A Foodie Shares His Christmas Plans
A Foodie Shares His Christmas Plans

A Foodie Shares His Christmas Plans


With Christmas less than a week away, we asked Mob’s Lucas Oakeley about his festive plans. Here, he talks family traditions, go-to recipes and favourite wines…


This year I’ll be spending Christmas in Cyprus with my family. It’s where my folks live now so my brother and I visit them there over the break. It’s not particularly hot in Cyprus around December, but it’s a hell of a lot warmer than the UK. One of my favourite traditions is listening to Stevie Nicks’s version of ‘Silent Night’. My old man is obsessed with her and it’s the one song that never fails to make me feel all warm and Christmassy. 

We like to dress down, so I don’t worry too much about my outfit. I’ve never really got the whole ‘let’s dress up’ thing when you’re basically going to spend the entire day eating, drinking and being merry. It’s best to do that with elasticated trousers and clothing you feel comfortable in. I’m a sucker for a fleece, though, so you’ll probably find me decked out in my favourite beige Patagonia number.

Christmas morning starts with smoked salmon, eggs and buck’s fizz. Plus, I like to eat whatever chocolate’s kicking about, of course. For the main meal, Dad is still in charge of the bird, but I’ve managed to take control over the potatoes in recent years. Seeing as everyone loves a roast spud, it’s a pretty important job. I tend to keep things classic with hot vegetable oil, flaky salt, and a few sprigs of rosemary. No need to reinvent the wheel. 

I love a pub so always make sure to get in at least one solid meal before I leave the country. The Camberwell Arms is a beautiful spot.

We drink a lot of Cypriot wine on the day. A big, bold red is usually on the cards and I’ve been turned onto Vasilikon Winery’s ‘Methy’ by Dad. Vasilikon is in the nearby city of Paphos that produces some decent bottles using both traditional and non-traditional grapes. Methy is made from cabernet sauvignon grapes, and has a lovely deep red colour and red fruit taste that works well with a decadent Christmas dinner.

I also like to make Nigella’s Coca-Cola ham on the big day which means plenty of leftovers. Because of that, we tend to push the boat out with the dishes we cook post-Christmas during that weird liminal time before New Year. I’m talking turkey and ham risotto, turkey curry, and bubble and squeak. Everything gets thrown into loaded sandwiches with dipping gravy on the side. Boxing Day is all about nursing a hangover and watching Love Actually

A Christmas Day walk is another non-negotiable. My folks don’t live far from the Troodos Mountains so we tend to fit in at least one big walk either near the sea or near the mountains. There’s something so special about going into nature and having time where you can forget the internet even exists. 

We can’t make it to the pub in Cyprus, but there are plenty of tavernas. These are small restaurants which don’t really have menus. Instead, they bring out a boatload of food throughout the meal, so we usually go to one of them at least once when I’m in town.


That said, I love a pub so always make sure to get in at least one solid meal before I leave the country. The Camberwell Arms is a beautiful spot. It has a great atmosphere and great food. I’m a sucker for the scotch bonnet pork fat on toast, which is always on the menu, but if they’ve ever got a pie on, I always order that. Hearty beef and ale pie with a pint of Guinness. Can’t beat it.

My favourite festive cocktail is a bloody mary. Not hugely festive, but it’s got ‘Mary’ in the name, so I think that counts. Put the following ingredients into a big pitcher: tomato juice, V8 vegetable juice, vodka, horseradish sauce, wholegrain mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, fresh basil, salt, two limes and a handful of celery hearts. Cover and chill the jug for at least half an hour before serving in a lime and salt-rimmed glass.

My family is big on boardgames and we play Wealth Of Nations every year. It’s an old-school game from the 70s where you have to go around the world and buy various raw materials (coffee, oil, aluminium, tungsten, raw wool automobile construction, etc) from different countries. They don’t make it anymore. Probably because of the fact you can go and rob the USSR of all its natural resources. It’s fun, as long as you ignore the strong colonial undertones, and always results in some serious arguments.

I'm hoping to find a couple of books under the Christmas tree. I recently finished reading Michael Magee’s Close To Home and Louise Kennedy’s Trespasses – both extremely good Irish debut novels that I can’t recommend highly enough. I’ve heard good things about Bellies by Nicola Dinan so can’t wait to start that over the holidays, and have been dying to read Honey From a Weed by Patience Gray for years so I’m seriously hoping someone out there has heeded my call and got me a copy.


Mac and cheese is a dish I associate with this time of year. Anything that’s warm and coated in a blanket of cheese, really. The bigger, the better as well – saving some for leftovers and reheating a big slab of it for lunch the next day is the move.

My favourite Christmas film is probably Elf. I remember watching it when it came out at the cinema. My brother and I got so obsessed with it that we made my parents buy a dodgy fake DVD so we could watch it all the time. Still holds up. 

2023 has been a great year for TV. Recently I’ve been railing through Smothered on NOW which is a new romantic comedy series from Monica Heisey. It’s funny, sweet, and there's a Christmas episode to make you feel extra festive. I also binged Succession like everyone else. Alexander Skarsgård wore a really nice Fjällräven anorak in an episode and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. 

I’m not a huge fan of NYE. I don’t have any concrete plans, but I think it’ll probably involve having too much to drink and staying up too late. I’ve got a bottle of 2015 Hospices de Beaune that’s been resting on my shelf for a couple of years now, so I might finally crack that open. Because, why not?

I recently finished reading Michael Magee’s Close To Home and Louise Kennedy’s Trespasses – both extremely good Irish debut novels that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Pizza is a sure-fire way to kickstart a new year on the right foot. It doesn’t matter whether you’re eating it at home in your trackies or at an ostentatious party in a tux, it always goes down a storm. I’m not massive on champagne and can only drink a glass or two before it gets a bit much, but I had a really sharp bottle of Billecart-Salmon earlier in the year. It’s a fairly large champagne house but the stuff they produce is slightly more off the beaten track than your standard Bollinger. I’m thinking I’ll grab a bottle of that to share with whoever I’m with. 

I always set a few internal new year’s resolutions that I don’t tell anyone about. I’m a very superstitious person and I genuinely believe that if I tell anyone about my resolutions, I’ll instantly jinx them and they won’t come true. So, I’m afraid I’ll be keeping them to myself.

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