Monthly Archives: November 2014

Preparing for the festive season? Here some ideas…

I went to Borough Market last Friday morning, looking for some early Xmas spirit and I found: a bowlful of meaty Cep mushrooms, my 3-bird Christmas roast to order and some juicy medjool dates to stuff with marzipan, amongst other delights…

Where to get your Christmas shopping

Here is where to get your Christmas shopping…

My Christmas lunch menu is taking shape and the 3-bird roast from Borough Market will be its central piece. I wanted a traditional 3-bird roast but as there are only 5 of us and the goose version serves at least 8, I have settled for a more modest  version: So it is turkey breast and sausage meat with cranberries, inside a pheasant, inside a duck! The classic 3-bird roast is a pheasant inside a duck inside a goose, all boned and stuffed…

For starters, we will have a celery and stilton soup, then the roast with duck fat roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, followed by a lemon posset with shortbread and a little of the traditional Christmas pudding – my husband insists! May be a glass of Port with it, although the pudding will be flambéd in rum.

I love using Christmas markets to furnish my table at this time of year and we plan to visit Winchester lovely English Christmas market and maybe even go for  a day to Birmingham German inspired market, one of the biggest in Europe.

In London, there are plenty to choose from and one of my favourites is already up in front of the Tate Modern and along South Bank. Visit at dusk for a really atmospheric experience.

Borough Market

Borough Market

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The countdown to Christmas starts on Monday the 1st with a suitable Advent calendar and then from the 4th, the decorations can go up. I will start with a Christmas wreath on the door and this time I will delay buying my Christmas tree until mid December, having learnt my lesson last year: I chose a majestic Nordman Fir tree but having bought it far too early, it was dry as fire wood by Christmas night…

Choose a beautiful wreath to hang on your door on the 1st!

Choose a beautiful wreath to hang on your door on the 1st!

Tartine of fresh figs and fresh cheese – plus fig jam!

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Another one of my “tartines”

A few weeks ago, I had a windfall of fresh figs from a friend and neighbour and here I post one of my favourite “tartines”!

Ingredients list:

  • Slice of bread
  • Fresh goat cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Two fresh figs
  • Cracked pepper, optional

Take a slice of Poilâne bread – or any other sourdough or artisan bread with substance- , spread a nice fresh goat cheese over, slice a juicy fig on top, then decorate with chopped basil and Pedro Jimenez reduction or a thick balsamic vinegar. Perfect lunch!

My neighbour grows her figs in central London in her front garden and I enlisted the help of my son on half-term break to go and get a small boxful! They were green but nicely ripe and I decided to do a jam with the rest of it.

Adding vanilla and cinnamon into it, I cooked a truly delicious jam and managed to fill two pots of London fig jam – a very special thing indeed!

Collected in Hammersmith!

Collected in Hammersmith!

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Recipe for the fig jam:

Ingredients list:

  • Figs, 2 kg
  • Jam sugar (with pectine), 1 kg
  • Cinnamon sticks 2
  • Vanilla bean, one scraped
  • Lemon juice of one lemon

Halve the fruit or quarter them and put all the ingredients in a jam pan.

Get to boiling point, rolling for 3 minutes, then reserve until the next day, covered with a grease proof paper so the jam does not develop a skin.

Next day: Get to boiling point again and keep on a rolling boil for 5 minutes.

Put in sterilised jars straight away and screw the tops then turn each jar upside down so the air inside is sterilised through the hot jam.

Enjoy with bread, cheese or just as a spooned sweet.

This is surely a little bit late for figs in most parts of Europe but I am so thrilled I still managed to gather those in my neighbourhood that I can’t resist posting it.

Here is my son, grabbing some earlier!

The gathering

The gathering

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