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Hubstars' Christmas Lunch

Postgraduate Hubstars Student Life

Merry Christmas from everyone at Northumbria University, especially the Postgraduate Digital Content Creators team! We teamed up to bring you our ideal Christmas Lunch and hope you enjoy reading it (and making it!)

Starter with Sarah:

Salmon -in -pageGravlax salmon - inspired by Nordic curing using local produce

In our house we always have salmon as a starter - this year I will be trying this again. Went down a storm last time!


  • 1 heaped tablespoon dark soft brown sugar/Northumbrian Smokehouse oak smoked sugar for smoky undertones
  • 25ml vodka
  • Sea salt
  • Zest ½ an orange
  • 2 lemons
  • A bunch of fresh dill (if available)
  • 2 x 150 g salmon fillets, pinboned, skin on - can be purchased from local fishmongers at the Grainger Market
  • 4 tablespoons soured cream
  • 1½ teaspoons jarred grated horseradish
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 250g sliced beetroot
  • Balsamic vinegar

To serve:

  • 1 loaf of rye bread 


Place the sugar, vodka, 3 heaped tablespoons of salt, orange zest and the zest from 1 lemon into a bowl. Pick dill leaves and place in a bowl of cold water in the fridge, then finely chop the stalks and stir into the first mixture. Add salmon fillets into the bowl, turning them over in the marinade until well coated, then cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 5 hours (or overnight).

Meanwhile, make the horseradish sauce. Add the soured cream, grated horseradish and the juice from ½ a lemon to a small bowl. Mix well, season with a pinch of salt and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, then place in the fridge until needed.

Add the beetroot (including the juices) to a bowl with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Season well with salt, then mash with a fork to a rough paste. Have a taste and add a splash more vinegar if you think it needs it, then set aside until needed.

After 5 hours or more, remove the salmon from the bowl, wipe off and discard any excess salt. Drain and finely chop the reserved dill leaves and rub all over the salmon.

To serve, remove the cling film and peel away the salmon skin, then transfer to a board and finely slice. Snip over the cress, then serve alongside the horseradish sauce, balsamic beets, rye bread and lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Side Dish with Joe:

Sprouts -in -pageBrussels Sprouts with a Twist

The notion that Brussels sprouts are underrated is, quite simply, old news. To me, the good old sprout represents everything miraculously ordinary about Christmas. They’re the book your Grandma gave you on ’50 ways to kill a slug’ (just me?)… Simply put, their value lies neither in their beauty nor expense, but in the fact that they sum up good old Christmas spirit in a nutshell.

As a family, we’ve been playing around with recipes for sprouts for a few years now, and think we’ve found our favourite. Here it is you lucky devils:


  • 2 onions
  • 7 sprigs of fresh sage
  • 350 grams pancetta (rind removed, cut into 1 cm cubes)
  • Olive oil
  • 200 g ‘vac-packed’ chestnuts, roasted and peeled (shelled weight)
  • 1 kg Brussels sprouts
  • 2 large knobs of unsalted butter


Peel and chop the onions, then pick and finely chop the sage.

Put a large pan on a high heat. Place the diced pancetta in the pan with a drizzle of olive oil and turn the heat down to medium. Once lightly golden, crumble in the chestnuts.

When the chestnuts and pancetta start to turn deep golden, add the onions and sage and turn the heat right down. Let everything cook slowly for half an hour or so while you have a glass of red and prep the Brussels sprouts.

Use a small paring knife to trim off the base of the sprouts, and peel back any tatty outer leaves. Leave smaller Brussels whole and halve the larger ones through the core so they hold together.

Once that’s done, put the Brussels in a large pan on full whack and click on a full kettle. Put a good teaspoon or 2 of sea salt in with the Brussels to season the water – the pan should be nudging up to hot; as soon as you’re at full whack, carefully pour in the boiling water.

Boil for about 5 minutes, till just tender but still holding their texture. Taste to check; they should be slightly undercooked. Drain, and then throw them in with the chestnut mix. Use spoons to scrape the sticky bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the butter, and then adjust the seasoning.

Serve these right away, or store somewhere cool. Reheat in the same pan and serve once piping hot. Happy days!

Dessert with Sarah:

Brownies -in -pageFestive brownies

What's better than chocolate at Christmas? Serve these brownies with your favourite ice cream.


  • 200g dark chocolate (the darker cocoa content, the better), broken into chunks
  • 100g milk chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 250g pack salted butter
  • 400g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 140g plain flour
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs (optional - if you want more crunch/a darker chocolate flavour - I used Northumbrian Smokehouse's whisky oak smoked nibs)
  • 100g cranberries (festive part - if you don't like cranberries, use raspberries!)


Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a 20 x 30cm baking tray tin with baking parchment. Put the chocolate, butter and sugar in a pan and gently melt, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.

Stir the eggs, one by one, into the melted chocolate mixture. Sieve over the flour and cocoa, and stir in. Add in the cacao nibs. Stir in half the cranberries, scrape into the tray, and then scatter over the remaining cranberries. Bake on the middle shelf for 30 mins or, if you prefer a firmer texture, for 5 mins more. Cool before slicing into squares. 

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Dessert with Anne:

 Vanillekipfel Annerassbach In PageVanillekipfel

Ready for a German Christmas treat? Try my Grandma's recipe and make some delicious traditional biscuits! 


  • 500g flour
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 350g butter
  • 180g sugar
  • little bit of baking powder
  • vanilla sugar
  • icing sugar


Knead all the ingredients (besides icing sugar and vanilla sugar) into a dough.

Put the dough into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Form rolls from the dough with the diameter of 4cm.

Cut the rolls into 1-2cm slices.

Form each slice into the shape of a half moon with thinner ends.

Preheat the oven to 180C and bake the biscuits for 10 minutes until they are slightly golden.

Mix some vanilla and icing sugar. Toll the still hot biscuits carefully in this mixture until they are covered with a thin layer.

 Dessert with Victoria:

Biscuit 1-in -pageHomemade Gingerbread


  • 350g Plain Flour
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 2tsp Ground ginger
  • 1tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp Ground nutmeg
  • 125g Butter
  • 175g Light soft brown sugar
  • 1 Free-range egg
  • 4tbsp Golden syrup


Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg and pour into the bowl. Add the butter and blend until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the bowl and stir together until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in Clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for 15minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the shapes you have chosen and place on the baking tray, making sure you leave a gap in between them.

Bake for 12-15minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 mintues and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Bonus video! Watch Victoria make her gingerbread and chocolate chip malted cookies!

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