It is Christmas time!
Like any respectable person I revert to a child around Christmas time. I love this season, the baking, the cranberry sauce, relaxing with family, the movies and the snow. Well, expect the last one this year as the UK seems to be enjoying spring time in December.
A lot of UK households like to buy as much as they can at Christmas time. Sometimes for ease and sometimes to ‘splash out’ Yesterday I ended up watching an episode of ‘Eat Well for Less‘ and one family spent nearly £1400 at Christmas. I nearly fell of my seat. How??! Over the Christmas period we are having family over for Christmas, Boxing Day and a variety of friends over the rest of the time. I’m probably going to spend 1/10th of that family’s budget.
A lot of my cost reduction comes down to planning and how much I am making from scratch: vegetables, cookies, salads, canapés, cheese boards, pigs in blankets, bread, charcuterie and the sauces. Its cheaper, and frankly tastes a hell of a lot better too. Plus, with so many people having dietary restrictions it is just easier.
None the less, I have now spent time trying to work out the quantities of food we need over the holiday period. How much turkey to order, how many sides etc. There are some aspects of Christmas which are very British (pigs in blankets were a brand new idea to me, and Christmas pudding), but I have taken the opportunity to bring some Nova Scotian ideas over here. Namely, I have a bunch of Nova Scotian wine and chutneys from the summer. Alas, I am still endeavouring to make as much from scratch that I can.
Probably the easiest thing people can make at Christmas is the cranberry sauce. You can make it in advance and there is a noticeable difference between the jarred stuff and the fresh stuff. My thyme and orange cranberry sauce makes use of herbs and sherry to add a lovely flavour to complement the turkey. Plus it is cheap to make, and can be frozen if need be. Plus I’m intending to use the leftovers in some homemade cranberry sauce sausage rolls!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
- 200 g fresh cranberries
- 80 ml of fresh orange juice
- 2 tsp Orange zest
- 80 g of sugar
- Bunch of thyme
- 1 Tbsp Sherry
- Melt the sugar into the juice
- Add the cranberries, zest, sherry and thyme. Bring to a quick boil and then reduce heat to let simmer. The berries will eventually 'pop' releasing their juice.
- After about 10min, take off the heat and cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools.