In the days leading up to Christmas, Sherbhert will be posting a number of food and recipe pieces for festive food including Roast Goose and Gravy, Leek, Bacon and Sage Stuffing and Brussels Sprouts. In addition, there are already lots of recipes in Sherbhert’s “bank “and many of these can be tapped into for Christmas. Below are some suggestions of things you might like to make. But, committing to doing all the Christmas food is a huge task and, if you don’t actually love doing it with a capital L, then aim to eat out at least once if you can – “tiers permitting” pubs and restaurants need our help.
As ever, Sherbhert relies predominantly on locally sourced, seasonal, ethically produced food. For more details see December Food Update.
Recommended for any time over Christmas
Christmas Vodka – This seasonal drink is good either neat or with ice or with sparkling wine. It’s easy to make but you need to start it three days before you want to drink it. It is particularly good with mince pies or the rather easier option of Sherbhert’s Christmas Mincemeat Dessert Cake.
Easy Christmas Mincemeat Dessert Cake – A delicious sweet treat, easily made and, as mentioned above, it is very good with the Christmas Vodka.
Cheese Shortbreads – good to have with drinks and can be made well in advance and frozen.
Chocolate Biscuit Cake – an indulgent treat and easy to make. The cake will keep well for a week if well wrapped.
Crostini, croutons and baked sourdough crumbs – these are useful things to make in advance as they keep well in an airtight container or they can be frozen (they are quick to defrost). Use up any crusts to make breadcrumbs for stuffing.
Some Fish for Christmas Eve?
Hake or Halibut with potatoes, leeks and gremolata – if you are having potatoes on Christmas day, you might want to substitute the potatoes with 50g of pearl barley per person.
A Fish Pie – a good option if you want to make something in advance and freeze it ready for Christmas Eve.
Crab with Linguine – simple ingredients and quick and easy to prepare. Use finely chopped brown onions in place of spring onions and, since fresh peas are not available at this time of year, frozen ones are fine.
Cockles or Clams with Linguine – a bit more work involved with the preparation of the cockles or clams but an otherwise simple and delicious meal for a Christmas Eve treat.
Mussels, simply steamed with garlic and parsley – delicious and easy to prepare in this way, the mussels make their own sauce naturally. Have some good bread and good butter too.
For Christmas Day
Whatever you decide to cook for this special meal, it is recommended that you read the recipes through well in advance so that you can make a detailed shopping list and a time plan.
Want to make the whole lot, well almost the whole lot, in advance?
The stew can be prepared a day or two in advance – let it get completely cold before storing it, covered, in the fridge. The Roast Root Vegetables can be prepared the day before too (up to the stage of preheating the oven) – cover them “oven ready” in their tray overnight and keep them in a cool place.
On Christmas day, roast the vegetables in a preheated oven as in the recipe (about 50 minutes). Start reheating the stew about 45 minutes before you want to eat: set the casserole (without the lid) on the hob over medium heat and bring the whole lot to the boil; reduce the heat to very low, cover with the lid and let it simmer very gently for 40 minutes or so. Prepare and cook the cabbage and that’s it!
Want to go for slow roast safety?
Make the Baked Sourdough Crumbs well in advance of Christmas day and store them as described in the recipe. Make the Spiced Apple Sauce in advance too. Start the Roast Root Vegetables on Christmas Eve (up to the stage of preheating the oven) – cover them “oven ready” in their tray overnight and keep them in a cool place.
On Christmas day, follow the recipe for the Slow Roast Norfolk Pork Belly using the slowest cooking method but, if you don’t have a double oven, you will need to follow the less slow method at 180c so that you can do the Roast Root Vegetables at 180c too.
Want a more traditional feast?
This one is not for the feint-hearted and assumes that more than one oven is available– a goose is a big bird and needs a lot of oven room – there is also the necessary and hazardous business of dealing with a large quantity of hot fat!
The giblet stock, stuffing, apple sauce and vegetables can all be prepared, at least in part, in advance, which is recommended.
First Courses and puddings?
If you want a first course, simple dressed crab with lemon is a nice option – most good fishmongers will do this for you. But, honestly, easy nibbles and drinks can be lovely too and so much better in many ways.
As for the pudding, a traditional pudding and brandy butter is lovely (no Sherbhert recipe yet– maybe next year?) but if you want to minimise the preparation go for a Christmas Mincemeat Dessert Cake (made in advance) or, why not buy in some fabulous ice cream or something else special, chocolatey perhaps?
For Boxing Day or 27th December when most food shops will still be closed.
Rib-eye Steaks with dressed green leaves – you could substitute the steaks for bacon pieces, fried until crisp if you like – these works well with the salad and are cheaper than the steaks.
Polenta with mushrooms – have this with the beef (or bacon) salad or on its own with dressed leaves.
Alternatively, make one or two of the salads below to have with some smoked or cured meats or fish:
More than 700 cheeses are produced in Britain and so many are outstanding. Here is a list of those already mentioned in these pages and it is likely some more will be added in the coming weeks.
Baron Bigod – raw cow’s milk
Wigmore– raw ewe’s milk
Golden Cenarth – pasteurised cow’s milk
Blue, Pasteurised Cow’s Milk Cheese
Hard Cow’s Milk Cheese
Lincolnshire Poacher – unpasteurised cow’s milk
Old Winchester – pasteurised cow’s milk
Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese
Ragstone – unpasteurised goat’s milk
Ailsa Craig – pasteurised goat’s milk
And to have with Cheese:
Oatcakes – these are delicious, easy to make and can be made in advance and frozen – they defrost very quickly too.
Spiced Pear Chutney – another easy recipe and very good with cheese as well as spicy curries as a substitute for mango chutney.
Nuts – consider some UK grown walnuts, chestnuts or cobnuts and don’t forget the nutcrackers. See also walnuts