I’m well aware that everyone has their own traditions and favourites when it comes to Christmas, but if I had my way with all the produce in the shop, this is what I would plumb for. Bear in mind that you are cooking for friends and family, that you want lots of lovely leftovers, and also want to make cooking as straightforward as possible so that you can spend more time relaxing with your family as opposed to being chained to the stove.
We always have a gammon for Christmas Eve, glazed with creamy mashed potatoes and stir fried cabbage laced with gin. It’s an easy and cost effective way to feed large numbers (working out at about £1.60 per portion). There’s a good recipe here…. With extra for leftover ham, this is the perfect start to festivities. Another option is fish, with salmon fillet or fresh Chalkstream trout available fresh at £25/kg. Local fish is a bit limited at this time of year, but let me know if you are interested and I will keep you posted.
Christmas Day starts with stockings – and we have a ton of goodies that I would love to unwrap if Santa has done his/her job properly. Chocolates are high on the list, with bars of Montezuma’s or the Christmas themed chocs from Cocoa Loco (both made locally). This is the time to indulge in treats that you wouldn’t normally get, so I would be thrilled to find some truffle oil, black garlic cloves, smoked sea salt or nougat.
Breakfast would see the truffle oil get it’s first tasting with luxurious free range scrambled eggs, some decent bacon and a thin slice or two of Chalkstream smoked trout with black pepper. A slice of Bread Addiction’s sourdough bread would complete the picture.
Present time: it seems as if everyone has everything these days, so I would be tempted by a foodie present, such as our Game Preparation and Cookery Course. You can buy a Farm Shop voucher that can be put against our produce, wood-fired lunches, or even one of our supper club events. Then time for a pre-lunch G&T (and we have a serious selection to choose from, including Chichester Harbour and Chilgrove). For the ultimate gift, it would have to be a Big Green Egg and this leads me to the next stage of Christmas:lunch.
I use the farm shop’s Big Green Egg to cook our mighty free range bronze turkey. (now taking last orders). This has several advantages. First it frees up the oven for the roast potatoes, veg, gravy and stuffing, leaving the kitchen a haven of peace and tranquillity, and secondly it cooks the most delicious turkey you can imagine: Golden, crispy skinned with a smoky flavour and succulent, juicy meat, it justifies it’s place as the family Christmas meal of choice. Add a stalk of Chidham brussel sprouts (they keep for ages if you prop them up in water) and all the other veg. Let us know if you want a veg box….
For a cheese board with a difference, we can put together some of the local stars with Tunworth and Isle of Wight Blue, or a classic Stilton or truckle of Quickes Mature cheddar.
We have a selection of mince pies, Christmas puddings and other treats to keep you going until tea time.
And then it’s collapse in front of the TV or a bracing walk for those capable of rolling out the door.
Leftovers are greatly improved with goodies such as The Curry Sauce Co’s delicious Jalfrezi or Hot Madras, while our spiced carrot chutney is so good with cold meat and cheese.
Whatever Christmas Meal you go for, we hope you have a wonderful family time.