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Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables

Festive favourites for the Christmas table

Warners Budgens Taste Club
Chestnuts

Chestnuts

A festive favourite, chestnuts can be used in all manner of seasonal cooking, from turkey stuffings and nut roasts to sticky brownies and Yule logs. Most chestnuts are bought vacuum-packed or puréed although whole chestnuts are available in season. Chestnut flour, which is gluten free, can be used in baking to give cakes a sweet and strong flavour.

Try this: use cooked chestnuts as the filling for vegetarian tartlets – simply roll out shop-bought puff pastry, then add a mixture of fried leeks, mushrooms, chestnuts with fresh sage and rosemary. Season well.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

It’s about time we embraced the Brussels sprout, a truly seasonal home-grown winter veg, that’s both delicious and full of healthy vitamins and minerals. Memories of being made to suffer boiled sprouts at Christmas are long past – today we enjoy Brussels sprouts in a much more modern manner; sautéed with bacon and chestnut, roasted with double cream and nutmeg, pan-fried Asian style with sesame and soya sauce. Once you try these new recipes you’ll be eating them more than just once a year!

Try this: for a sensational Christmas side dish, boil sprouts for three minutes. Fry off an onion and garlic then add the cooked sprouts, chopped. Add butter, cream, a sprinkling of nutmeg and vacuum-packed chestnuts and cook through.

Red Cabbage

Red Cabbage

Another festive must-have, red cabbage is a real crowd-pleaser thanks to a winning combination of jewel-like colour, melt in the mouth texture and sweetly spiced flavour. It’s a great one to prepare in advance as this gives the flavours time to work their magic – you can even freeze it if you’re feeling really organised! Everyone has their own twist on red cabbage but you can’t go far wrong with the basic recipe below.

Try this: for a classic red cabbage dish simmer chopped onion, red cabbage, apple, soft brown sugar and red wine vinegar until soft. Taste and add more sugar if necessary and season with cinnamon, juniper or cloves.

Satsumas

Satsumas

At this time of year you’re likely to find these seedless orange fruits in the bottom of Christmas stockings or popping up as a table decoration. Juicy and refreshing, they are easy to peel and a favourite for children’s lunchboxes. They also work well in cooking – try adding the juice to sweeten your cranberry sauce, use the zest and juice in a moist polenta cake, and add segments to a warming mulled wine.

Try this: caramelised satsumas make lovely decorations for the festive table – heat a large frying pan and add 100ml orange juice and 100g sugar. Reduce until syrupy. Peel and cut the satsumas in half horizontally then place them in the syrup. Cook gently on both sides until softened.

** for another great way to use these seasonal ingredients, check out this month’s Chef’s Table recipe from No 32 Broadway! **

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