Author Topic: Help With and English Christmas  (Read 3101 times)

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Clara Bow

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Help With and English Christmas
« on: December 09, 2006, 06:43:24 PM »
I have been threatening for years to do a traditional English Christmas dinner (my love of all thing British has a lot to do with this) and I'd like some suggestions from our British posters as to what the staples are. I don't know if I'll do it this year, as my dad (the person who will most appreciate it) will not be here, but I'd still like some ideas....I can always sneak a thing or two in.
Thanks in advance!
I have finally found the bar I can't get thrown out of....

Fluffy_Brit_Bunny

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Re: Help With and English Christmas
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2006, 03:55:19 AM »
Partial List (more people will be along)! I have no idea what's traditional where where you are, so I'll list everything I can think of!  ;D

Consider buying Delia Smith's Christmas Cookbook (on UK Amazon here which has lots of traditional British recipes. If you prefer you could subscribe to her website here, which gives you lots of the same recipes.

As general food, a good large fruitcake and a chocolate yule log are always baked in our house (clicky for history of a yule log, and here for a photo). Mince pies are also very popular - see here for a good recipe).

Turkey, roast potatoes, sausages (possibly cooked wrapped in bacon with a cocktail stick stuck through to hold it in place). Yorkshire puddings, sprouts (which should be prepared carefully - clicky. Of course there should be other vegetables - we have carrots, cabbage, etc, wholegrain mustard, gravy, etc.

Crackers on the table to pull after the starters are also popular - http://www.oldenglishcrackers.com/make-your-own-crackers.htm . You can buy cracker kits if it's hard to get 'cracker bangs' where you are!

The best bit is dessert which is usually Christmas Pudding with Brandy Butter. It's traditional to douse it in flammable alcohol (cooking brandy) and then touch a match to it so it's surrounded by light flames when brought in. It doesn't burn the pudding but be careful.

That's all I can think of right now, I'm off to finish my sewing. Have fun!
« Last Edit: December 10, 2006, 03:58:56 AM by Fluffy_Brit_Bunny »

Bethalize

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Re: Help With and English Christmas
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2006, 06:25:50 AM »
I have been threatening for years to do a traditional English Christmas dinner (my love of all thing British has a lot to do with this) and I'd like some suggestions from our British posters as to what the staples are.
Thanks in advance!

Everyone has a different idea of their tradition, so here's MY view.

I like turkey. Goose was traditional in olden days but turkey is modern-traditional and much nicer. Stuffing, sage and onion or sausagemeat. Little sausages wrapped in bacon and cooked in the oven . Roast potatoes, roast parsnips. Brussel sprouts, carrots. Peas for my dad because he likes them (he also has a joint of beef as well). Gravy. Bread sauce. Cranberry sauce. Followed by Christmas pudding (douse with brandy and set alight) with custard (Bird's) or brandy butter (I prefer double cream myself!). Christmas cake is for tea time - if you have any room. Gammon for Christmas eve. Nuts in dishes - hazels and walnuts and almonds but we'll take brazils and pecans now we're a global village!. Apples and oranges. Mulled wine for carol barkers. Holly wreath on the door and a Christmas tree inside. Chocolate log for tea as well!

veryfluffy

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Re: Help With and English Christmas
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2006, 06:32:48 AM »
The traditional family Christmas dinners I have been to in England normally included the following:
Roast turkey (often quite dry and tasteless, sliced and placed on a platter so that it's almost room temperature by the time you eat)
chipolatas (small pork sausages, often wrapped in bacon. I believe this is a way of having more meat for a large number of people, because turkeys here seem to be much smaller than in America)
roast potatoes
stuffing (usually made from a packet, and usually made as little balls of stuffing cooked separately in a roasting dish. This is because the health authorities in the past advised that roasting the turkey with the stuffing in it would result in everything being undercooked and dangerous)
gravy (out of a packet)
bread sauce (I don't know what this is because it has the appearance, smell and consistency of wallpaper paste and I have never been able to bring myself to try it)
brussels sprouts (overcooked)
Dessert is christmas pudding with custard or brandy butter, and mince pies (everything bought in the supermarket, rather than home-made).

