November challenge #3 for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolutionaries: ‘Holiday Traditions’. I instantly imagined this as a bit of a montage as I’m completely smitten with all things Christmas.
So, holiday traditions and food for your family gatherings… Easy. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have a ‘Christmas Book’ and start planning a couple of months in advance (you have to if you’re going to make all the good stuff from scratch…). Heavily booze-soaked Christmas cake and sloe gin are well worth the early effort.
Let’s start with…
- Hampers. Who doesn’t love a hamper? I’d use an interrobang at this point if only my keyboard supported it. I’m not sure I’m even too fussed what it contains, a hamper is a both exciting and practical whatever the festivity.
It’s even more special when someone makes up a hamper from scratch for you.
Next on the agenda;
- Christmas Ales. I love dark, heavy and flavoursome beers and it’s a real treat when all of the special festive brews hit the shelves. Even better if it’s Belgian. Here’s a favourite of mine.
- Brussel sprouts (Brassica oleracea) on the stalk. For some crazy reason, you only seem to be able to buy sprouts on their stalk at Christmas. What’s with that?
- Christmas Butter. Useful stuff for poultry of any kind. You can make it well in advance and pop it in the freezer. I usually use cranberries, orange and lemon zest, sage and all the generally festive ingredients.
- Santa Sustenance. I suspect I might get a little dreary about this tradition one day, but hopefully the children will have sussed it all out well before then. That said, the port is particularly welcomed by the time I get to finally indulge. Do reindeer even eat nuts?
- Hash. Continuing the leftover theme, I honestly look forward to boxing day more than the main event. This is probably the ultimate in comfort food eating. We are all guilty of cooking far, far too much food at Christmas, but use fantastic ingredients. The rule; there isn’t one. The beauty is that you can use whatever you happen to have left (plus eggs and maybe some hot sauce depending on how late you partied…).
- Pie. Again, this tends to be a boxing day dinner based on cooking too much the day before. Never be without a block of puff pastry in the freezer during the festivities. Turkey, ham, mushrooms, crème fraîche and a couple of leeks. Heaven. Obviously this also lends itself to pretty much anything you have to hand.
Have fun, indulge, and above all, spoil the younglings.
Happy Holidays everyone!