Clevedon chef shares desserts and top tips for Christmas dinner

Bûche de Noël made by Mike's Patisserie

Bûche de Noël designed and made by Mike Cook of Mike's Patisserie - Credit: Mike Cook

A Clevedon chef who started his own patisserie business while furloughed during lockdown is continuing to expand his business repertoire – with Christmas on the menu. 

The savoury chef has also offered to share his top tips to prepare for a smooth-running Christmas dinner. 

Mike Cook, aged 28, who has been furloughed since March, has been busy designing and creating extra luxury desserts, due to a high demand for additional treats for the festive season. 

Mike Cook of Mike's Patisserie

Mike Cook of Mike's Patisserie - Credit: Mike Cook

Mike said: “I’ve had a lot of people contacted me asking for more bespoke cakes and chocolates. 

"I came across an idea of a boxed selection of different coloured chocolates, and I gave it a try. I taught myself and now make boxes of 12 chocolates, which make great gifts.” 

Mike's Patisserie handmade chocolates

Mike's Patisserie handmade chocolates - Credit: Mike Cook

Also new on the Christmas list are yule logs, canelés and profiteroles with Irish cream. 

The yule log is decorated with a layer of crunchy chocolate, and the canelés have a hint of rum, with a soft sponge middle and a crunchy caramelised coating. 

 Canelés by Mike's Patisserie

Canelés made by Mike's Patisserie - Credit: Mike Cook

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He added: “Every time I make canelés, I make one for me; it's one of my favourites at the moment.

"Cannolis are still proving to be very popular."

A bonus for Mike is receiving texts and messages of thanks from his satisfied customers, after he has dropped off their orders. 

Mike said: “I love getting text and messages from customers after I drop their orders to their homes, it makes all the hard work worthwhile.” 

Carrot cake by Mike's Patisserie

Carrot cake made and designed by Mike Cook - Credit: Mike Cook

With some perhaps cooking Christmas dinner for the first time, or for the first time in a few years, due to the current restrictions in the numbers of people able to gather indoors; Mike has shared a few tips for getting the food on the table and avoid unwanted stress. 

He said: “If you have a small oven like I do, then you may find it difficult to have everything cooked and hot at the same time.

"But worry not, if you have the duty of cooking the Christmas dinner for everybody, then this guide should help you enjoy a smooth and stress-free day. 

“Christmas Eve, peel and chop your potatoes, parsnips and carrots. Make sure to keep them submerged in water to prevent them from turning brown. 

“Christmas Day, cook everything before the turkey and leave it to one side. Most turkey take about three to four hours to cook, so make sure you plan ahead and start everything else at a good time in the morning.  

“Boil the vegetables until they are just done - some give when you prick with a knife - then plunge them into a big bowl with ice.

"This shocks the vegetables and gives them a vibrant colour, and a nice crisp texture. This also stops them becoming overcooked and mushy with steam when left out. 

“Keep a large pot of water on a gentle simmer with the lid on, once you have added a small amount of salt and a good knob of butter.  

“Put the turkey into the oven. Most recipes advise resting the turkey for 30 minutes after cooking; this is a perfect time to put everything you cooked earlier, back into the oven and reheat. 

"Bring the water that has been simmering in the pot back up to a boil, and plunge the vegetables in. They will only need about three minutes to reheat.  

“Clean as you go, wipe the sides down and stay on top of the washing up – less mess is stress. 

“To help keep the day running smoothly have some cold nibbles out and ready for anyone might be a bit peckish.” 

"And finally, after any meal we might feel like having something sweet to balance our palate; and a Christmas pudding can be too heavy, especially after a giant Christmas dinner.

"A light chocolate mousse can be made up to two days in advance, and will round off the end of the meal, without leaving everyone feeling bloated.” 

 Selection of handmade chocolates by Mike's Patisserie

Selection of handmade chocolates by Mike's Patisserie - Credit: Mike Cook