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Christmas food

With the absence of our social lives last year due to the pandemic, this Christmas is the time to bring your friends and family together to enjoy a good old fashioned get together! Celebrate Christmas this year with a little extra sparkle with these ideas shared from the expert team at Dobbie’s Garden Centres

Virgin bramble rosemary spritz 

Sweet blackberries, tangy orange zest and woody rosemary mingle together to create a thoroughly refreshing and unforgettably delicious drink. 

Makes 6
Prep 15 mins, plus cooling
Cook 15 mins

300g fresh (or frozen) blackberries, about 100-150g extra to serve
60g runny honey
1 medium orange, pared zest and ½ (half) juice
6 small rosemary sprigs, plus extra to serve
about 1.5 litre soda water, to serve


  1. Put the blackberries, honey, orange zest and juice, Rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan set over a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and then bubble for 10-15 minutes, stirring and crushing lightly every now and then, until the blackberries have broken completely. Press firmly through a fine sieve into a bowl, scraping the underside to get as much juice as possible (Discard the pulp and aromatics). Transfer to a jug and let cool (chill up to 2 days ahead).
  2. To serve, divide the blackberry syrup between glasses (about 2-3 tbsp in each). Fill with ice, top up with soda and stir. Slice remaining orange into half-moons and add to each glass alongside a rosemary sprig and a few fresh blackberries, if liked.

Mushroom cheese puff pie wreath 

The ultimate, indulgent sharing snack, with deliciously rich pastry and gorgeously gooey cheese, making it a firm Christmas party favourite for all the family. 

Serves 4-6
Prep 45 mins, plus cooling and chilling
Cook 1 hour 20 mins

50g unsalted butter
500g chestnut or button mushrooms, wiped clean and cut into 2.5cm chunks
2 medium red onions
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp English mustard
330ml bottle golden ale or larger
1 tsp honey
4 fresh (8 dried) Bay leaves
small bunch Thyme sprigs (about 12)
50g crème fraiche
75g soft-rind cheese (camembert or brie), cut into 1.5cm chunks
500g block puff pastry
1 egg, beaten


  1. Heat the butter in a large wide frying pan set over a high heat. Add the mushrooms and onions, season and cook stirring often until all moisture has evaporated and they have started frying to a rich brown colour (about 8-10 minutes). Crush over the vegetable stock cube and sprinkle in the flour, stirring and cooking out for a few minutes. Stir in the mustard, honey, and beer, scraping the base of the pan, before bringing it back to a simmer. Tie the Bay leaves and Thyme together with kitchen string and add alongside enough water to barely cover, if needed. Simmer briskly for about 20-25 minutes, until you have a thick saucy stew. Stir through the crème fraiche, season, and let cool completely (chill for at least 30 minutes; can be made 3 days ahead).
  2. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a sheet about 0.5cm thick. Using a large dinner plate or bowl (about 27cm) as a guide, cut out a larger circle and then use a 9cm cutter to cut out another circle from the centre to create a ring. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray and chill. Layer up the excess pastry and re-roll as before, cutting out another ring, chilling alongside the other. Roll the remaining scraps again and cut out Christmassy shapes (a tree, stars, holly etc), if liked.
    Use the second pastry ring as your base, brush the surface with beaten egg. Place the cooled mushroom filling around the ring leaving a 1-2cm border on each side. Top with the cubes of cheese and drape over the other pastry ring. Carefully stretch the pastry over, pressing around the inner and outer edges with floured fingers or the prongs of a fork, until well-sealed. Score the pastry with a criss-cross pattern, using the back of a small paring knife and brush all over with egg wash. 
  3. Add the Christmas decorations, if using, and brush these with egg as well. Chill for at least 20 minutes

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