Christmas, as I am sure it is for most, is a big occasion in my house.
I grew up in Canada so even though the weather doesn’t feel as festive sometimes, since I am not drowning in a sea of white and more often than not, I still have the feeling in my fingers and toes. It still has to a have a winter feel which I try to achieve through food.
Seasonality rules the kitchen in bartlett mitchell, as it also does at home ,and it’s so easy to do when the classic Christmas lunch is full of gorgeous seasonal produce, parsnips , swede, winter cabbage and the old classic Brussel sprout, just to name a few.
I know that for some, the thought of cooking Christmas lunch can be very stressful, but have no fear!
As the title suggests, success is all in the Ps! Proper preparation and planning prevents a poor performance!
It’s an old kitchen saying and I have removed one of the Ps to get this past the powers that be, but chefs know what I am talking about!
Get as much done as you can the day before! Not only peeled and cut up but some things can actually taste better the next day! The bartlett mitchell development team have put together a great series of recipes that are easy to prepare, cook and hold perfectly overnight in the fridge so all you need to do on Christmas morning is give them a blast of heat.
I tend to always go to my Mum’s for Christmas lunch and if the stars align then, even a few of my brothers make an appearance, but since a couple of them jumped ship to live in other countries, it is a rare thing. My youngest brother is a top chef in Toronto so you would think that with two chefs in the house my mum might be grateful for the help, but quite the opposite! My mum can use some very choice language when the pressure is on which I get, but on Jesus’s birthday she should really try and rain it in a bit!
Foodwise I always try to force in a slight twist of the classic way of veg cooking, primarily:
- I use soy to season and glaze parsnips along with real Canadian maple syrup!
- Gherkin juice to add a tang to the carrots
- Nduja paste stirred through some sliced sprouts that have been gently fried in butter and salt will change your outlook on these notorious culprits of bitterness.
Always a Christmas pudding, although no one likes it really, so always plenty of leftovers to use up over the next few days, which is always a nice challenge and I think the development team have really out done themselves this year with the leftover recipes . Daryll who is a member of the food development team at BM has come up with a butter fried white chocolate bread pudding which I think will be appearing on the table this year. I know my two young boys will love it and that helps me out as I can use them as an excuse to make double the amount needed.
The only food related job my Dad is capable of is the cheeseboard and crackers, which always goes down a storm and I have to say that man puts some effort into it! I have recently found an amazing cheese that is produced just down the road from me in a village called Bix which will find its way on to the board no doubt this year.
It’s a growing rarity that as a family we are in the same room, without the use of FaceTime. So it has to be special and coming from a family of food nuts, this time of year is a great excuse to flex some culinary muscle, indulge in beautiful British seasonal produce and watch my Kids near the point of spontaneous self-combustion from pure excitement.
All before Dad gets smashed and falls asleep with his Christmas hat on in his favourite chair.
If you want a stress free Christmas day than follow my Christmas planner