A Christmas Challenge

After the ethnic eating experiment and the raw vegan challenges, it seemed only right to celebrate my virtual move to the infinitely more snazzy wordpress by opening the floor once more to your cruelest and most venomous of gastronomic gauntlets. This time, however, I’m not the only one who might suffer. That would be far too self-sacrificing. No, Christmas is, after all, a season for family time, and so I’ve decided to inflict my next experiment on all of them too.

I say ‘inflict’; but I trust you, readers, to deliver. Because this challenge is all about trust. I want you to send me your favourite Christmas recipes, and the winners (hopefully the most bizarre ones) will be fed to my parents, siblings, cousins and, of course, my amateur food critic of a grandmother, on Christmas Day. It’s a risky venture. There are things that will most definitely be expected – Grandpa will expect sprouts cooked to buggery, the cousins curried leeks, Grannie mince pies and brandy butter. These must be consumed and held down by 3pm, when the family sit down for the Queen’s speech, which is watched with subtitles as my grandfather bellows at the TV for not being loud enough, his renegade hearing aids squealing like a broken kettle as he tries to turn them up.

It’s time for a change. Last year the attempt at change was somewhat more extreme – dinner was suggested instead of lunch, and there was mutiny afoot in the octogenarian camp. So, Grannie, if you’re reading – I promise we will eat at 1.30pm, as always, and you can most certainly bring your famous mince pies and Christmas pudding, but other than that I’m leaving our lunch in the capable hands of the readers. I bet they’re a damn sight better than Gordon Ramsay.

So come on people – help to christen this new site by firing me your favourite Christmas recipes; Mum is on board, and between us we’ll do as many of them as we can, and film Grannie’s reaction. Send me an email or write recipes in the comment box.

Meanwhile, I want to know your favourite veggie accompaniments – vote in the poll below (mine, for the record, is my maternal grandmother’s creamed corn – recipe to come).


24 Comments

Filed under Ramblings

24 responses to “A Christmas Challenge

  1. Curried leeks?! That’s a new one on me.

    Last year I slipped a piece of cheddar under the lid of a mince pie before it went in the oven – it was great. Otherwise, we always make gravadlax.

    • Cheese and mince pies too epic – love stilton in there.

      Curried leeks have sparked quite a debate, this is how you do ’em (Fiona, these have been the most popular veg at Christmas lunch for the last few years – I promise you’ll like them):

      Halve horizontally and slice the leeks across. Melt some butter in a saute pan and add the leeks, double cream, curry powder, salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly and place over a low-medium heat with a lid on its head. Leave for 5-10 minutes (might want to give them a nudge every now and then).

      I recommend giving them a go.

  2. Recently saw a recipe for sprouts sautéed with black pudding. Enough tradition to satisfy the octogenarians, but also with a twist? I shall certainly be trying it.

    • Sounds good. Love black pudding. Thanks TSG. And yes, you should most certainly be dropping F. Beckett a line. She’s a great mentor and guide in the food writing gig. Even if she doesn’t like curried leeks.

  3. Will send you my mulled Christmas crumble which I think is pretty well Granny-proof.

    Like the snowflakes. Hate the thought of curried leeks 😦

    Who is The Student Gourmet and why isn’t he/she contributing to http://www.beyondbakedbeans.com (It’s not you still pretending to be a student is it?)

    • Ooh that sounds yummy, Nan will be thrilled.

      Disappointed that you hate a ‘thought’ – I thought ‘don’t knock it till you’ve tried it’ would be a tenet of student cookery. Come to Shoreditch and I’ll make them for you.

  4. Liking the new look but what’s all this snow floating around, was worried that I had cataracts for a second there.

    Good luck for Christmas Day, I know Grannie is hard to please.

    (voted red cabbage btw)

    • Mmm…good call Food Urchin. I like red cabbage with cider, cinnamon, all spice, cloves (not too many) and cardamom and braised very slowly. Port is good too (both in the cabbage and in my belly).

  5. No, we are two separate people, I’m just another student trying to cook my way out of all those student food clichés! 🙂 Had completely forgotten about about contributing to http://www.beyondbakedbeans.com though, thanks for the reminder!

  6. nibbles

    I’m partial to chestnuts . Could you do something inventive with them?

    And how about some Lambswool? Not the fluffy stuff but the spicy warm drink of medieval times.

    (Finding the snowflakes rather soothing.)

  7. Hmm, not sure how I feel about chestnut soup, might be a bit too sweet? I imagine it would be marvellous with crispy chorizo though…

  8. plain english

    What about some sort of partridge/pear combo? Would go gamily well with the red cabbage. Please don’t curry your leeks though.

    • I tell you I’ve had just about enough of the curried leek doubters. They’re legendary in Yorkshire, and as everybody knows Yorkshire is the nucleus of gastronomic good taste and elegance.

  9. Pingback: Mulled cider « The Larder Lout

  10. nibbles

    Gee-whiz, just seen on your vegetable poll above that red cabbage is closing in on roast potatoes!

  11. How about hot chocolate to start the day, made with cream and chillies?

    http://coffeetea.about.com/od/chocolaterecipes/r/aztecchoc.htm

  12. Or plum jalousie – http://divinepatisserie.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=2701?

    It’s sort of like a wellington for spiced plums which would fit the day…

  13. Pingback: Christmas Poached Pears « The Larder Lout

  14. chopsticks

    After watching the videos of your ethnic-food challenge, I was wondering whether you could include an ethnic twist to one of the Christmas veggie dishes? Would this prove too avant-garde for Grannie?

  15. Chopsticks

    Chinese style red cabbage maybe? Sweet and sour might work but I don’t feel I can be too prescriptive at this late stage.Good luck!

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