Talking Turkey

Not literally. Well, not yet. But thoughts are, inevitably, turning towards Christmas and what to serve. It's a quiet domestic one ahead for us, which is how we like it. If we go visiting, you get a huge meal in a 90 minute window and then have to nap throughout the afternoon, in between bouts of indigestion. If we stay at home, it's a nice breakfast - Eggs Benedict for me, caviar for her - and a bottle of something bubbly (I'm thinking Pol Roger this year). Then the presents (although the caviar, priced at ludicrous/kg is the main one) and a few phone calls to family and friends. And then around 1ish, we'll think of a starter. This year, we're aiming for Leek & Potato Soup as we still have a few potatoes in store and lots of leeks on the plot, and a homegrown appetiser seems fitting.

That will be followed, around 4ish, by the turkey. This year we've gone for the whole bird, for the first time, on the assumption that we can then get a decent curry and lots of cold meat out of the remains. We need the latter as, in another first, we're also at home for Boxing Day so are currently collecting pickles and chutneys like they're going out of fashion. Alongside the turkey, we'll be doing sprouts (much maligned, but we love 'em, particularly with bacon and chestnuts), some homemade stuffing (sweated onion, celery, a few blitzed breadcrumbs, hopefully some Giggly Pig sausagemeat, some clementine zest and anything else that looks / feels right or needs using up), roast spuds - probably with some roast carrots and 'snips - maybe a little swede and carrot mash, possibly some fondant potatoes, some Boston chipolatas wrapped in Tamworth bacon (assuming the final Borough shop on Monday goes well)... Hey, it's not a day for moderation.

For afters - usually around 7pm - we still have a chunk of Matthew Walker's Christmas pudding or we might save that for Boxing Day and skip ahead to the cheese. I hit Neal's Yard on Thursday and picked up some cheese for the weekend, so we should be left with a few bits of Innes Log, Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire, Colston Bassett Stilton, Duckett's Caerphilly (tasting AMAZING at the moment) as well as a large lump of Comte from the other stand. That should also be a good finish tomorrow to a (very large) slow roast shoulder of lamb... Oh, and we have a selection of Paul A Young's excellent chocolates as well.

Otherwise, it's been a good foodie week. A raclette from Bill Oglethorpe's stand at Borough, fish and chips and mushy peas - and a cuppa - with my dad at the Golden Hind, and yesterday, thanks to my mate Luke, a surprisingly good Thai lunch. For a fiver. In an Irish pub in East Finchley... Yeah. Who knew, eh? When Luke recommends Thai food, it's worth listening as, having lived in Thailand for 18 months, he knows his stuff. Maddens does a starter and main course for a measly £4.95. Golden parcels were excellent: crisp, yielding, delicately flavoured but the stand-out was the Drunken Noodles. According to Luke, they're so named as the rich sauce, fat noodles and big spice kick is the perfect hangover cure. In other words, I could really do with a plate now because Maddens also do a good pint of Guinness.

Mind you, a late night rarebit has helped stave off most of the morning after problems. The subject of rarebit came up during yesterday's sesh so when I got the munchies, it was the only thing that would satisfy. So, butter in a saucepan, and a little flour to make a roux. Into that goes lots of cheese: I trimmed the crumbly side off the Kitkham's and threw that in, together with some odd lumps of Mull of Kintyre that had been lurking in the fridge for a while. As that melts through, add a bottle of beer. In the absence of a hearty real ale, I figured the malty edge of the St Mungo would be good. And it was. As it simmered down to a decent, delicious sludge, I threw in a knackered tomato or two, a diced red onion, some ham waving goodbye to its useby date, and then smeared it over a thick slice of the tin loaf I made last week at Bertinet. Two minutes under a hot grill and you have the best post-pub nibbles imaginable.


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