Countdown to Christmas 4 Weeks to go
My goodness this year has raced by, only a minute ago, we were celebrating New Years, swiftly came Easter and before you know it, once we hit September, you know the year is almost at its end. At least we can look forward to Christmas.
Christmas means so much to so many people, First and foremost, it’s the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christmas, also a festive opportunity to exchange gifts and to spend the day with loved ones, and eat drink and be merry.
I still remember my childhood Christmases, Going to see Father Christmas, getting presents, parties, fireworks and Carol services at church. My Grandpa told me that Father Christmas has to swap from a sleigh to a helicopter, since I was smart enough to mention to him that a sleigh would not work in Lagos, as there is no snow.
But now I look forward to a very relaxed day, enjoying the company of family, buying gifts for others and watching their amazement and appreciation, and most of all helping cook the Christmas dinner.
My family have always had a very traditional Christmas meal; my aunt actually makes a drawing of the plate, to help her remember what combination of food should be on the plate.
Imagine the largest plate you can, that’s because on it we serve:
Roast turkey, roast beef, Honey glazed gammon, slow roasted lamb, streaky bacon wrapped chipolatas roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts (my least favourite, until I discovered an excellent recipe) sausage rolls, serves with bread sauce, gravy and that’s just the main course
For desserts we have mince pies, Christmas fruit cake, chocolate Yule log, and Christmas pudding, served with brandy sauce, brandy butter, rum sauce ice cream. And if that’s not enough (never is as its Christmas) a variety of cheeses with biscuits.
The key to a good Christmas lunch is to prepare in advice, remembering that most of the food is cooked in an oven, so do be aware.
Today I am going to concentrate on the perfect way of cooking veg.

Orange flavoured Carrots
·         Julienne your carrots, that is to peeled and cut it into “French fries” shape
·         Simmer  in a orange juice for a lovely orange flavour till cooked (still with a bite to it)

Honey glazed Parsnips
·         Peel the parsnips and cut into quarters, season with salt pepper and olive oil
·         Roast in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for  15-20 mins till brown
·         Drizzle with honey while hot

Sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon bits
·         Cut sprouts into halves and boil for 5 mins in salted boiling water and drain
·         Sauté a diced onion in a pan with olive oil, add diced pieces of bacon or an alternative sweet flavour use mixed raisins, and a splash of wine  to deglaze the pan,
·         Add a knob of butter and add the Brussels sprouts, a splash of water and cover the pan to steam the sprouts
·         Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, toss and serve

Roast potatoes
·         Peel and cut large pieces into 4s, and small ones into 2s
·         In a pan of cold salted water, bring the potatoes to the boil (drain the water once it starts to boil
·         Pre-heat the oven to 220 – 250 degrees centigrade, in a roasting pan, use either vegetable oil, olive oil, goose or duck fat (the oil must be very very hot)
·         Toss the potatoes with salt pepper and some dried herbs
·         Be careful of the hot oil as you add the potatoes, make sure its basted
·         Roast for 20 mins till golden brown
Till next time
Have a splendid Day

Chef MJ