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The Caterer

Flavours of December

08 December 2010
Flavours of December

Madalene Bonvini-Hamel, who runs the British Larder pub and restaurant in Bromeswell, Suffolk, looks at December's prime ingredients

December is the month for celebrating and eating well. Luxurious foods such as venison, truffles and goose feature on most festive menus. The smell of roasting chestnuts and Vacherin Mont d'Or and the sound of popping Champagne corks adds to the festive spirit. It's also the perfect season for imported exotic fruits such as pomegranates, medjool dates, papayas and mangoes.

The turkey and goose supplies are starting to flow. Fresh cranberries are plentiful for that all-important home-made cranberry sauce.


Cranberries

Cranberries
Cranberries

Cranberries are from evergreen shrubs, and are traditionally harvested by flooding the plains with water and collecting the ripe fruits when they float to the surface.


Chestnuts


Chestnuts
Chestnuts

Sweet chestnuts are used in a large variety of sweet and savoury dishes and are available in plenty of different formats, including sweetened or unsweetened purées, vacuum-packed, fresh, dried, ground and frozen. Compared with other nuts, chestnuts contain a higher amount of starch and water and less fat and protein. This means they can be dried and turned into flour.

Iron Bark Pumpkin

Pumpkin
Pumpkin

This is a winter squash. It is large with a silver iron-coloured smooth skin and a bright orange flesh, which is dense and meaty.


Celeriac

Celeriac
Celeriac

Celeriac is derived from wild celery, and is grown as a root vegetable rather than for its stem and leaves. With its knobbly exterior and smooth silky white interior, celeriac has a distinctive, nutty celery taste and an unexpected low starch content.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts

Love them or loathe them, the token sprout is a must on every festive plate. Brussels sprouts are from the Brassicaceae family and are a cultivar of wild cabbage.


DECEMBER'S seasonal delights

Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chicory, clams, clementines, cod, coley, cranberries, duck, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, haddock, hake, halibut, hazelnuts, Jerusalem artichokes, John Dory, langoustines, leeks, lemon sole, mackerel, monkfish, mussels, oysters, parsnips, plaice, pomegranates, quince, red cabbage, salsify, satsumas, scallops, sea bass, sea bream, sea kale, skate, squid, swede, tangerines, turbot, turkey

Wild foods for December Chestnuts, grouse (until 10 December), hare, mallard, nettles, partridge, pheasant, sea beet, sea purslane, teal, venison, walnuts, wigeon, wild rabbit, wood pigeon, woodcock


RECIPES

http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2010/12/08/336190/iron-bark-pumpkin-and-chestnut-soup-by-madalene-bonvini-hamel.htm" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">
Iron Bark Pumpkin and Chestnut Soup >>

Roasted Goose with Celeriac Cream, Goose and Cranberry Faggots >>

Bitter Chocolate and Chestnut Truffle Cake >>

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