On the 27th December my dad came to visit us for christmas. We decided that I would cook christmas dinner, my very first. In preparation I decided to go to Mill Road to collect all my ingredients. Unfortunately these days I end up buying food in supermarkets like Budgens and Sainsburys, due to availability of time, so to peruse the local shops of Mill Road was to be a real treat.
I had planned to go to Northrop's butchers for the chicken, because they can tell you exactly how it was reared and where it came from. But the queue trailed out the door and down the side of the building (it was Friday 23rd). Then I remembered Al-Amin had a butchers and thought at least I would be supporting a local business and the chicken will have had a prayer said for it (Al-Amin is run by a muslim family so the butchers is Halal). Then I popped to my old work place Arjuna for the veggies; potatoes, brussel sprouts, onion, parsnips and orange (I'll come back to this later) AND what a delight RAINBOW CARROTS, I picked an orange, a white and a PURPLE one. GREAT! All organic.
I popped into Urban Larder, for some home made mince pies, that I had tried at my friends house, who works there. And then I trundled down to Co-op for the bits I hadn't found in the previous two shops. Organic chicken stock cubes, Paxo sage and onion stuffing and Aunt Bessie's yorkshire puds, before going home to freeze the chicken.
On the 27th I roasted the chicken whole in the oven. Added roast potatoes into the tin an hour later, with some parsnips. Then when I took the chicken out to rest I put the brussels on, got the stuffing cooking and them chopped up the carrots, added them to a pan with a big knob of organic butter and then squeezed the whole orange over the top. I then covered the carrots with water, just so the water covers the carrots, then boiled them for 5 minutes with a lid on and 10 minutes with a lid off, before draining and mixing in freshly chopped tarragon. Mmmmm. It was delicious. And finally my Dad worked his magic on the gravy, making it lovely and thick with cornflour.
What I was most happy about however was the portions I served. Even with all the different veggies, not a thing was left in the pans, note on the plates. So my Zero Waste christmas pledge to serve perfect portions, was accomplished.
Next year, I would like to make my own yorkshires and have organic, free-range meat.