Now it is December and it’s time to think about Christmas is it not?
Scores of food writers concentrate on Christmas food in December as do we but we also reflect on all those rich warming stews, hotpots, and casseroles, the advantage of stews is that they take a few run of the mill ingredients and as if by magic transform them into incredible heart warming dishes that are always more than welcoming on a cold winter’s day, plus they are so easy to prepare.
Try our recipes for Lancashire Hotpot, Slow Cooked Shoulder of Lamb, and Steak and Kidney Pie.
Like I said, it’s difficult not to talk about turkeys at this time of year and of course, there are some good free range turkeys in the shops around this time.
The conventional white turkey is ok and we often have it during the year starting from about Easter, but at Christmas time, we prefer the Bronze turkey because its meat has a darker colour with a much gamier flavour and our favourite store is selling a good size turkey at a very reasonable price our local butcher is still to find a supplier of Bronze turkeys .
Having said that though this year we are considering a free range goose again available from all good butchers and supermarkets.
We are still at the height of the game season so we might at sometime during the holidays have a brace of pheasant which is at its best in December, if they are quite large we pot roast them for the most succulence one of the best suppliers of pheasant are Gressingham and their birds are available from Tesco.
There are more than enough of vegetables to be had now to put together delicious, warming winter dishes, for a change from sprouts why not look for something more out of the ordinary, such as salsify or scorzonera (the Oyster Plant) these have a tough skin that require peeling before cooking in boiling water but after that, you can transform them into a gratin, with a silky-smooth texture and yummy, delicate taste. It’s an excellent time for leafy green vegetables and those earthy, tasty roots I think there is nothing sweeter than a nice tasty bowlful of beets and a plate of greens may not be the most exciting dish nevertheless with the addition of a little cream and bacon it is magically transformed into a magnificent side dish, the same goes for red cabbage braised in a red wine vinegar with red onions and juniper berries it will go so well with your Christmas goose.
We also like to serve creamed leeks as a mouth-watering addition to our roasts and grilled meat as well as fish particularly good with pollack.
All you have to do with them is to trim, slice, and rinse thoroughly under cold running water then put them in a saucepan with a knob of butter, cover with a lid, and cook them gently until tender. Now fork to a purée with a little more butter, cream, and a little freshly grated nutmeg.
And don’t forget the oysters and smoked salmon recently I have been having Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon and at two 100 gram packs for less than £10 you can’t go wrong, smoked wild salmon has such a superior texture and flavour. Along with caviar (a good substitute for caviar is Onuga or Avruga available at most good supermarkets) for those who can afford it, these are holiday classics and what makes them so perfect for entertaining is that they need nothing doing to them.
We also like to offer over the Christmas period a ham joint ideal for salads, sandwiches, and just a change from the turkey and I think my recipe for Mustard Baked Gammon Ham will please all your family and friends.
All that remains for me now is to wish everyone at and on MyDish a very Happy and Festive Christmas and a very Healthy and Wealthy New Year.
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