December Seasonal Eating
I can hardly believe it... but we are in December! I love Christmas and all that goes with it, especially the food. For me, the social aspect of coming together over a meal is one of the best bits about the festive season. The smells, the twinkling lights, the full to bursting food cupboards and the colourful decorations are all magical... but if one thing transports me into full on festive mode faster than anything else it is a glass of mulled wine with a mince pie! Heaven.
December probably has more in the way of iconic seasonal foods than any other month; Brussel sprouts, turkey, chestnuts... the list goes on. Brussel sprouts are the first one on my list, and whether you are a lover or a hater of the controversial vegetable, I’m challenging you to try something different!
Raw Sprout Salad (try it before you knock it!)
200g of brussel sprouts
1 apple (tarter ones work well like granny smith or even Bramley apples)
1 small red onion
100g of walnuts, crushed
Juice of half a lemon
3 heaped desert spoons of tahini
40mls of lemon juice
1tsp of honey
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to season
Shred the sprouts, apple and onion in a food processor OR chop really finely.
Mix well with the walnuts and tip over the lemon juice.
Mix the tahini and lemon juice together and add the cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to season.
Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.
This works well with meat and fish and also in sandwiches with any leftovers.
This has to be one of the most under-utilised meats...
Great value, lean, iron rich, a great source of B vitamins and a fantastic source of protein, we should all be thinking of turkey as an option all year round, not just at Christmas time. Use in place of beef in Bolognese, cottage pies, instead of chicken in fajitas, curries and much more.
One of my favourites is a turkey rosti...
Grate 1 potato, 1 shallot and 1 parsnip into a tea towel and squeeze out all excess water.
Pop into a bowl and stir in 1 beaten egg and season with some salt and pepper.
Shape into patties (makes 3-4) and gently fry in a large heavy based frying pan. Gently flip over trying not to break up.
Meanwhile, warm some leftover shredded turkey in a separate pan and when the rostis are cooked, serve them with some warmed turkey on the top and a spoonful of cranberry sauce for an extra festive touch.
That’s it! This will serve 2 people so just increase the quantities if you have more people to serve.
Other festive tips...
Try grating some orange zest into your mince pies! I like to grate it into the pastry, or if you have bought fab ready made stuff (very sensible!) just grate it over the top and use a rolling pin to squash it in a bit!
Big jugs of water full of sliced oranges for the table look festive and make a nice change from lemon and lime.
Oranges studded with cloves and placed around the home (Especially on radiators / aga tops / warm areas) will give off a lovely subtle festive scent.
Lighting festive candles always works a treat! Scatter around the house for a pretty twinkly glow and a festive scent.
Fairy lights... everywhere! Invest in some battery powered fairy lights which save the hassle of trailing wires and not enough plug locations! Try filling clear glass vases with shells or fir cones and lights.... this makes a gorgeous display for very little money and next to no time/effort.
Stay tuned for plenty more Christmas themed blogs coming up this month.
Enjoy the festivities!