Christmas is here and everyone is running around shopping like headless chickens to get their presents ready for the big day and I am actually petrified, not because of the crowds or even the fact that my credit card is on the brink of its limit, but because my Mum is due to have an operation on 23rd December and I have been given the task of cooking this years’ Christmas dinner.

Now as you all can tell from my size I love to eat and while many feel that I must be having my own cook, cleaner and maid, you will be surprised to know that I organise my food myself. Anyhow, Christmas is a big deal in the Asghar house because it is the one day of the year we are all off and my Mum places a mobile phone ban on my Dad and myself so we cannot even check our social networks etc. unless it’s a life and death matter.

Today I was joined by celebrity chef Cyrus Todiwala on ZEE Companion. He is the chef proprietor of Café Spice Namasté and a celebrity television chef. He trained at the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces chain in India, and rose to become executive chef for eleven restaurants within those hotels. He was awarded an MBE in 2000, and an OBE in 2009. He has been awarded an honorary doctorate and been made an honorary professor. In 2012, he cooked for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations

As someone who has never made Christmas I was curious to know what is the “secret” of making the perfect roast this Christmas?

Cyrus said that it was all about checking the temperature and suggested that each of us invested in a good thermometer to keep to ensure that we don’t get sick during the festive period. He also said that for those desis who like a curry over Christmas, you could enjoy a turkey curry with lots of fresh vegetables thrown in for colour, which would satisfy those who wanted a turkey and those who wanted a curry instead. Often the case in my house as my dad gets very bored of the whole roast within a day!

As someone who does not particularly like her veggies, I wanted to know how we could glamourize our vegetables? He said that to add a desi touch we could add a personalised “desi tarka” to our vegetables to make it more appetising.

For the vegetarians Cyrus spoke about his famous Pumpkin curry, which looked like Butter Chicken to me, but was a great alternative for non- meat eaters who wanted to try something new and festive. Cyrus spoke about the importance of storing food to avoid food poisoning. As Asians we love rice and he said we have the tendency to box up rice and stuff it into the fridge, however, he warned that we MUST let it cool down first otherwise bacteria will grow quickly and cause a lot of health issues, and no one wants to be ill during their time off.

Cyrus was also kind enough to give some great recipes for Mocktails that were easy enough to whip up when guests come round unexpectedly. He said it was all about trial and error so try what you like and invest in some good syrups that will make your mocktail, a drink to remember.