Preparing for festive feasting

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Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » November 24th, 2017, 9:00 pm

Puddings and cakes apart what food(s) do you prep well in advance of the festive period?

For me it's making a lovely turkey stock to add to the giblet/pan juices to make gravy. I always buy a turkey drumstick in November and use it to make said stock, I've done this for 20+ years (unless we have a turkey at Easter in which case I freeze the carcass). A small step but I do like a really tasty gravy. The carcass from the bird itself and any lurking leftovers will be used to make turkey soup which brings a cheer to dismal January. :)
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby TeresaFoodie » November 25th, 2017, 5:27 am

I wasn't planning on making anything in advance this year because I hope I will be invited out! I will buy a packet mix nut roast as a veggie centre piece. Now that gravy has been mentioned, I might make a batch from a JO recipe I made a few years ago. Then I can either freeze in portions just for me, or take it with me if I do go out.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby StokeySue » November 25th, 2017, 9:43 am

Like Teresa I'll likely be out
When I did the full Monty I used to start my Christmas cake, a Caribbean black cake, by putting the fruit into soak on August Bank Holiday, and making tge cake around Halloween

Mum and I always made the mincemeat at half term and sampled it on bonfire night, a tradition I continued when I made my own
Other than that it was a case of planning the menu, not always easy taking into account what people will and won't eat, ordering the meat and planning last minute shopping and preparation

Never did make ahead gravy but the last time I cooked a turkey was some time in the 90s before I'd heard of it, I'd definitely do it now
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Suelle » November 25th, 2017, 10:31 am

I don't do anything ahead of time. We've had very low key Christmases for a while now, as there are no young children in the family to bring that sense of excitement that makes all the difference to family enjoyment. Cooking is one of the things that helps to pass the time from Christmas Eve until things getting back to normal on January 2nd. :D

I'm the only one who likes Christmas cake and pudding, and I rarely use more than 2 jars of mincemeat, so it's not worth making my own.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Ratatouille » November 25th, 2017, 10:32 am

I too will be out on Christmas Day, at a local restaurant with friends. Christmas Eve will be be celebrating Danish style with friends and I'll be doing the honours at New Year.

I have already made my mincemeat though and I'll be stirring up tomorrow. I intend to serve one of my puddings on New Year's Day.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Busybee » November 25th, 2017, 11:02 am

I’m out at my sisters which will make a nice change as it’s usualky everyone at our house.

No small children, just teens and older so it’s much more low key. Being out on the day is presenting some problems, half the fun for me is living on leftovers between Christmas Day and NYE. So in preparation I bought a ham when they were half price at Waitrose a couple of weeks ago and was planning on buying the smallest turkey crown to cook so that we have the makings of sandwiches etc. whikst I was in the butchers yesterday I saw he had a single turkey breast, he has cut it in half and vac packed the pieces which are now in the freezer. So, I have all the meat bought (plus extra for a roast at some point) all I need to do now is cook it on Christmas Eve. In addition I will be taking a Christmas pudding and a home made trifle to my sisters as not everyone likes pudding.

I feel quite organised, cards are written and most presents bought.

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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » November 25th, 2017, 2:01 pm

I must confess to not making my own mince pies these days :oops: , no cake or pudding either as they don't get used. We only seem to get through a dozen mince pies at most so it doesn't seem worth it. Most everything else is made from scratch though and I will make tablet and shortbread on the 22nd or 23rd. I need to try and get some beef bones to make stock for the New Year's Day steak pie in the next couple of weeks.

I'd be lost if we didn't have Christmas Day here, the leftovers are so good and odds & ends left after New Year make January tolerable :) Good idea BB to make "leftovers" - for me Boxing Day is very much enjoying those and a turkey sandwich with stuffing needs fitting in at some point to :D
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby suffolk » November 25th, 2017, 3:30 pm

The pudding fruit is weighed out and soaking in brandy, ready for Stir Up Sunday tomorrow :chef:
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » November 25th, 2017, 4:03 pm

suffolk wrote:The pudding fruit is weighed out and soaking in brandy, ready for Stir Up Sunday tomorrow :chef:

:tu: :)
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Herbidacious » November 25th, 2017, 5:38 pm

