This should be the time of braising and casseroles, but the weather in the UK has been stupidly mild. I want to get in winter mode, put up Christmas lights and consider the bird options: turkey? or goose? or maybe a three bird roast aka turducken (this name is so NOT catchy)? Bake the first pandoro or julekake, just a trial run to check my skillset is still in place after another year. I’ll tell you what: I’ll do it anyway. As we say in Britain, if we waited for the right weather nothing would ever happen.
For the sensible people who have less time on their hands than to do trial runs of festive breads, you can make ahead the elements of mince pies: the pastry on one night, the mincemeat on another and freeze both (that’s the #mincepieplan). You can choose between the classic mince pies and the no-nut plenty-fruit mince pies. Both seriously good.
#Christmasplans aside, and in between the office/work/friends parties that are about to start, we need to eat. I mentioned braising – I am a fan of braising now, thanks to Samin Nosrat whose Netflix series is as interesting as her Salt Fat Acid Heat book. If you make an effort (not such a huge one either) to braise a sizeable pork shoulder or a large piece of beef brisket if that’s your preference, you’ll have almost a week’s worth of dinners: roast one night, tacos another, with feta and roasted grapes salad and what’s left made into rissoles. That’s us getting used to eating that leftover turkey for a week after Christmas, eh?
If you prefer the quick nightly recipes instead of eating the same and the same in various configurations, chicken alla fiorentina in my simplified version could be an idea. For a veggie dish it’s hard to beat the Thai cinnamon noodles; I could actually eat them every night they are so good. Or bake the filo snails; they don’t take quite as long to make as you would think and are mighty tasty.
This week’s cake could be lemon and poppy seed loaf cake, unless you – like me – give in to the family pressure and do the panettone trial run. Or Stollen. Or krantz babka cake. Or fruitcake. The recipes are all on these pages to take a look or, better, subscribe to the newsletter to get weekly reminders and new recipes.