Christmas Food Q&A: Sam Mattocks – Milk

Milk co-owner and chef Mattocks spruiks the humble cauliflower and shares her Christmas food secrets

Christmas Food Q&A: Sam Mattocks – Milk

I'm planning a Christmas meal and want to offer a couple of unusual twists. What would you suggest?

I always make a side dish of French beans with orange zest, toasted hazelnuts and nut oil. This is great because you can prepare it in advance and serve at room temperature. If I am serving roasted root vegetables I like to glaze them with raspberry vinegar. It just gives them a little extra zing and makes the flavours stand out.

It's Boxing Day and I've got half a turkey uneaten. Any recommendations for some legendary leftovers?

I always make risotto with leftover chicken or turkey. I would make mine with roasted squash, sage and leftover toasted chestnuts.

Which dishes on your Christmas/December menu do you most like cooking?

We always have a hearty and healthy vegetarian dish on our menu during the winter months. This year we are planning to have a black dhal with sweet potatoes and coconut chutney – a really soothing and nutritious dish to rival the December excesses.

What do you reckon is the most undervalued ingredient in the seasonal/Christmas repertoire?

I feel like cauliflower needs some good PR. A soup we often have on the menu at Milk is roasted cauliflower with turmeric and almonds, it’s so delicious and has a great silky texture. Cauliflower is great in salads too. It’s a very versatile vegetable, incredibly good for you and cheap.

I fancy giving food items for presents at Christmas. Any suggestions?

We have lots of family who live in Kentucky so always seem to have an excess of Bourbon in our house. This year I plan to make smoked caramel apple Bourbon liqueur by infusing the bourbon with homemade caramel, lapsang souchong tea and apples from the apple tree in our garden.

Which new kitchen gadget would you most like to find in your stocking? And which food item?

I have always wanted a le Creuset French press coffee maker and some freshly roasted coffee beans to go with it would be nice.

Milk at Collective

City Observatory & City Dome, 38 Calton Hill, Edinburgh, EH7 5AA

Outdoor café at the Collective Gallery, on the top of Calton Hill, serving a small but choice selection of soup, sandwiches and cakes.


232 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8EA

More than just your average cafe – Milk has inventive choices for breakfast, lunch and a sweet treat.


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