Sunday, 6 December 2009

Christmas is coming ...

Well, I'm definitely in the holiday spirit now! We ordered our Christmas bird from the local butcher this weekend; we did consider goose this year, but on discovering quite how big they are (and how pricey for free range!) we decided on balance that we'd stick with our usual Christmas bird of choice - duck. We're getting a 5lb bird which should give us two generous portions on Christmas day, a second meal and a couple of sandwiches. Its a free-range and locally-reared (although not organic) Gressingham, but as this will be the first duck we've had from this butcher, it will be a bit of a surprise when it comes to flavour. Hopefully it will live up to their other produce, which is always very good!

Having said that, Christmas for me is always more about the trimmings than the main meat dish, which is why this year I've been perfecting my mince pies recipe before unleashing them on an unsuspecting public (also known as my co-workers). WH has been a willing guinea pig and I hope I have progressed significantly from my first batch (pastry 4/10 - although maybe it's just that WH is a perfectionist). I admit, I've ditched St Delia in favour of a pastry recipe from a book WH gave me as a pre-Christmas present: The Christmas Book, which is full of lovely ideas for homemade decorations, gifts and foodie treats. I made my mincemeat back in September following a recipe from another book I'd highly recommend: The River Cottage Handbook No. 2 - Preserves. This was using the apples from our apple tree, some pears from our Able and Cole delivery and stem ginger. I'll try and post the recipes and some snaps later this week.

Finally, did you know that around 3 million tonnes of waste are generated over the festive season? In our own small way, we're making a slightly different attempt to reduce our own festively-fuelled waste this year, by dispensing with the packaging-heavy branded chocolate advent calendars (plastic wrapper, cardboard shell, plastic inner AND foils?) in favour of a wooden advent calendar which can be used again and again. Isn't it pretty? And you can choose what goes inside ...

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