I got this book last year for Christmas, so this year I had the chance to really absorb myself in some of its recipes. I am a bit of a fan of Nigel Slater, I love the way he writes, the way he looks at the world, I think I'd throughly enjoy a day of pottering and cooking with Nigel in London. This book is a real joy, I urge you to buy it beginning of November as it can really get you in the best mood for Christmas, rather than the tiresome commercial push we are used to having to kick start our Christmas', often not when we are ready! Not only is it packed with delicious recipes, the narrative eases you into the traditions of the time of the year as well as some delighful insights into trips taken outside the UK at this yuletide time of the year, so leaves you yearning for a short winter adventure to boot. And I love adventure planning as much as Christmas.
We dived right in making Mincemeat first, so we have some on hand for homemade mince pies to make a little later on. I was also really keen to have the Mincemeat toasted sandwich as our treat for Christmas tree day this year to celebrate the decorating of the tree.
Next up were cake and puddings. I normally make a cake but not a pudding as (shock, horror! - I am not a massive fan), however this book had two varietys, one the usually dark rich plum pudding that I find too rich, and a lighter version. This year I opted to go for the lighter one to see if this one works better for me. Both smell delicious but the taste test will need to be added to this later on!.
This week I did my two go to jarred must-haves. A gorgeous plum chutney that is also from Nigel Slater, but not in this book. Visit an earlier blog post for this beauty; this will go with most cheeses.
This year I changed my cranberry sauce recipe substituting Port for Cherry Brandy as I saw this in my Nigella Lawson Feast book. First dip didn't disappoint, can't wait to have that on the big day.
Other meals that were worthy of a mention in this book was the Lamb belly boulangere, which was most welcome after a dose of winter colds. Also a lovely lamb roast with creamed beans, which I wanted to do instead of a traditional roast as this will make the big day seem more special.
Next on my to do list will be mince pies and making my own (well Nigel's) almond paste for the cake before I go to ice it. Not forgetting a pig cheek terrine to go with my cheeseboard.
If you haven't this book, it is not to late to add it to your Christmas list, you will not be disappointed.
What is on my Christmas list (and has been for a good few years now) is the Pestle and Mortar that Nigel uses on his cookery shows. Where did he get this!! I am always looking out for it, Santa please help!
Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you all have happy and healthy New Years. (And thank you Nigel for making my December lead up more joyful and the big day triumphant!).