There’s always been a rule about Christmas in my family, that we don’t talk about ‘the day’ until my Birthday has passed on 11th November. This year I’ve made an exception to the rule for two reasons. Firstly because I decided to book a holiday for the festive period, meaning I’ll be doing yoga, eating exotic food and languishing on an Indian beach in 30ºC heat on Christmas Day this year and I couldn’t keep that quiet. Secondly, because I’ve just had an inspiring Christmas cooking session with Katherine Frelon at Borough Market’s Demo Kitchen, leaving me desperate to make some edible Christmas treats to leave for friends and family to enjoy on the 25th.
Katherine’s philosophy about cooking the big meal has a mighty food-based hook, her position is that it’s completely possible to only spend 60 minutes in the kitchen on Christmas day. With the right preparation, a single hour is all it takes to turn out a luxuriant lunch to your nearest and dearest, and she wants to show you how to do it with the help of Borough Market’s Demo Kitchen.
The Bounty of Borough Market
Borough Market invited a few other bloggers and I to see what Katherine had to say, and we found ourselves in a grotto-esque kitchen filled with the heady smells of mulling spices and cooking chutney. She ran us through the deceptively simple process of making jewelled chocolate bark, topped with all sorts of precious little treats like ginger, pure liquorice, cashews and cranberries. Next up were her Christmas spiced fruit bombs which are another one of those perfect processes that requires absolutely no adherence to a recipe, you can just make it up as you go along. Lastly was a run through of the delectable Crimson Christmas Chutney, but more of that later. All of these recipes are incredibly easy, the chocolate bark especially looks amazing, allows you to channel your inner Jackson Pollock, took very little time to create and would invoke abundant ‘wow’ factor when uncovered by it’s recipient from a stocking.
“You can’t beat a good chutney.”
Seriously. You can’t. Good cheese, good chutney and good bread makes me incredibly happy inside, so finding a cackling cauldron of crimson Christmas chutney was music to my ears, the spread of perfectly ripened cheeses were manna to my nose and the bread just looked like home. Put all three together and I’d have happily pulled up a chair and be locked away in the demo kitchen for the evening. The awesome thing about chutney is the cooking, you just put it all in the pan and simmer. Done. Then leave it to mature for as long as you wish, because like most good things in life, it gets better with age. You’ll find the recipe for this wondrous chutney below.
December Demo Kitchen
If you want to find out more about mitigating your time at the stove this festive period., Katherine Frelon will be in the Borough Market Demo Kitchen (in the glass market hall) throughout December showing the shortcuts to a bountiful Christmas without being shackled to the kitchen.
Come along to Borough Market on the following dates to see more:
Thursday 1st December – 12.30-2pm – Edible Gifts
Thursday 8th December – 12.30-2pm – It’s all in the planning
Thursday 15th December – 12.30-2pm – The final countdown: 60 minutes in the kitchen on Christmas Day
Credit where it’s due…
The traders at Borough Market were all incredibly generous in supplying the seriously lovely produce that was used for this event. My stomach would like to thank the following for making my evening a very happy one.
Chocolate from Chocolicious
Turkish delight from The Turkish Deli
Pistachios from Oliveology
Liquorish from Sweet Roots
Dried and candied fruit from Borough Nuts
Fruit and veg from Elsey and bent
Spices from Spice Mountain
Cheesecloth and twine from Borough Kitchen
Cider from Cider House
Aged gouda from Borough Cheese
Lord London cheese from Alsop & Walker
Truffle cows cheese from Bianca e Mora
Bread from Olivier’s Bakery
Crimson Christmas Chutney
By Katherine Frelon
Uses a large pan
1.2kg cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
400g soft dates, stoned and chopped
4 clementines, zest and juice
500g soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and grated
30ml ruby red port or cherry brandy
7cm piece cassia bark
0.5 teaspoon smoked paprika
0.5 teaspoon chilli powder
10g flaked sea salt