“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” especially if Andy Williams is to be believed. Whilst Dean Martin, Nat King Cole and Wizard play in the background and conversations rapture around last minute Christmas gifts, where to spend the celebrations and who will be cooking, it’s a great time to remind ourselves that December is also a time for family, friends, food, fun and laughter.
The kitchen then is the most natural setting for your Christmas fun to take place. Of course, with many choosing to focus on the wonderful Christmas turkey, others may have a different take. Food critic, Jay Rayner once wrote, “In the 1970s, when I was a kid, it was so simple. You had turkey. Nobody actually liked it, but then there were loads of things in the 1970s we didn’t like but put up with: beds with sheets and blankets, instant mashed potato, Terry and June.”
Long gone are the heady days of overproduced, over manufactured turkeys to a Christmas meal variety that includes game birds, goose, rib of beef and even a three bird stuffed variety. That’s if you have the time, have the knowledge and even have the passion to do it!
Of course though, our supper clubs are here to give you a bit of kitchen inspiration, and this December edition, is no different. All of our suggestions can be used to help with even the Christmas meal.
So, what are the seasonal foods for December and how can we incorporate these ideas into a wonderful meal for everyone to ooohh and ahhhh at during this festive month?
What foods should you be eating this December?
Supper clubs mean, seasonal foods, good company and trying something different. Of course we eat a lot of over the Christmas month, but we want to bring about seasonality into the mix. Ingredients like, clementines, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, cabbage, chestnuts, celeriac, horseradish and pheasant make a welcome voyage onto our table this month. It’s amazing how with such ingredients you can create some truly unique dishes.
What’s for starters?
One of the beautiful flavours that December has are, chestnuts! They provide bountifuls of flavour, texture and are wonderfully prepared even if they are just roasted – on an open fire is strictly optional! 😉
One of the great recipes we have come across and used with effect is this delicious starter by Lisa Faulkner. It includes, cognac, cream, a bit of bacon and another wonderful meaty shellfish, the scallop. It’s easy to make, looks wonderful and tastes divine. If you were looking to make this for a vegetarian, replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock, obviously discount the bacon and scallop and replace the later with some chard cabbage leaves. Splendid.
What if it isn’t Christmas day yet…
You can cook other things this December, it doesn’t have to all be the eponymous turkey! Well, we’re talking about the other days of the month that is, for the big day itself, that’s completely down to you. 🙂
So what other things can you have this December? It’s cold, it’s winter and you want to have something that brings out flavour, coziness and dare we even say it, a little bit of hygge. How about his then, a game pie. Between pheasant and partridge being in season, you could create a centerpiece pie that everyone will talk about. Its packed with so much flavour, you won’t regret it.
How about sides? It is the month of sprouts, cabbage and even cranberries? Well, this dish by celebrity chef and food campaigner, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall is perfect. Colcannon is a wonderful dish, even by itself, but the mixture of floury potatoes and cabbage brought together by cream and onions is just the thing to warm the cockles!
There is so much you can do with desserts in December, and at Christmas because, let’s face it, you are going to indulge. Whether it is chocolate or flambeed fruits you aren’t going to be taking it lightly, but that shouldn’t matter, it’s about flavour and that’s what matters in this winter, festive period!
So what can you make to keep everyone happy and more importantly, yourself happier! How about a leaf from the book of Great British Bakeoff 2012 winner, Frances Quinn and the most impressive, Gingerbread man! Set aside an hour or more, but the results are fantastic!
Looking for something gluten free, laced with chocolate and a nice fruity punch? You may want to discover James Martin’s Chocolate and Fig mousse cake recipe. It’s a guaranteed winner!
So there are just some suggestions for your December supper club. Keep your eyes peeled as this December we will have loads of suggestions on our blog and our Facebook page for your Christmas food and party tips.