Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Food for Christmas

I love Christmas dinner.  I don't get tired of it.  I love turkey.  I love roast potatoes.  Most of all I love the extras: really good stuffing, pigs in blankets, red cabbage, roast parsnips, bread sauce and gravy.  I don't feel like experimenting with goose or rib of beef, much though I love both.  I don't want to do unusual things with salmon and prawns.  I am a traditionalist.  For Christmas, only a turkey dinner will do.

This year our turkey will come from friends who somehow find the time and energy to run their family, a business and a part time teaching career while keeping sheep and hens, sometimes pigs and, in the months coming up to Christmas, turkeys.  This is about as local as you can get without raising your own.  The turkeys will have scratched and strutted in their little orchard about a mile and half away.  They are fed organically, mature slowly, and will eventually be slaughtered locally too.

The potatoes are our own home grown ones.  I'd like to be able to tell you that the parsnips will be ours too but that would be a lie.  Parsnips stubbornly refused to germinate for us this year so they and the brussel sprouts (notice they are not in the litany of things I love!) will come from our local shop.  The sausagemeat and the bacon are from the local butcher.  Apples and onions in the stuffing are home grown and the bread in the bread sauce is home made.

I hope that the people sitting round the table - our children and their partners and our small grandchildren, gathered from Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire and Manchester - will have travelled further than any of the food in their dinner.  Ah I had forgotten the dried fruit in the Christmas pudding!  The puddings were made in my kitchen on Stir Up Sunday in November but the raisins and currants have come from much further than Wales as have the nutmeg and spices.  That's OK though.  Spices from the East.  That's an honourable tradition!

What will be on your plates on Christmas Day?

28 comments:

  1. You have more sway than Delia Smith's Christmas Cookery Book for me here! How grounding and truly marvellous it is to know the food you are eating are local and home grown produce. You are making me feel nostalgic, pleased as punch to be (half) British and ever so slightly envious I will not be sitting around what must surely be your LONG table this Yuletide as your foreign contingent!

    Savour every mouthful!

    Happy tidings to you.

    Stephanie

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  2. All sounds very wonderful, and slightly knackering!

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  3. Stephanie - we have room at the long table if you don't mind squeezing up a bit!
    EPM - it's not really knackering. It's just a roast dinner and there are extra hands.

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  4. EPM - at least that is what I keep telling myself!

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  5. Sounds like the dinner we will be having Christmas Day, and then for good measure I get to cook it all over again on Boxing Day, except in my MIL kitchen in Langton Matravers instead! I might be a bit tired of it by then! I make the spiced red cabbage and cranberry/port sauce a few days ahead, it always tastes better for a bit of stewing in the fridge. Bon appetit!

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  6. It sounds as if you're going to have a wonderful dinner on Christmas day- I bet that turkey is going to be amazing!
    Thanks for sharing on the Making Winter blog hop.

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  7. That sounds very good. I'm sure that Christmas dinner will be delightfull. I love turkey also for those kinds of celebrations better than any kind of meat. And it makes you sleepy too. There's nothing quite like it.

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  8. I'm in complete agreement! I'm always amazed when I hear people state 'I'm tired of turkey dinner - we're doing stuffed pork loin this year'....I LOVE turkey dinner and all the trimmings. I want stuffing made from my mother's recipe, fluffy mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and home made cranberry sauce....mince pie, Christmas pudding with rum sauce.....I can't mess with a winning combination.

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  9. Making Christmas dinner is one of the best Making Winter things you can do! I've not even decided yet what to have....(but now I think it might be turkey).

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  10. Sounds wonderful - just like Christmas was back home. Ours will be glazed ham though and, most likely, cooked a few days before to save lighting the oven on Christmas Day.

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  11. Right! I'm coming. Sounds gorgeous. But I am coming round to the view that one year I might scrap the traditional dinner thingy altogether and go for a day of tapas treats, which might have little turkey bits and little pudding bits thrown in. You see the problem is that you start with champagne at 11 and a few nibbles (usually the wrong sort of nibbles because they have come out of stockings) and because of this the turkey or rib or goose or whatever is always late into the oven and therefore late out of the oven by which time there has been more drinking and more eating of this and that so by the time the starter arrives everyone is full and the turkey sits there in all its goldenness and succulence, glaring at the would-be feasters and they sit glaring back and the poor pudding comes out and cools and cools and finally gets put in the fridge which is full now of turkey anyway. So my idea would be to dribble food all day: never too much, or too little, in tiny bite size portions, that you could eat without ever feeling full. But I doubt very much whether the family would agree.

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  12. My mouth is watering from your delicious description! I think it will be turkey for us, as well... only everything will be store-bought, as we are suburban Long Island dwellers. 8-)

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  13. Zoe - I think even for a Christmas dinner lover like me cooking two in a row might be a bit much! I love cold turkey though and you will have loads of that!
    Thrifty Household - If it is true that you can taste a better life in your meat, it should be fabulous!

