Seven very British Christmas foods….apart from the obvious – turkey served with roast potatoes – which other food items do Brits automatically associate with Christmas? Cranberry sauce has become popular, but it’s a relatively recent American import, so let’s start with the more traditional British sauce…
This is a hot sauce which is made from the turkey juices and thickened with a little flour. Every family has its own version: for example, some add wine while others add onion or herbs, but everyone agrees that you need a lot of it to pour all over the food!
There are many varieties of stuffing – recipes vary a great deal from family to family – but it generally consists of a mixture of breadcrumbs, onions and herbs or is based on sausage meat. Stuffing can be cooked inside the turkey or prepared separately.
These are small, thin pork sausages traditionally served with the turkey. If you wrap chipolatas in rashers of bacon, they become pigs in blankets. In Scotland they’re called kilted sausages!
This is the Christmas vegetable par excellence! Although they form a quintessential part of the Christmas Dinner, quite a few people don’t actually like them very much as they can be rather bitter, but it’s Christmas so you have to have them!
This is a very rich pudding, full of dried fruit and nuts and alcohol and steamed for several hours in a porcelain bowl. It’s usually prepared several weeks before Christmas and left to mature until Christmas Day, when it is steamed again and served hot. Actually, making it takes up so much time and effort that many people just cheat by buying one at the supermarket, reheating it in the microwave and pretending it’s homemade! It’s the custom to pour brandy over it and set light to it…as you can imagine, this sometimes doesn’t go exactly to plan, especially when people have had a few Christmas drinks!
This is made by combining butter with sugar and brandy to create a solid, thick sauce. It can be served with the Christmas Pudding, although some families prefer to have something less rich, such as custard sauce or ice cream.
Throughout the Christmas period there’s no escaping from Mince Pies – they’re everywhere! Although the name suggests meat, they are in fact tiny sweet pastries with a rich filling of sugar, dried fruit and nuts and dusted on top with sugar.
Well, whatever you’re planning to eat at Christmas time, we wish you bon appétit and the compliments of the season!