andrea Antonini at the helm.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
400 gr cardoncelli mushrooms
300 g gobbetti shrimp
100 g butter
parsley to taste
Porto wine to taste
Brandy to taste
Paprika to taste
Pepper to taste
Oregano to taste
Lemon to taste
1 spoon of Lemon juice
1 lemon peel
seasonal herbs

– Cut the mushrooms into julienne strips
– Clean the prawns
– Sear prawns
– Put the mushrooms (cleaned, washed, and cut into julienne strips) in a pan with water, just enough to soften them
– Add the bisque*
– Add the aromatic butter*
– Finish with a spoon of lemon juice and lemon peel
– Serve on a soup plate, then put the prawns on top and garnish with herbs

​Toast the remaining cardoncelli mushrooms together with the prawns’ tortoise shells and heads; Simmer with brandy, add ice and let it simmer for 3 hours. Filter and reduce.

Aromatic Butter:
Add the below to a standing mixer and blend:
100 g butter
parsley to taste
Porto wine to taste
Brandy to taste
Paprika to taste
Pepper to taste
Oregano to taste
Lemon to taste

Smoked Watermelon (Veda) recipe

Smoked Watermelon (Vegan) Veda at Ovolo Central, Hong Kong

At Ovolo Central, a leading designer hotel in Hong Kong, Chef Hetty McKinnon crafts an all-vegetarian menu (the first ever at a hotel restaurant in Hong Kong) at VEDA, incorporating ingredients local culinary traditions as well as tastes from around the world to create vegetable-focused comfort food.  And now, with the entire Ovolo Hotels collection in Hong Kong and Australia going completely vegetarian for the next year, VEDA is leading the way with such satisfying classics as “Smoked Watermelon,” a perfect vegan addition (and stand-in for the traditional Christmas ham) to the holiday table.

Ingredients (Serves 2. Time: 75 minutes):
500g Seedless watermelon
2pc Cinnamon stick, cracked
4pc Green cardamom, crushed
2pc Star anise
10-12pc Cloves

90g Balsamic vinegar
30g Maple syrup
60g Water
15g Tamarind paste
Salt to taste
Black pepper, ground to taste

– Preheat oven to 200°C / 392o
– Peel and score the watermelon in a crosshatch pattern.
– In a small cast iron pan or oven-safe roasting pan, place the cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise at the base of the pan.
– Insert 1pc of clove at each cross hatched point on the melon.
– Place the watermelon on top of the spices in the pan and set aside.
– In a bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, tamarind paste, water, and salt & pepper.
– Pour the balsamic glaze over the watermelon. The glaze is thin initially but will thicken as the watermelon cooks.
– Place the watermelon in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Use a spoon to baste the watermelon every 10-15 minutes.
– As the watermelon cooks, the glaze will thicken and begin to stick to the surface of the melon.
– After the watermelon is baked, the appearance should resemble a baked ham in color – caramelized and brown.
– Serve as is or smoke at the table using a smoke gun.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie, Zarafa Camp, Botswana recipe

Vegan Pumpkin Pie, Zarafa Camp, Botswana

A delicious vegan pie is the ideal healthy option for the holiday season from Great Plains Executive Chef Kenalemang (Kenny) Modise, based at Zarafa Camp, Botswana. The founders of Great Plains are big believers in healthy eating – even at their camps in the most remote parts of Africa. Great Plains camps now serve high-end vegan cuisine, and the company has a Great Plains Plant-Based Cookbook in the works, which will be published in mid-2021. Kenny’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie will be enjoyed by guests staying at Great Plains Kenya and Botswana properties this holiday season.

Vegan Pie Crust
125g refrigerated vegetable shortening or extra virgin coconut oil
375ml white bread flour
½ teaspoon salt
15ml castor sugar
15ml iced water

– First, add the flour, sugar, and salt to the food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
– Add the cold cubed vegetable shortening or pieces of solidified coconut oil. Pulse until the texture resembles that of breadcrumbs.
– With the food processor running, add a few tablespoons of ice water until the pastry begins to clump together.
– Transfer to a lightly floured surface, and work the dough into a ball, don’t use your hands too long, or it will warm up the fat.
– Roll out the pastry to about 3mm in diameter.
– Transfer the dough onto a greased pie plate by wrapping the dough around the rolling pin and carefully placing it on the plate.
-Push the dough into the edges of the pie plate gently. Trim off any excess, and replace any broken areas.
– Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the fridge and blind bake for 20-25 minutes at 200oC / 392o

Pumpkin Filling Ingredients:
1 cup roast pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon cornstarch

– Add the pumpkin puree, coconut cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and cornstarch to a blender and blend until very smooth.
– Pour the mixture into a pie plate lined with a piecrust. Spread the mixture evenly with a spatula.
– Cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil to avoid over-browning.
– Bake for 1 hour at 150oC / 300o
– Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.

Coconut Caramel

1 cup coconut cream
½ cup white cane sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– Caramelize the sugar in a shallow saucepan taking care to fold in the edges to avoid burning.
– Mix the coconut cream, cornstarch, and salt and whisk into the caramelized sugar away from heat.
-Return to heat for 30 seconds and whisk in the vanilla extract. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
– To finish the pie, top with roasted almond and pour the caramel over. Let the pie sit and set overnight.