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  14. Nora - oh yes, forgotten about how it makes you sleepy! It's something to do with a chemical isn't it? Another great thing about it!
    Pondside - Absolutely about the pudding too and the mince pies! Can't do without the sweet stuff.

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  15. yes , christmas lunch can't be any different ... ever !! and part of the essential routine at our house is that it's very late , present opening and admiring having taken ages ....
    christmas eve has to be artichokes and spare ribs with garlic bread , though . nothing else will be countenanced by anyone , for some reason .
    merry christmas !

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  16. It sounds as though your Christmas dinner will be virtuous as well as delicious - in the food miles department anyway. It must feel so great to know that a good proportion of what's on your plate you grew yourselves or bought from just down the road.

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  17. Iam with you, I like traditional fare, nothing fancy and haute cuisine please, if it takes me more than three steps to prepare, or looks like modern sculpture it's not for me.
    This year we are going to spend Yuletide with my mother, after a long snowy roadtrip.Along with us will be the pudding I made on Stir Up Sunday, the frozen goose, a box of Christmas crackers,presents and a noble pine tree strapped to the roof of our truck. Since we had turkey at Thanskgiving, I prefer an apple an onion stuffed goose for Christmas dinner.Served along side are roast potatoes, roast veggies(sprouts and parsnips included) and some sort of greens. Oh and good ale...
    Wassail to you and may your Christmas and Yuletide be wonderful, and your turkey as yummy as I know it will be...

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  18. Freda - I agree, it is a form of making winter! just another sort of craft maybe!
    Susan Heather - find it difficult to imagine the oven not going on for Christmas Day. That is the difference between North and South.
    Fennie - now I do understand the lure of tapas style things as I love tapas and the whole idea of little plates of flavour but I don't think there is anyway we are moving away from the large Christmas dinner!

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  19. On my first Christmas in France, I was faced with oysters, smoked salmon on blinis and beef so rare it could have walked to the table itself. Since then I have learned to go with the flow, and while sometimes the Christmas meal is something I'd rather not repeat much of the time it's been interesting and delicious. Rarely the same thing twice!
    This year's meal is still a question mark as we are having it in Belgium, but the chef has never disappointed us before. One thing is for sure, there won't be any turkey. I like that you'll be eating local - and it all does sound quite delicious and homey. Merry Christmas, Elizabeth!

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  20. Christmas this year: the three customers will be one carnivore husband, one mother with the appetite of a mouse, one vegetarian me. So the meal will probably be: one M and S turkey dinner for one and a mouse; one poached egg for me; vegetables and Christmas pud.

    New Year, though, we'll have the family back.

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  21. I'm having an RHS turkey! Well, not really - it's a Kelly Bronze, but with an RHS discount. I have to confess I like the trimmings more than the meal. I like cranberry sauce, and bread sauce (my mum makes the best-ever), and stuffing. I love red cabbage, but no one else does. And I hate sprouts, but everyone else likes them. I try to get sprouts that are really, really small, then cut them in half and blanch them - they're in boiling water for about two minutes. That's the only way I can eat them. Tip for boiled carrots: toss them in a teaspoon of maple syrup and some butter - it brings out the sweetness.

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  22. Oh I love this! I could talk about Christmas food ALL DAY LONG. We will be at my mother's house and eating the following: Ham with a spiced glaze, cauliflower with cheese sauce, brussels sprouts, sweet potato puree with marshmallows. For dessert a mince pie from a local British bakery that makes the most wonderful things!, pecan pie, and a white cake with boiled white icing that I am making because it is my mother's favorite cake.

    I really want a goose someday! Nigella Lawson has a gingerbread stuffing I really want to make and try but my family thought that sounded odd. ! :)~Melissa

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  23. Marcheline - I find it fascinating that your life and mine are so different. Used to go to New York for work so I can visualise it!
    S&S - ooh i like the sound of your Christmas Eve meal too. Sounds quite exotic to me!
    Dobby - should be good. Hope yours is too!

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  24. It's my birthday! Swing over to my blog for the party - there are cocktail weenies galore, and whiskey sours for all! 8-)

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  25. Silverpebble - I do like the idea that the dinner is local. We grow organically but if we are buying stuff we haven't grown I am even more bothered about it being local. heaven knows if it makes any difference to anything!
    Heidianne - well having seen the picture of your tree on the roof of your car on the blog, noble is the word! Have a great Christmas.
    Deborah - I love the sound of your first French Christmas meal and the fact that the chef never disappoints!

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  26. Isabelle - I don't think any of our family have the appetite of a mouse, more like buzzards for all of them and the odd golden eagle!
    Victoria - I like the trimmings too. Stuffings and bread sauce and cranberry sauce are totally essential, quite as necessary as the turkey.
    Melissa - sweet potato puree with marshmallows sounds totally exotic to me!

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  27. Having trouble leaving comments as changed my settings. This is a test!

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