Market Porter's Christmas Tips

By
Eve O'Sullivan
Added
23 November, 2016

We spoke to the producers who supply Market Porter, an online market stall, for their top tips for Christmas cooking.

Add cheddar rinds to soups or stews

Mary Quicke from Quicke’s cheddar advice is simple but effective: ‘I love using up cheddar rinds to add layers of flavour in a soup or stew of other leftovers.

When it comes to buying cheese, I always tell people to “buy delicious”. That way it won’t languish in the back of the fridge when festive food is in abundance, and you can savour every last bit. Go for a handmade cheese for the biggest impact. Additional flavours arise from hand cheddaring, the “mould garden” that develops on the rind, and the variable moisture loss that happens through the cloth, which you simply don’t get from the vac-packed bag industrial cheese spends its life in.’



Try an easy but interesting cut to feed a crowd

‘I like hand of pork, which comes from the shoulder,’ says Sam Cachia from Lake Haven Farm. ‘It can sit in the oven or aga all day, ready for when we come in from working on the farm. It doesn’t need fancy things done to it, and crucially, it’s large enough to feed my tribe! We take the skin off and cook it separately so that we get fantastic crackling to go with the pulled pork.’

‘If there’s one thing you can change in your festive routine this year, make it looking at what your local independent butcher has to offer - they will be cheaper than you think. They can also advise you on great value cuts if you are on budget, and you can buy only what you need so there should be less waste.’
 

Forgo pudding... in place of chocolate and wine

‘Swap out a pudding for a good chocolate and drink pairing,’ recommends Matt and Ish from Ocelot chocolate. ‘Red wine goes extremely well - we love it with a good Barossa Valley Shiraz or a full bodied Bordeaux. Whisky also goes exceptionally well - low or unpeated single malts are especially good - Old Pulteney, Highland Park. Of course coffee goes very well too, choose a dark roast. And tea, a smoky flavour like lapsang, or oolong are a good compliment. Having a warm mouth is essential for good chocolate eating.’



‘Fairtrade has a higher price point for a reason, so choose quality over quantity. Forget about eating a huge slab of sugary stuff that makes you feel instantly guilty; Savour a few squares of really good dark chocolate after dinner, or with a glass of your favourite wine on a Friday night, and feel good about yourself.

In our family, not many of us are too keen on Christmas Pudding, so instead we make big round pavlova meringue on Christmas Eve. On the big day we cover it with dollops of whipped cream, pile it high with winter fruits and then drizzle it with melted chocolate. It always gets a Wow! when it's carried to the table, and everyone loves it, even the traditionalists.’


Give your charcuterie board a more delicate flavour

Capreolus Fine Foods think that beech-smoked instead of oak-smoked is better at Christmas, giving a more subtle flavour. ‘To me oak-smoked a lot of harsh notes in the taste, perhaps it’s the high levels of tannins in the wood. It’s very easy to over-smoke with oak; in my opinion if you are going to smoke anything then it should enhance the flavour – if smoke dominates the taste then you have done it wrong.Beech is a much softer smoke, almost sweet.’



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