Apologies for having had such a quiet week or two, blog-wise. As frequently seems to happen at this year, I am a bit low on batteries, and I’m not feeling brilliantly creative. All should be well again in the New Year – I’m off to Morocco tomorrow for the festive season, to enjoy some lovely recharging sunshine, snail soup and shish kebabs. And a lot of things cooked in pointy earthenware pots.
In the meantime, you’re probably after some Christmas recipes. Fortunately, we have plenty of those around here. Here’s the main event – a turkey recipe which is, uncharacteristically for turkey, so good you’ll be tempted to cook it when it’s not even Christmas. It’s brined overnight, leaving it juicy and succulent (the juices will spurt when you prick the thigh to check for doneness), the flesh infused with aromatics from its night-long submersion. If there are too few of you to justify a turkey, try a roast duck with prunes and pancetta, which is just about as Christmasy as it gets with its port and cherry gravy. And here’s a really fine ham for Christmas Eve.
You’ll want some trimmings. Chipolatas wrapped in pancetta and stuffing balls always go down well, alongside some cranberry sauce and bread sauce. Try a maple-mustard glaze on your vegetables, or cook the cabbage/chestnuts side dish that’s mentioned in the duck recipe above. And nobody can say no to a crunchy spiced parsnip.
You’ve probably bought your Christmas pudding, and you already know how to make mince pies. If you want something to drink alongside them, try some hot buttered rum (but beware – you’ll inevitably drink too much, because it’s hopelessly good). This is an especially good drink for those with cold fingers and toes. Mulled wine is another fantastic loosener-upper, and you’ll find present-opening is even more fun with a glass by your side and a little plate of cherry and almond cookies.