While the usual British Christmas dinner of roast turkey and all the trimmings is a well loved tradition, more and more families are looking for some alternative options for their festive feast. Greater culinary knowledge can be attributed in part to the many TV chefs who inspire us these days, while worldwide travel and the availability of international produce in our supermarkets has given us a taste for the exotic.
If turkey fails to whet your appetite, why not take a new approach to seasonal cooking, and surprise your friends and family with one of the following treats.
Many of the images that we associate with Christmas today were popularised during the Victorian era – the Christmas tree, Father Christmas and Dickens “A Christmas Carol” all emerged during this period. The Christmas meal was as much of a highlight of the celebrations as it is today, and the upper classes would often revel in the grandeur of a roast goose as the centre-piece of their meal.
Serving roast goose is a great way to gently introduce your family to something other than turkey for Christmas dinner and can be ordered from any good butchers, just like a turkey can. Roast goose has a rich, succulent flavour, and the fat which drips off the bird during cooking makes the most perfect roast potatoes that you’ll ever eat!
Whole Poached Salmon
If you have a fishmonger, or supermarket with a fresh fish counter, in your area, you have the perfect opportunity to surprise your Christmas dinner guests with the luxury of a whole, poached salmon. If the closest you have ever been to cooking with fish is opening a can of tuna, a whole salmon may be an unnerving prospect. However, the poaching method is (almost) foolproof, and you can ask for the fish to be prepared for cooking when you purchase it. Poached salmon is also an excellent choice for those of you who prefer not to be chained to a hot stove on Christmas day, as it is normally served chilled, so can be prepared ahead on Christmas Eve.
Suckling pig is a popular Christmas dish in Latin America and Europe, where whole piglets are sold in supermarkets in the lead up to 25th December. If you want to try suckling pig for yourself, you’ll need to order a suckling pig from your butcher a few weeks before the big day – and you may want to get him or her to cut it in half for you, especially if you have a small oven! Suckling pig is a good choice for family gatherings where formality is no concern – because it really is best eaten with the fingers. If you are going to do suckling pig, do it right – place the cooked meat on a large central platter, provide finger bowls and serviettes, then let every one dig in!