I brined my turkey this year – a first for me and something I had been keen to try out. A fellow cook and friend also tried it. A quirky spot of prep saw a lot of saline solution being prepared (read ‘my friend Jane hanging around the job for hours trying to dissolve vast quantities of salt in boiling water). The results, a resounding success all round – a beautifully moist bird, crispy skin and what seemed to be a faster cooking time for us both. Fine – I’ll ‘fess up – my turkey was ready for the table before i’d even put my potatoes on to boil.
But now – on to the next, for the warrior chef never sleeps. So what to cook for the next social event in the calendar, New Year’s Eve?
Having just been earning my wellies on a shoot in the countryside I can think of nothing finer than a spot of game. A slow roasted haunch of venison would be ideal here, maybe even braised with some red wine, a spot of juniper, a tiny smidgen of orange peel. On the side, I’m moving away from roasted roots and heading towards a subtle mash – a mixture of celeriac and some potato. For ease, my vegetables will just be kale or spinach, their iron-heavy notes providing a contrast to the gravy and meat.
Pudding – I might pop back to Christmas and do a mince pie ice cream, but more than likely I’ll go for that winter warmer, crumble. Apples are at the peak of their season now so it would be rude not to use them. A home made custard is an absolute necessity; unless, of course, clotted cream is your weapon of choice.
Happy New Cooking Year all!