Bored of the usual turkey? Fancy a change from the traditional trimmings? This year, how about surprising your family and guests with a James Bond-themed Christmas dinner? A flick through the books shows that there's lots of dishes to choose from. Here's what I might cook up this Christmas.
After an aperitif of a vesper, or maybe a bourbon, I'd have to start with caviare. Serve chopped boiled eggs or shallots as accompaniments, and make sure you have plenty of toast to hand. For those who aren't so keen on caviare, you could serve a prawn cocktail, as consumed in The Man with the Golden Gun. Try smoked prawns for a twist to the classic ensemble.
For the main course, I'd stick with a bird of some kind (although beef comes a close second), and almost certainly choose a partridge, one per person. Cook it in a French country style, the way that Bond likes it (On Her Majesty's Secret Service). Season well, cover with bacon, thyme and butter and roast for up to one hour. Simple country fare. Ian Fleming doesn't have much to say about vegetables, so I'd have the standard roast potatoes, carrots and sprouts (for the sprouts, try par-boiling them, then fry them in butter, fresh herbs and a glass or two of champagne – sprouts fit for James Bond).
If you prefer to follow the meal with something lighter than Christmas pudding, then the Bond novels have a few options. Bond likes savoury flavours, so I'd perhaps serve a cheese soufflé, which Bond eats in Goldfinger. If the idea of a soufflé is terrifying (especially on a high-pressure day like Christmas Day), try angels on horseback (Dr No) instead. Wrap each oyster (for convenience, use tinned smoked oysters) with a strip of bacon, season, and gently fry. For something sweet and more exotic, and with a taste of Jamaica, you can't beat guavas and coconut cream, which Bond eats in Live and Let Die. For an extra-special Christmas treat, serve coconut sorbet, rather than cream.
Recipes for everything mentioned here (except the sprouts) can be found in my book, Licence to Cook. But whatever you eat this Christmas, have yourself a very Bondian Christmas.