Yes, Christmas party time again but this year we thought we would use it as an excuse to test out our new video skills…. So we set our camera man up in the kitchen where he could watch (and film) me creating dinner! If you want to see how it all happens in the FoodsMatter kitchen, play on…..
However, be warned that this is our first effort so imperfect in a whole load of ways! And one of those is that, because I was doing four recipes but we did not want the video to go on all night, I leap around the dishes rather a lot and you may need to actually look at the recipes (all below) to make sense of them! I will be asking a few select people to give us some very honest feed back on it – is this really something that we should be doing and would you really want to watch it?….. But meanwhile, any comments that any of you may have would be more than welcome. And remember, although it is nice to get nice comments, it is the critical ones that are really useful – so don’t pull your punches!!
And do not feel obliged to watch at all if you are not up for such things. You can just spool down a bit and you will find links to the recipes for the dishes that I made – and which our guests then ate with gusto! And to a few comments on the Christmas puds and mince pies they were let loose on afterwards!
I am afraid that I am not a great turkey enthusiast – and anyhow, eating roast anything with a fork when you are catching up on a year’s gossip with a fellow judge is not the greatest. So instead we had a port-marinaded venison casserole with cranberries and fir apple potatoes – the kind of dish that you eat with a spoon out of a bowl!! So that was for the heavy duty meat eaters.
For the those who prefer something bit lighter we had a barley, red pepper and Jerusalem artichoke risotto. It just happened that for once we did not have any coeliacs among our number, only dairy intolerants – but if we had had, I would have made the same dish but with brown rice.
With this we had some red cabbage and apple, mainly because I had bought bumper load of Bramleys a few weeks ago and am still trying to find ways to use them up! This one included red onions, coriander seeds, beetroot juice and a touch of cider vinegar but because I knew we already had several recipes, I am afraid that I did not make a note of the quantities. However here are the other recipes on the site – a beetroot, red cabbage and apple dish with cider and pumpkin seeds and a parsnip, red cabbage and apple bake.
I also did a very tasty carrot dish – again, I fear, inspired by an over-enthusiastic purchase of Matthew’s carrots from Farm Direct a few weeks ago….
The recipe used fresh ginger, cavolo nero and a touch of lemon juice and although I am not normally that keen on carrots, I have to say that it was very tasty.
Because I always think that we could really do with just one more dish, I also did one of my instant last minute bean numbers…. On this occasion, butterbeans with smoked mackerel, black olives and spring onions. Very tasty and takes approx. 5 minutes to make….
So much for the main course (which was accompanied by some of Barkat’s extremely pretzel-y gluten-free pretzels and Proper Pops gluten & lactose free popped chip snack, made from casein….). Upstairs we had a selection pudding goodies….
Some excellent gluten-free mince pies – and my goodness, how gluten-free mince pies have improved over the last few years…. I am sure we all remember that rock solid, thick, greasy and/or crumbly pastry… No more! Really excellent gluten and dairy, but not nut free pies from Waitrose, gluten-free only pies from M & S and gluten and dairy, but not nut free pies from Sainsbury.
But probably the most spectacular offering was the FreeFrom Bakehouse’s vegan, gluten and wheat free Boozy Fruit and Nut Christmas loaf! This was very rich and very moist – almost like West Indian fruit cake – but very yummy if you like moist fruit cakes – which I do! Also extremely yummy was the FreeFrom Bakehouse gluten and wheat-free chestnut rum truffle torte – which was just as rich and indulgent as it sounded!
Other items to report? Well we sampled some of Vintage Roots no added sulphur and low sulphur wines. We particularly liked the Stellar Organics Limited release no added sulphur white wine and the Cuvée Secrete No Added Sulphur Merlot Cabernet.
And for those you who are long term readers of this blog, we managed a particularly tuneful and vigorous rendering of Jerusalem in memory of our good friend David Fleming who died very suddenly five years ago, the weekend after we had all celebrated together at an earlier Christmas party. There is rumour that his life’s work, Lean Logic, is to be formally published next year and we are wondering whether we should add Onward Christian Soldiers to our annual vocal tribute in celebration!