Life & Style

Jasmine Hemsley

Chef, author, broadcaster and well-being expert… the multi-hyphenate mother-to-be shares the festive delights at the heart of a Hemsley Xmas.

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Christmas Cooking...

My partner Nick takes on most of the responsibility for cooking Christmas dinner because he loves doing a roast (and he’s the best). Usually we celebrate with a mish-mash of family and friends so we have an organic turkey from Coombes Farm with lots of veg, as well as my caramelised beetroot, red onion and pecan tart (now a Christmas signature) which has a crust made from quinoa and almonds. I also do the sweets and baking – there are gluten-free cookies galore on my website! My absolute favourite meal during the holiday season is Nick’s mum’s Boxing Day soup — it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

Decorating the table...

Always rosemary sprigs... I love them. I collect little vases which look lovely dotted around the table with fresh rosemary sprigs and maybe a few clippings from the garden – nothing with red berries though because of my three dogs! My table seats six but there’s sometimes up to 10 crammed around at Christmas so I don’t go overboard on a centrepiece as there are usually so many dishes going on. This year, since it could be a very small affair, I might use some of the lower branches of a real Christmas tree to make a bigger display, and decorate it with dried orange slices and hand-painted baubles — very Arts and Crafts, and a reminder of the time I spent living in Germany when I was younger.

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Image: Jasmine's caramelised beetroot, red onion and pecan tart

I'll be listening to...

Dolly Parton's new Christmas album!

I'll be watching...

Mandalorian season two (I can’t wait!).

I'll be wearing...

I’m expecting a baby in the New Year and still can’t quite get my head around dressing my ever-growing bump, but I do have my eye on a rental dress from HURR — a vintage turtleneck dress in stretchy Lurex, which should be as comfy as PJs while looking the Christmas business. If we’re really dressing up, I’ll try to squeeze into something from my eco collection in collaboration with Needle & Thread, which launched earlier this year. The rest of Christmas will probably be spent in loungewear from Riley Studio, Colorful Standard and Jumper 1234.

My favourite festive tradition...

At the beginning of December, we go to my best friend’s Christmas-tree farm, Magic of Foresters in Bromley, to say hello to Santa, drink mulled wine and pick an organic Christmas tree. We bundle up in lots of layers so we can hang out in the fresh air, whatever the weather, and get into the festive spirit.

My Christmas Treat...

Chocolate-covered orange peel — I either make it or I buy it from Artisan du Chocolat then re-use the pretty tins as orchid pots for gifts.

My Christmas smells like...

Baldwins Christmas Essential Oil Blend — a mix of cinnamon, clove, orange, nutmeg and pine. I used to live opposite G. Baldwin & Co, a treasure trove for natural remedies which has been around since 1844. Every Christmas I use the oil in my diffuser to fill the house with a festive scent. Also, for me it’s all about the smell of really old tinsel (strange but true). I have a strand from my mum’s house that’s over 35 years old and brings back all the Christmas feels!

How I give back...

Every year, Nick and I donate to the Salvation Army for Christmas lunches for those in need. I also give to Sponsor A Sister programme created by Women For Women International. This incredible organisation works to empower women living in conflict-affected countries. When you “sponsor a sister”, you or your giftee is matched with a woman who is then enrolled in Women For Women International’s year-long programme, where she will be educated in four key areas: her health, her rights, her business skills and building a support network. You’ll also be able to communicate directly with your “sister” via letters, photos and Christmas cards, so you can hear more about the programme and what life is like in her local community.