I will be having an M&S Christmas at my mother’s...
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby suffolk » November 25th, 2017, 5:51 pm

And I hope it's a lovely one Herbi :tu: :xtree: :cocktail: :cocktail:
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby TeresaFoodie » November 25th, 2017, 6:19 pm

liketocook wrote:
suffolk wrote:The pudding fruit is weighed out and soaking in brandy, ready for Stir Up Sunday tomorrow :chef:

:tu: :)


That sounds very satisfactory and productive. I now wish I'd been more organised. I'll keep my eye on the Stir Up Sunday thread as I love traditional foodie things, probably as most of us do.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby scullion » November 25th, 2017, 9:43 pm

i have done nothing connected with christmas so far and probably won't for another couple of weeks at the soonest!

oh, i lie, i have bought and eaten some mince pies - but then i think that they shouldn't be kept just for christmas. if i was less indolent i'd make them through the year.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby suffolk » November 25th, 2017, 10:46 pm

Mince pies at other times of the year!!! :shock:
I saw some Hot Cross Buns in Waitrose yesterday !!! I was appalled!!! :rolleyes:
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby earthmaiden » November 25th, 2017, 11:15 pm

I have never made anything in advance except for stock, cake and puddings - the latter two I don't make any more because I don't entertain as much and eating a whole boozy cake does not help my figure. I was brought up to make mince pies on Christmas morning but it became a tradition for many years to bake them on Christmas Eve so that ex OH and his mates came back from a lunchtime drink and ate most of them warm. It is a tradition I tend to keep now, I love cooking on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. If I am not spending Christmas Day at home I make all the things I like as leftovers to have on the following days (cold bread sauce :chops: )

I don't mind eating mince pies in the run up to Christmas and love making a big mince or mince and apple pie or tart during Jan or Feb. :hungry:

Hot Cross buns have been sold all the year round for years - they have even diversified and make funny flavours now :evil:
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby scullion » November 26th, 2017, 2:29 am

i love the irony of eating hot cross buns on christmas morning.

but then i'm not religious, obviously.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby suffolk » November 26th, 2017, 7:15 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby StokeySue » November 26th, 2017, 9:41 am

I have bought some Christmas Tree light, because last year I tried to get some when I put the tree up all the good ones had gone and I got some cheap supermarket LEDs that are too orange and too bright
I thought it was my eyesight that meant the lights were so bright I couldn't see the baubles once they were turned on, but a 22 year old with near perfect vision assures me that's normal, though possibly worse for me
These are the ones
http://www.argos.co.uk/product/5264638?cmpid=affsc&_$ja=tsid:11525|cc:|prd:5264638|cat:Home+and+garden+%2f+Christmas+trees%2c+lights+and+decorations+%2f+Christmas+lights&utm_source=kelkoo&utm_campaign=CPC&utm_medium=Home+and+garden+%2f+Christmas+trees%2c+lights+and+decorations+%2f+Christmas+lights&utm_term=5264638
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » November 26th, 2017, 10:29 am

Pretty lights Sue - I don't like the very bright ones either :D
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby smitch » November 26th, 2017, 5:42 pm

I’m having a trial run of vimto braised red cabbage and also a nut roast mix I picked up in my local whole foods shop. Don’t want to try either for the first time on Christmas Day!
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » November 26th, 2017, 8:05 pm

Vimto - did a double take there :shock: but I can see how it would work. I was never keen on fizzy Vimto but did like the diluting stuff (nice in a 1/2 pint of cider :oops: )
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby smitch » November 26th, 2017, 8:11 pm

We had it as part of a Sunday lunch in a fancy place in Manchester a few months ago so I decided to recreate it at home. Was definitely a success, my husband loved it. Vimto is very popular in the north west, loads of cafes sell it hot and I was even offered it from the tea trolley last time I was in hospital!
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby StokeySue » November 26th, 2017, 8:40 pm

When I was a little girl I had loads of Vimto merchandise, pencils, colouring books etc. because the Vimto salesman drank in my grandpa's pub (and grandpa sold Vimto). Never very keen on the actual drink though :(
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » November 26th, 2017, 8:44 pm

smitch wrote:We had it as part of a Sunday lunch in a fancy place in Manchester a few months ago so I decided to recreate it at home. Was definitely a success, my husband loved it. Vimto is very popular in the north west, loads of cafes sell it hot and I was even offered it from the tea trolley last time I was in hospital!