I'm sure there are people who do a much nicer effort than that, but what I have described is what the "typical" dinner will be like for families here at Christmas. This is exactly what was served to me on numerous occasions when I was invited for Christmas dinners.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2006, 06:37:34 AM by veryfluffy »
   

Fluffy_Brit_Bunny

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Re: Help With and English Christmas
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2006, 07:00:06 AM »
Quote
This is exactly what was served to me on numerous occasions when I was invited for Christmas dinners.

Oh darn. Sorry my fellow Brits haven't fed you properly  :-\ If you're ever in London or in the South East around Christmas time, send me a pm and I'll send you some real mince pies or have you over. My mum always starts making mince pies, Christmas cake, and other accompaniments about two months before Christmas day so we always have a pretty good feast.

However this description of bread sauce:

Quote
Bread sauce  (I don't know what this is because it has the appearance, smell and consistency of wallpaper paste and I have never been able to bring myself to try it)

Is completely accurate even if it's perfectly cooked! It's got all the flavour of chewy paper to me, and I can't stand it.

Bethalize

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Re: Help With and English Christmas
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2006, 07:36:45 AM »
turkeys here seem to be much smaller than in America)
gravy (out of a packet)
Dessert is christmas pudding with custard or brandy butter, and mince pies (everything bought in the supermarket, rather than home-made).

Nononononono! Gravy must be the fat from the meat you cook, flour and the vegetable water. Christmas pudding must be made on stir up Sunday and pastry must be made from scratch with lard.

veryfluffy

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Re: Help With and English Christmas
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2006, 09:44:53 AM »
If you're ever in London or in the South East around Christmas time, send me a pm and I'll send you some real mince pies or have you over.

Very sweet of you! But to be honest, I absolutely loathe mince pies, christmas pudding or christmas cake -- anything with dried fruits in it! My DH adores them, though, even the storebought ones. And he's a great cook, so these days my Christmas dinner is wonderful. My only quibble is that the only stuffing he will eat is Paxo sage and onion, done in a roasting dish...I miss my mother's proper homemade in-the-turkey bread stuffing.
   

shadowfox79

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Re: Help With and English Christmas
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2006, 04:30:13 PM »
My family are obviously not that traditional, because I've never had a turkey for Christmas in my life. (My FMIL served up a turkey crown the one year we had it at her house, but I've never had a turkey.) Veryfluffy's description probably suited my FMIL's dinner, although I would never tell her that  ;)

We usually have either a capon or duck (goose has been had in the past), fully stuffed (never had a problem with cooking a stuffed bird), roast potatoes, mash, bacon-wrapped sausages, sausage meat, and at least two other vegetables. These used to be things like sprouts (which I hate) and leeks, but now tend to be peas and carrots as DF is a finicky eater. My father used to do bread sauce but he was the only one who ate it.

This is followed by Christmas pudding - a proper one, none of this pre-sliced gunk or ones filled with cherry syrup - possibly served with brandy butter depending on whose kitchen we're doing it in.

Starters can vary between prawn cocktail, crabsticks, melon or parma ham with blue cheese. The latter tends to be chosen these days as DF doesn't "do" fruit or seafood.

Mince pies or trifle (not done with custard, I might add) and Christmas cake tend to be saved until Boxing Day, after the main dish which is generally beef, either roasted or served in a cottage pie. My mum does a killer cottage pie and DF can't handle rare beef, so it's safer to do it that way.

Stormtreader

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Re: Help With and English Christmas
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2006, 07:09:38 AM »
The traditional food on boxing day is turkey sandwiches, isnt it?
Followed by a week of turkey curry, turkey stew, turkey pie....;)

Telmereth

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Re: Help With and English Christmas
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2006, 05:04:30 AM »
My family don't have roast turkey...my mum does the best roast beef dinner I've ever tasted! It consists of: roast beef, yorkshire puddings (not exactly traditional but we like them!), roast potatoes and parsnips, mashed swede, sprouts, carrots and gravy made from the juices in the pan! That has made my mouth water just thinking about it!
I can't stand mincepies or christmas pud either! But my month-old, brandy fed christmas cake is looking yummy right now! I have to ice it on wednesday!