Love, family and good food – that’s our Christmas. We are not fancy eaters and not fancy cooks. What we do like to eat is good honest food.
We are lucky of course to have sauces to hand that raise the foodie bar in moments.
Traditional to us, but unusual for others perhaps, is that before breakfast we go round all the animals to wish them a Happy Christmas.
We give a brighter future to homeless animals in what is really now quite a extended menagerie. Retired battery hens, homeless wallabies, unwanted emus and rheas, ducks, geese, peacocks, goats, dogs, cats, sheep, pigs and cattle.
With this extended family to feed and water, we don’t have much time for a formal or traditional breakfast.
It’s usually sausages or bacon with an egg from our happy chucks outside. This is definitely time for our Tomato Ketchup and Brown Sauce.
If we do decide to push the boat out, I’m rather partial to scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with our Mustard & Dill Sauce which lifts the salmon to an instant gravadlax.
We always have a gammon joint (traditionalists as I say). We boil it in Coca Cola, Nigella style, to intensify the natural sweetness of the Suffolk pork and cook out its curing brine.
Then we (for we read my lovely wife Anna) criss-cross the fat into diamonds putting a clove jewel in the centre of each diamond.
A tablespoon of black treacle, two or three of our Classic English Mustard mixed with Cranberry Sauce and two more of Demerara sugar make the glaze, which is brushed lavishly all over the meat and into the crossed fat prior to roasting.
Anna, creates a delicious assortment roasted roots to go with the Turkey. In a large bowl, she mixes 50 ml of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of our Cider & Horseradish Mustard and 1 or 2 teaspoons of our amazing Chilli Jam (more if you like more heat).
Put a collection of your Christmas roots into the bowl and mix to cover them well with the oil, mustard and chilli infusion. Arrange this all on a roasting tray with a drizzle of runny honey and the magic happens in the oven.
We don’t do it ourselves (I don’t think) but one of our customers told us and our followers about it on Facebook.
They have a tip for coating the Turkey skin with Stokes Real Mayonnaise, which I am assured adds a crispy sheen to the finished article.
When you think about it, it’s like coating it with British rapeseed oil, British Free Range eggs and a finishing drizzle of Koroneiki extra virgin olive oil from Crete.
Anna has this great trick with the gravy where she stirs a couple of spoons of Cranberry Sauce and perhaps a dollop of Brown Sauce into it and we have the best Turkey gravy ever.
It is a hearty feast for a hearty family.
We usually leave the Christmas pudding and cheese until the evening, probably eating it with an equally cheesy but fun family film.
Our Fig Relish and our Chilli Jam are essentials at this time. They don’t do much for the film, but work wonders with the cheese.
I do like my Christmas lunch but I have to say I absolutely adore cold cuts on Boxing Day – bring out the Piccalilli and Red Onion Marmalade.
They literally make Christmas ‘Merry’ all over again.
Best wishes for a lovely Christmas from everyone at Stokes.