Hot Vimto now you're talking - was a favourite hot drink in my house when I was growing up sometimes "laced" with soluble Disprin if you had a cold. Fond memories of being snuggled near the fire in nightie and dressing gown after the "Sunday night" ritual of bath, hairwashing, nail clipping with hot Vimto & buttered toast feeling very safe and secure. :D Hope the dish works out for you :hi5:

Edited - just seen it was a success brilliant. :)
Last edited by liketocook on November 26th, 2017, 8:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » November 26th, 2017, 8:45 pm

StokeySue wrote:When I was a little girl I had loads of Vimto merchandise, pencils, colouring books etc. because the Vimto salesman drank in my grandpa's pub (and grandpa sold Vimto). Never very keen on the actual drink though :(

You would have been the envy of most of my Primary school :tu: :)
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Busybee » November 26th, 2017, 10:00 pm

My DS - 21 doesn’t drink tea or coffee. He has an outside job at weekends and it’s been freezing lately, he takes a flask of hot vimto as part of his packed lunch.

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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Catherine » November 26th, 2017, 11:03 pm

My Nanna would make 2 Christmas puddings every year and keep them for the following year to eat on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday, so our puddings were always at least a year old.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby TeresaFoodie » November 26th, 2017, 11:36 pm

I have never tried Vimto, hot or cold, although whilst at college, me and my best mate discovered hot Ribena. Would Vimto be similar? I imagine it to taste medicinal but could be mixing it up with something else....? Root beer maybe? No, I'm sure there's something else medicinal but what?
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Catherine » November 27th, 2017, 12:41 am

TeresaFoodie wrote: I will buy a packet mix nut roast as a veggie centre piece


No Tezza you deserve better than this. As you are no longer vegetarian you could try turkey or whatever roast is being cooked, or at very least take a fish fillet, but a packet nut roast is like eating sawdust. Treat yourself better at Christmas you are worth more than a dried up packet mix
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby smitch » November 27th, 2017, 11:07 am

Catherine wrote:TeresaFoodie wrote:
I will buy a packet mix nut roast as a veggie centre piece


No Tezza you deserve better than this. As you are no longer vegetarian you could try turkey or whatever roast is being cooked, or at very least take a fish fillet, but a packet nut roast is like eating sawdust. Treat yourself better at Christmas you are worth more than a dried up packet mix


Actually, I tried a packet nut roast yesterday and it was really nice. In fact, I'll probably be having it for my Christmas dinner. Nice to know you think my planned meal is rubbish though.

Tezza, Vimto doesn't taste like Ribena to me, I'm not keen on blackcurrant squash. It is mixed fruit, but does have a 'herbal' taste too. I love it, there is a statue of a bottle and some fruit near where we park our car as it was the site of the first Vimto factory.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Catherine » November 27th, 2017, 11:56 am

smitch wrote:
Actually, I tried a packet nut roast yesterday and it was really nice. In fact, I'll probably be having it for my Christmas dinner. Nice to know you think my planned meal is rubbish though.



Ah the joys of forums and getting the total wrong end of the stick. Such a great way to interact and offend people when totally not intending to. Hmmmmmm
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby smitch » November 27th, 2017, 12:04 pm

Catherine wrote:
smitch wrote:
Actually, I tried a packet nut roast yesterday and it was really nice. In fact, I'll probably be having it for my Christmas dinner. Nice to know you think my planned meal is rubbish though.




Ah the joys of forums and getting the total wrong end of the stick. Such a great way to interact and offend people when totally not intending to. Hmmmmmm


Well I'd already posted about a trial run of my meal, including mentioning a packet nut roast before you'd made your comment. But by all means blame me for being upset by your statement- not entirely sure what other way there is to interpret what you said, unless you believe vegetarians like eating sawdust.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Catherine » November 27th, 2017, 1:42 pm

I was actually a strict vegetarian for many years.

