The forgotten Christmas feast

Every year we see and we write about the same old roast turkey, vegetarian nut roast, how to get the perfect crispy roast potatoes and brussel sprouts, until the cows come home (and Christmas is on its way again).

But I want to dedicate this to the ‘other food’, the alternative side dishes if you prefer. And I remain a novice at this as coming from Australia, my notion of Christmas food was largely a family-sized salad, cold ham and chicken.

So since moving to Blightly, with its cold dark winters which coincide with Christmas, the essence of creating warming festive feasts is again upon me.

I have spent the last few years at a selection of family and friends Christmas dinners.

So putting aside the turkey and stuffing, greens and parsnips (which if honeyed and roasted, are my winter love through and through), we have a selection of delectable items awaiting an experimentation and a comfort through the dark months.

I started creating an annual festive a chipolata bake with honey, soy and English mustard. A combination of heat, softness, sweet and sour and the meaty bite of a dark crisp sausage to boot.

I also want to pay tribute to the humble ham, often overlooked for the preferred bird, but ignored although it has so much choice in bastings and marinades, how can we go past thin slices of gammon cooked in an apple cider and apricot glaze (shop bought supermarket jam is perfect).

And never fear, in these times of continued austerity we have to take comfort in what we have available to us in the pantry, fridge and the hidden secret stash of pièce de résistance (we all have them whatever form they may take), herbs, sauces, cheese, nuts and tins.

You make Christmas whatever you want for whoever you want and whatever taste takes your fancy.

Merry Christmas xxxx

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