All the lights are on, all the halls are decked! We’re starting it early to celebrate longer in a wholehearted way though we’re only getting five days of Christmas this year, restrictions-free.
I think it’s reckless but also wonderful, like the Christmas truce in the Great War. Ironically, The Weather Man and me might be unusually on our own precisely because of the freedom to travel (it’s complicated). But that’s all right, we have our teddy bears to keep us company and I’m going to put my heart into the takeaway Christmas and baked goods I plan to give away.
I have worked out the recipe for an oven-ready Christmas roast – it might be a gift; it might be this year’s house roast. Turkey roll, boneless and stuffed with homemade stuffing is something you may want to look at closely. I am also making Stollen, the German Christmas bake which famously lasts for weeks and gets better with each passing day. There are some wonderful Italian make-ahead festive desserts that I’ve only recently discovered: panpepato, dark and spicy, and spongata di natale: an elegant, Italian giant mince pie.
Time for traditional panettone made on sourdough ‘mother starter’ is fast approaching and you should take a look at my recipe; though it’s not for the faint-hearted. It involves getting up in the night to feed your dough and constructing a special panettone scaffold. Intrigued? You should be.
We could make the first batch of mince pies or a loaf of cranberry and walnut bread. But we still need to eat ordinary meals in the run-up, so perhaps baked orzo with mushrooms and pancetta will suit? That’s what I’m having at the weekend.
You can buy partridge breasts from supermarkets and they are enormously good value, in terms of the price and the relief from the boring chicken. Cook them with grilled red peppers, mushrooms and aubergine.
There’s Vietnamese cabbage and prawn salad bowl for one weeknight, and potato and fennel gratin for another. You could make sweetcorn chilli or prawn tacos, or both. Just look through my content pages.
Keep warm and well, and get excited about Christmas dishes and bakes with me! Subscribe to the weekly newsletter to get new recipes into your inbox.