Anyway, moving on, I just came across this recipe and thought it looked great as a much lighter alternative to Christmas pudding

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/233 ... namon-figs
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby WWordsworth » November 27th, 2017, 3:09 pm

I usually make a Christmas Crumble.
The base is mincemeat with chopped (or stewed if you like) apple and the topping contains nuts and a dash of cinnamon.
It's lighter than the usual cannonball, although I am a fan of Christmas pud.
Last edited by WWordsworth on November 27th, 2017, 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » November 27th, 2017, 3:50 pm

WWordsworth wrote:I usually make a Christmas Crumble.
The base is mincemeat with chopped (or stewed if you like) apple and the topping contains nuts and a dash of cinnamon.
It's lighter than the usual cannonball, although I am a fan or Christmas pud.

oh that sounds tasty I love crumble :drool:
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby earthmaiden » November 27th, 2017, 4:12 pm

Years ago I had a recipe for something called a Mincemeat Tranche. All it was was a large piece of pastry which you cut out in a Christmas tree shape (a template is helpful!) large (or small) enough to fit on a large baking sheet or roasting pan. This was smothered in mincemeat - you can use apple as well - and then topped with a fairly close fitting lattice of pastry with sturdy sides. It was brushed with egg and milk and baked until golden. The bits in the lattice holes were decorated with pretty things like glace cherries - I think the pots with multi-coloured ones worked well. It was really christmassy. You could add pastry stars and things before baking too. Nice to have for pudding hot at some point over the Christmas period and cold slices to munch for elevenses or tea if there is some left.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » November 27th, 2017, 4:34 pm

earthmaiden wrote:Years ago I had a recipe for something called a Mincemeat Tranche. All it was was a large piece of pastry which you cut out in a Christmas tree shape (a template is helpful!) large (or small) enough to fit on a large baking sheet or roasting pan. This was smothered in mincemeat - you can use apple as well - and then topped with a fairly close fitting lattice of pastry with sturdy sides. It was brushed with egg and milk and baked until golden. The bits in the lattice holes were decorated with pretty things like glace cherries - I think the pots with multi-coloured ones worked well. It was really christmassy. You could add pastry stars and things before baking too. Nice to have for pudding hot at some point over the Christmas period and cold slices to munch for elevenses or tea if there is some left.

Oh - I'd forgotten about those and had no idea what they were called my Gran used to make one for a buffet on the 2nd of January with royal icing "snow" piped onto the branches :D
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Seatallan » November 27th, 2017, 6:26 pm

That would be Mr S's idea of Hell (he can't do fruit at the best of times and is particularly challenged by dried fruit) but my idea of Heaven. :chops: :chops:
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Catherine » November 27th, 2017, 6:34 pm

WWordsworth wrote:I usually make a Christmas Crumble.
The base is mincemeat with chopped (or stewed if you like) apple and the topping contains nuts and a dash of cinnamon.
It's lighter than the usual cannonball, although I am a fan or Christmas pud.



When I worked in a hostel for homeless young people, staff cooked dinner for everyone on Christmas day and over the festive period. I often used all the leftover veg to make a creamy savoury vegetable crumble. Actually it was really popular. Sometimes I would put leftover turkey in it too. It was impossible to plan the meals ahead as we relied heavily on donations. We would often get a huge delivery from M&S on Christmas eve with ready to roast turkey breasts or crowns etc and loads of veg, mince pies etc etc
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby TeresaFoodie » November 27th, 2017, 8:11 pm

Catherine wrote:When I worked in a hostel for homeless young people, staff cooked dinner for everyone on Christmas day and over the festive period. I often used all the leftover veg to make a creamy savoury vegetable crumble. Actually it was really popular. Sometimes I would put leftover turkey in it too. It was impossible to plan the meals ahead as we relied heavily on donations. We would often get a huge delivery from M&S on Christmas eve with ready to roast turkey breasts or crowns etc and loads of veg, mince pies etc etc

Catherine. :kneel: :kneel: How generous of you to give your time to those in need. I have on occasion felt I should give back to society in a similar way. Maybe this year...

I love the idea of a Christmas crumble too. I was going through a book that I picked up from my favourite charity book stall, Cooking For The Credit Crunch, and there is a veg crumble gratin recipe in there which caught my eye as I have all the ingredients. It is bookmarked.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Catherine » November 27th, 2017, 10:28 pm

TeresaFoodie wrote:Catherine. How generous of you to give your time to those in need. I have on occasion felt I should give back to society in a similar way. Maybe this year...


