When preparing for the holidays next year, consider checking out Nigella Lawson's Nigella Christmas to help you out. This book is packed with everything one needs to entertain a crowd or feed your family. Chapters cover catering parties, hot and cold drinks, baking, brunches, and a step-by-step Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. If you're unfamiliar with Nigella's cooking style, she's a more adventurous Paula Deen without the stuffiness of Martha Stewart. Her food tastes great and the presentation looks refined, but she isn't afraid to admit she likes bacon wrapped sausages!
As for the recipes themselves, all are easy to follow, with minimal searching for specialty ingredients. Many have special notes about making them ahead, which can save you time just when we need it the most. (Who wouldn't want to make dessert several weeks ahead and pull it out of the freezer on Christmas Eve?) The pumpkin and goat cheese lasagna sounds intriguing, but I never found a pumpkin good for cooking. I did make both the Gleaming Maple Cheesecake and the Girdlebuster Pie, and I will make both of them again! My friends and I also enjoyed the side dishes Piselli Con Panna E Pancetta (Peas with Pancetta in Cream) and the distinctively different Turkey Pilaff with Pomegranate and Dill. There were so many recipes that I wanted to try that I will be experimenting with it until Valentine's Day.