If there is one thing we like just as much as making jam, its cooking lots of yummy things for our friends to eat and when your friends are as fabulous as ours you can’t help but want to make a lot of it!
Christmas Dinner was always going to be on the agenda but when we first started thinking about it a month or so ago, I’m not sure we quite planned on it being quite this big or there being that much food or that much mulled wine or that many beers for that matter. However it was big (eleven of us sat around 2 large tables pushed together), there was a lot of food (all three ovens in use plus four rings on the electric hob and the entire top of the aga acting as a hot plate!) and it was unbelievably fun! But that was just on the day, behind the scenes (sort of) Kirstie and I had planned, made lists, ordered meat, shopped, made gifts and organised a secret Santa.
Everyone invited had in some way helped us with Strawberry Fields Foods over the past eight months; whether that be carrying bags brimming with fruit on foraging trips, handing out tasters at fairs, making us dinner every night when we are just too busy to have time to eat let along cook, hand drawing the words and pictures on our labels, saving us from the rogue trojan horse on the laptop or simply helping us out in the kitchen when its eleven at night at there is a delivery due the next day. They are all amazing and supportive and thus this Christmas Dinner effectively became a Strawberry Fields Staff Party! And our staff *cough* volunteers deserved a lovely day filled with lots of delicious things to eat and lots of lovely drink.
Here’s the story of how it all happend…and pulled off with such skill and finesse that we werent slaves to the oven and everyone had a brilliant time! (Or at least we hope they did!)
Way in advance, when i say way in advance I do mean about 4 days - we are just not that organised! We placed our order with Paul at the lovely Danestream Farm Shop, Sway (where our jams are sold) for a brilliant Ham - which turned out amazing. And got on with the gift making, list creating and planning.
Kirstie has been masterminding a home made hot chocolate lolly pop for weeks and below you can see how it made and this made up the first part of the gifts for our visitors.
Firstly melt some chocolate over ban marie. Then hang the bottom corner of the sandwich bag into a pint glass, ready to be filled with melted chocolate, ensure that you don’t pour too much chocolate in to be able to fit in the glass when set! When cooled slightly push a spoon into the chocolate and cover the exposed chocolate in mini marshmallows. When set peel the food bag away and you have a hot chocolate spoon…just add hot milk!!
Sneaky shot of our Lemon Curd in the background!
Also making up our gift parcels was Strawberry Fields Foods Jam (naturally), cinder toffee and Sloe Vodka - a new experiment on the old favourite Sloe Gin, this stuff is liquid heaven and needless to say a lot got drank before the night was over!
Making sure the fire was at the right temperature to slow cook out beautiful 3kg ham in the oven next door.
Now for the actual menu, well I have to be honest, we made so much that I’m not sure I can remember it all so forgive me if I miss anything.
N.B: The omission of sprouts was not a mistake - despite protests from Kirstie we elected to skip the sprouts in favour of Peas with Mint. A yummy alternative!
Blinis with goats cheese & caremlised red onion
Blinis with cream cheese & pesto
Filo pastry parcels filled with brie and Strawberry Fields redcurrant jelly.
Turkey (obviously) with streaky bacon.
Ham - glazed with honey and cloves (heaven).
Honey glazed roast carrots and parsnips.
Cranberry nut roast
Onion and sage stuffing
Peas and mint
and to serve Strawberry Fields Redcurrant & Mint Jelly and Spiced Crab Apple Jelly. What more could you ask for…oh yes dessert!!
Dessert came in the form of a Nigella Lawson recipe from her Christmas cook book; the Girdlebuster Pie. A combination of chocolate, biscuit, ice cream and caramel. This was a slightly alternative Christmas Day pud but it was delicious and served with lashings of brandy whipped cream.
Nice shot of the cranberry nut roast.
Davinia in her secret Santa present!
The Girdlebuster - I don’t think the photo can put across just how delicious this Nigella beauty was, if you ever need a dessert for a special occassion I would thoroughly suggest giving this a whirl! And best of all it can all be made beforehand and eaten straight from the freezer!
The leftovers (below) and our home made mince pies with Strawberry Fields Foods extra fruity mincemeat.