Ah Tezza thanks but I'm not that great, this was paid work. I was a keyworker for a hostel which provided 6 months tenancy for homeless young people aged 16-25. Generally they were in and out of young offenders and no where to go when released. They just need a chance in life really. We provided training and help with general budgeting etc helping them to find permanent accommodation We did what we could but invariably their lives were a repetitive vicious cycle. Christmas was always a good time though because we made as near to as we a could a normal family Christmas. Most had never really experienced this and just to see them smile and laugh made it a pleasure to be on duty Christmas day

Savoury crumbles really are delicious and proper comfort but make sure you season well otherwise they can be bland. Use a stock cube in the sauce or a splash of liquid stock I actually more often use chicken stock but that would make it non veggie, but that doesn't bother us. A mice mix of herbs in the crumble topping is good too,
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby earthmaiden » November 27th, 2017, 10:37 pm

Catherine wrote: A mice mix of herbs in the crumble topping is good too,

You can leave the mice out of mine :lol: :lol:

Like the idea of the royal icing on the Mincemeat Tranche - yes, it's all a bit retro - but Christmas is!
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Catherine » November 27th, 2017, 11:13 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: ooops...made me giggle though so I'm not editing it
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby scullion » November 28th, 2017, 11:12 am

TeresaFoodie wrote:I wasn't planning on making anything in advance this year because I hope I will be invited out! I will buy a packet mix nut roast as a veggie centre piece

have you tried the nut roasts that are in lidl at the moment? - in a freezer cabinet - they aren't bad at all. we tried the hazelnut, cashew and cranberry one a couple of days ago and were nicely surprised. the other variety is in our freezer - a good nut roast is often a rarity. they also have a couple of vegetarian 'wellingtons' (should that be a pair?) in their freezer, too, which again, are rather good.
theoretically the nut roasts are for three people but i'd say they're two good portions.

ps.i think they'd be far superior to catherine's 'mice crumble'.
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Meganthemog » November 28th, 2017, 4:24 pm

I will be heading up the M4 to Maidstone on Christmas morning, with the car packed to the gunwales with my free-range turkey and presents. I always make litres of JO's chicken wing gravy as it's a family favourite now. I also make my stuffing ahead - good quality sausage meat, breadcrumbs, nuts (last year I used pistachios and it was lovely) all encased in pancetta or streaky bacon. I make it in a round cake tin and it makes quite an impressive centre piece.
I suggested to DD that maybe this year they'd like to have Christmas to themselves and we'd come up to babysit at NY - she was adamant that she wanted us there - and not just so that I'd cook! The upshot is that we are now staying on so that we can also babysit for them on NYE :lol: :lol:
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » November 28th, 2017, 4:46 pm

Meganthemog wrote:I will be heading up the M4 to Maidstone on Christmas morning, with the car packed to the gunwales with my free-range turkey and presents. I always make litres of JO's chicken wing gravy as it's a family favourite now. I also make my stuffing ahead - good quality sausage meat, breadcrumbs, nuts (last year I used pistachios and it was lovely) all encased in pancetta or streaky bacon. I make it in a round cake tin and it makes quite an impressive centre piece.
I suggested to DD that maybe this year they'd like to have Christmas to themselves and we'd come up to babysit at NY - she was adamant that she wanted us there - and not just so that I'd cook! The upshot is that we are now staying on so that we can also babysit for them on NYE :lol: :lol:

Your stuffing sounds lovely, I might just be pinching that idea :)
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » November 30th, 2017, 10:43 am

Just placed my meat order with the butchers to collect on the 23rd. Another thing off the list :D
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » December 11th, 2017, 9:43 pm

How are folk getting on with their prep?
I managed to get some boiling beef (short rib) so beef stock has been made. It's chilling overnight so I can remove the fat and I'll reduce it tomorrow. :)
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby Catherine » December 15th, 2017, 12:05 am

I thought this looked nice for a vegetarian main

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/bee ... kale-pesto
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Re: Preparing for festive feasting

Postby liketocook » December 15th, 2017, 8:10 am

Catherine wrote:I thought this looked nice for a vegetarian main

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/bee ... kale-pesto

Yes these look tasty :)
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