Hectic week, this week – so apologies for lack of posts! Christmas has come upon foodsmatter somewhat early!
First there was the launch of our new Christmas Special last week. This is the first of what we hope will be regular ‘specials’ on the site focusing on specific areas of freefrom food, personal/skin care or freefrom events. Planned for next year are a ‘Focus on the Awards’, FreeFrom Italian food and ‘superfoods’. However, because Christmas was the first one, it took up a good deal more time to put together than, I trust, will be the case for future ones!!
Anyhow, I hope that you will find it useful – lots of freefrom gifts and hamper ideas, a great selection of freefrom personal and skin care gifts put together by skinsmatter.com’s deputy editor, Alex Gazzola, ideas on how to keep safe and reaction free from Micky Rose, some great Christmas recipes – and a Christmas Classified for all the other bits that you had forgotten!!
Then, on Tuesday, we had the first judging for the 2011 FreeFrom Food Awards – the Christmas category – because we were concerned that by the time of the main judging in February, we would not be able to find any mince pies! Very exciting this year as, instead of just having cakes, mince pies and Christmas puds, we also had stuffing mixes and Advent calendars!!
Traditionally, we have combined the Christmas category judging with an advance Christmas party for our judges – so we did again this year – and a very jolly affair it was too! Turkey and all – so that we could try the stuffings in a proper bird as, slightly bizarrely we thought, the stuffing instructions were all for stuffing balls rather than for stuffing into a bird. We could only think that it must have something to do with health and safety (again…) and a concern over ensuring that the bird would be cooked through if it was filled with stuffing….
For what it is worth, we tried the stuffing both as balls and inside the bird – and they tasted much better inside the bird! If you are concerned about your bird being cooked – go for the slow cook method. Overnight and most of the day in a low oven (100–120C) covered in rashers of bacon and foil and sitting on a rack over a baking tray half filled with water or stock to keep the bird moist. You can increase the heat for the last hour or so and remove the foil so that the skin gets lovely and golden.
Since we had around 25 people we served the turkey as a buffet so although gravy was in evidence we did not do the full range of veg. However, I did make a Puy lentil warm salad with fresh coriander which looked slightly like a ploughed field but which everyone raved about so much that I will be writing the recipe up for this weekend’s newsletter. Make sure you sign up if you don’t already get it!!