Stuff the turkey

For food blogger Anna Hedworth, aka The Grazer, Christmas is
the season of… surprise… food. Here’s her recipe for a satisfying season

I spend Christmas in a
perpetual state of full, so much so, I forget entirely what it feels like to be
So little time, so much
food –  Eve of Christmas Eve supper,
Christmas Eve lunch, Christmas day lunch, family parties, friends with open
houses, lazy breakfasts, constant canapés … eating, eating and more eating,
with occasional sleeping when meal times allow.
Christmas food is so
much more than turkey, and I am now in the midst of my campaign for a Christmas
Day break with tradition at my mother’s. Perhaps duck, pheasant or ham; all so
much tastier. The idea was met with positivity at first, but seems to have
moved on to, ‘well, we’ll just get a little bit of turkey’…
Duck is my choice and I
already have two plucked and ready in the freezer – best served stuffed with
sausage meat, chestnuts, orange and herbs with a dollop of creamy bread sauce on
the side. I might just turn up with one ready cooked!
I always invite people
for Twixmas – lunch for friends and family between Christmas and New Year which
has extended to 40 in the past. A feast of assorted terrines, pies, hams and
pickles, this is my favourite festive feast and everything can be made in
advance, which allows my stress levels to remain somewhere near normal.
Slow-poached pheasant
meat is layered with sausage meat full of herbs, toasted nuts, garlic and juniper
berries and packed into a bacon lined tin to cook, to make an amazing terrine.
A slice of this with some rich fruity chutney on a snowy day is what I look
forward to weeks in advance.
I plan to make some
potted meats this year, including duck slow-cooked in ale and duck fat with
thyme and garlic, shredded and packed into little pots with some of the fat. It
keeps for months and is soft and tender and delicious.

Spiced apple pickle is
already sitting in little jars in my larder ready to be given as gifts and to
hungry guests. It is sweet and tangy, full of ginger, cinnamon, raisins and
apples, and will be delicious with a thick slice of soft, rich ham slowly
braised in full fat Coke for a few hours before being baked in the oven covered
in mustard and brown sugar to form a crunchy sweet crust.
An amazing little canapé
to have up your sleeve is a take on the more traditional smoked salmon on brown
bread, which I also can’t get enough of at Christmas. Simply take plain salmon
fillets, cover in sugar, salt and pepper overnight, then rinse off the next day
and spread with horseradish, chopped dill, parsley and coriander. Chill until
needed then slice thinly onto brown bread. You can keep a fillet ready
marinated in the fridge and just slice pieces up as and when people knock on
the door.
I don’t know if there is
enough cooking time or enough eating time, but I will try my best. Ideas are
now forming around fig and almond tarts, homemade pork pies, candied
clementines, chestnut and chocolate puddings, stem ginger cocktails and sour
cherry Florentines, so I should probably start now. I’m getting full just
thinking about it…
Read more of Anna’s culinary adventures at



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