Recipe by Rachael Sommerville
By first making a spiced, wine syrup, you avoid cooking off all the alcohol in your wine. Because we wouldn't want that, especially at Christmas time! As an added bonus, this will fill your home with the most festive of aromas.
- 80g granulated sugar
- 1 bottle medium to full bodied red wine
- 8 whole cloves
- 4 cardamom pods, bruised with the side of a knife
- 1 cinnamon stick, or a pinch of ground
- Splash of vanilla extract
- 2 star anise
- 2 clementines
- 50ml of kirsch
1. Put the sugar into a large, heavy based pan. Add the spices and just enough wine to cove the sugar. Heat on low until the sugar has dissolved and then boil until the mixture turns into a syrup.
2. Slice the clementines and add to the pan. Pour in the kirsch and the rest of the wine and gently warm through.
3. Garnish with extra slices of clementine and serve!
Cooking Tips by Scott Smith
This year for the Christmas bird, we are championing high-welfare family farm, St Brides in Strathaven. Capon was very popular in the UK about 50 years ago, before the popularity of turkey overtook it on the festive table. This small scale family farm produces proper free range birds reared outside from the age of 6 weeks and allowed to grow at a natural rate.
As the birds are fed a traditional diet of grains and locally grown whole wheat, and reared outside for longer than a standard chicken, they are super succulent and tender. Much juicier than turkey!
For a twist on the traditional, we'll be serving up the roast Capon stuffed with garlic, lemon and thyme and served with our favourite festive veggies.
- Good quality olive or rapeseed oil
- Garlic, lemon, herbs or seasoning of your choice
1. Brine the capon overnight in water with 6% of the water weight in salt.
2. Remove the bird from the brine, and pump air under the skin to separate and lift from the meat. You can use anything to get air under – a small, cheap bike pump is best!
3. Spread a blend of butter and oil under the skin, and fill the cavity with a lemon, some garlic and thyme.
4. Cook gently at a very low temperature 90˚c for cooking for 30 minutes per kg.
5. Remove from the oven and rest for 45 minutes.
6. After resting, place it back into a hot oven (240˚c) for 15 minutes, or until you have a perfectly crispy skin!
Recipe by Rachael Sommerville
Slow Roast Pork Shank
A truly underrated cut! Pork shanks need a bit of time but very minimal attention – slow roasting them results in succulent juicy meat. It's an Oktoberfest classic, and we like to serve it with roast potatoes, pickled cabbage or slaw and apple jelly!
- 2 pork shanks
- Any stock vegetables such as onion, carrot, celery, chopped into quarters or large chunks
- few sprigs rosemary
- 6 large cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- Olive oil
- Maldon salt
1. Preheat oven to 180˚c
2. Heat olive oil in a pan over a medium/high heat, and then add each pork shank to the pan in turn, sealing all sides until lightly browned.
2. Add the chopped vegetables, whole garlic cloves, herbs and a generous sprinkle of salt to an ovenproof pan or roasting tin.
3. Place the pork shanks on top of the vegetables and then add 1-2 cups of water.
4. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for around 4 hours, checking every hour and topping up the water if it dries out.
5. Remove the foil for a final half hour and allow the outside of the meat to crisp up.
6. Discard the vegetables and herbs, allow the meat to rest for a few minutes and then serve.
Tip: Use beer or stock instead of water for a fuller flavour!
Recipe by Ethan Marshall
A savoury sweet sauce made from beautiful autumn fruits. Delicious served with cheese and cold meat platters. It's also exceptionally good served warm alongside venison and other game!
- Remove the stones from the plums
- Add all the ingredients to a pan, and cook over a low heat until they everything is very soft and broken down, and slightly reduced and thick.
- Leave to cool and then purée the mix in a blender until smooth.