Brussel Sprout, Sweet Potato and Smoky Bacon Hash

I don’t know about you but I love a good sprout, and this is obviously the best time of year to get your fill of them. This is a nice recipe if you’re looking for something a little different for breakfast or lunch, not going to lie it is pretty light so add a slice of toast or two  if you’re fully starving.

 

Also please accept my apologies for my poached egg. I cannot for the life of me get the white to wrap around. I’ve tried: straining off the excess white, swirling the water, not swirling the water, vinegar, shallow pans, deep pans, you name it. NONE of these things work for me. I have my eye on some of those pan poacher thingies (like these) maybe Santa will come through. If you’ve used them, let me know if they’re good!

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Christmas Foodie Traditions

For my family of foodies, many of our Christmas traditions revolve around food. In fact, nearly all of them revolve around food! Now we’re counting down to the big day, here’s a sneak peek at what happens in our household.

Christmas Eve prep
Christmas Eve is all about everyone mucking in and doing a big family food prep session for the big day. We’ll chop carrots, parsnips, leeks, peel sprouts, roll pigs in blankets and make the stuffing. There’ll be some celeriac remoulade on the go, and usually we’ll make some mince pies and ice the cake too. It’s a busy, bustling morning and any guests are expected to help out too.

Christmas Eve dinner and ‘the cheese’
Every year without fail we eat a kedgeree for Christmas Eve dinner cooked by my dad. It’s one of my family’s favourite dishes, brimming with hard boiled eggs, smoked fish, pancetta and comforting and creamy rice. After this we’ll have a cheeseboard (yes I know it’s weird after fish) where, since my discovery of it three years ago, we start to eat the Vacherin Mont D’or.

Nibbles
My mum loves baking and makes a mean loaf. She’ll prepare a couple of baguettes in advance and freeze so we can defrost on Christmas morning for our nibbles. Classically, we’ll have mussels on toast (rounds cut from these baguettes) and smoked salmon and scrambled egg oatcakes with champagne before the big meal.

Christmas dinner
Nobody in my family really likes turkey so we tend to cook a Capon instead (google it if you’re not sure) with all the trimmings, followed by Christmas pudding, mince pies, and trifle. Yes, three puddings.

Christmas tea
My favourite meal of the year is Christmas tea. We’ll have smoked salmon, cream cheese, crisps, celeriac and salad. I love this meal because everyone is usually too full to eat it but once you’re half way in it’s the best thing ever!!!

Boxing Day bolognese
Traditionally Boxing Day is a lazy day centring around a huge bowl of home made pasta and my dads spaghetti bolognese (recipe here!) followed by a big cheese fest.

And there we have it! Now it’s December I’m feeling super festive! What are some of your Christmas food traditions?

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A Cup of Christmas with The Kettle Shed

TEA! Who doesn’t love tea? I usually drink several cups of English breakfast during the day, green tea after lunch and camomile or a fruit tea before bed. So when I was asked to review some new teas I jumped at the chance!

The Kettle Shed are an independent tea start up based in London. Their slogan is they ‘give a cup’, every time their tea is sold they donate tea to homeless shelters all over the country. Not only do I love a good play on words but this charitable aspect of the brand is really appealing. 

Anyway, onto the tea! 


I was sent two teas to try from their Christmas range – eggnog and gingerbread. The teabags are little silky ones that are fully biodegradable, but really let you see the different ingredients in the bags. 

First up to try was Eggnog! Eggnog tea? At first I wasn’t so sure, but here it is, all brewed up:

Surpringly it was quite a dark tea, I’m not sure what I’d expected, maybe something yellow! It was actually really nice, a lot nicer than I thought it would be. It really did taste like eggnog, with a delicious almost caramel flavour and strong taste of cinnamon and Christmas spicing. It was definitely a different sort of tea, but I could really imagine myself drinking this curled up by the fire with a mince pie. 

Next up was the Gingerbread tea. Now I’m a really big fan of lemon and ginger tea so I was really excited to try this one. It came in adorable packaging – like a little shed! 



This was also quite a dark brew, with a pleasant gingery taste. The vanilla really brings it into gingerbread territory rather than just a ginger tea. It really tastes very festive and would be great with a big slice of Christmas cake. 

I really enjoyed trying these teas, if you’re into tea I would definitely recommend checking out The Kettle Shed. 

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Capon Risotto – Christmas Leftovers Idea

Risotto is wonderful way of using up leftovers, especially if you don’t have very much of them because you can bulk them out well with other ingredients. This meal has become somewhat tradition in our house after the Christmas period to eat up the leftover meat.

Sadly this was the last of our Christmas freezer treasure trove – the leftover capon. If you don’t have capon to hand like me (unlikely you would), any leftover chicken or turkey works.

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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Shoulder Sandwiches

I’ve done this once before but I didn’t take nearly enough  pictures, and the previous attempt was also in the oven with a fairly hefty 4.5kg bone-in shoulder, whereas this one was a meagre 2kg bone-out jobby from Tesco.

You get a lot of pork for 2kg, I tell you. We made this on New Year’s Eve as part of a gourmet 3 course meal in, as I was still recovering from the devil’s illness – tonsillitis. I managed to have it three times over December and January and I’m still not 100% yet, fortunately Christmas Day itself was illness free!

Anyway. A 2kg pork shoulder is plenty for two hungry people – it would feed four easily with leftovers. We have LOTS of pork in the freezer, but that’s only a good thing really isn’t it?

I’ll leave my coleslaw recipe for another day but it really does pay to make this stuff yourself. It is SO easy, and tastes way nicer than what you get in shops. I typically slice cabbage, red onion and grated carrot and toss in a bit of lemon juice, mayonnaise, creme fraiche or yoghurt and a dash of mustard. Serve on white baps with sweet potato fries or salad as a side.

 

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Christmas Turkey, Stuffing, Sprout and Sausage festive kebabs

Who doesn’t want Christmas on a stick!? A great party snack for the festive season, these are so easy to make.

We all have our own recipes for stuffing balls (mix sausage mixture and an egg with stuffing mix) and pigs in blankets (take sausage, wrap in bacon) so I haven’t “reciped” these for now.

Bake them ahead of time and set aside for a day or so in the fridge so you’re not doing everything at once. They’re also easier to ‘thread’ if they are cold from the fridge!

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Baked Garlic Camembert Cheese Moment

Oh Camembert, king of cheeses. I got a Camembert baker last year for Christmas, if you have a cheese lover in your life they make really great gifts. I use mine as an ornament most of the year, it looks great on my kitchen windowsill.

And then winter comes, and so does the baked cheese.

Driving over the North York Moors last weekend, I was struck by the overpowering desire to bake Camembert and spend the afternoon in ooey, gooey, cheesy heaven. Well, you only live once, so I did.

Recipe

I baked an Asda own-brand Camembert (a steal at £1.20) and studded it with garlic before baking for 20 minutes at around 150 degrees.

The rest of this post is just pictures of cheese. I’m not sorry.

 

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