This week we’ll be partying, opening advent calendars which these days can be astonishingly adult, and hunting for last minute presents. The snowfall last week has delayed everything in the southeast England but I’m hoping my goth gloves (niece), gigantic shawl (mother-in-law) and cuddly toy (Weather Man) are en route.
But more importantly, is it time yet? Can I roll out the fruitcakes, puddings and birds recipes already? Okay, okay – I’ll wait a few more days. But be informed that a sizeable fruitcake and a couple of Stollen are already living in my freezer, ready to be defrosted on Christmas Eve. Festive breads and cakes freeze really very well and embarking on a panettone project on the 23rd December might be upping the stakes too high.
Also note that both the dressing (cranberry sauce) and the stuffing (well – stuffing) for the turkey can be made this week. I have an excellent recipe for classic chestnut and mushroom stuffing as well as this apricot and fig stuffing which will be great with goose or duck.
During the countdown, between an office party and a batch of mince pies, I’ll make broccoli cheese one night this week: simple, meatless and comforting. And chicken chow mein another night, as we won't be cooking with oriental flavours during holidays. Or aim at quick suppers made by throwing a handful of spinach into pasta – here’s bucatini alfredo – or at some flattened chicken fillets – here’s easy one-pan chicken alla fiorentina. And keep counting down the days!