Karen Wright: Preparations to ensure a hassle free lunch

Way back at the beginning of September I spent a weekend working at the Harrogate Showground cooking on the demo stage at the Great Holiday Home Show.
First Christmas meal of the year.First Christmas meal of the year.
First Christmas meal of the year.

Imagine my surprise when I received an invitation to join some of the others who were on the bill that weekend to enjoy a slap-up Christmas dinner at Fodder in Harrogate.

There were twelve of us at the table including, amongst others, the well-known Yorkshire chef Steph Moon; The Yorkshire Vet, Peter Wright; and TV presenter Christine Talbot. The table was set in the farm shop cum café Fodder at the entrance to the showground. The table looked awesome with crisp white tablecloth, sparkling glassware and cutlery and Christmas crackers for everyone.

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We started with sparkling wine and canapés before taking our seats and tucking into the Christmas meal which included the French chef carving the turkey at our table. We also had a massive Yorkshire pudding, which I don’t normally make at Christmas, and vegetables galore including roast potatoes, mashed root vegetables, parsnips in honey and wholegrain mustard and spiced red cabbage. We had flambéed Christmas pudding and a chocolate bomb for pudding and then we were presented with the biggest cheeseboard I have ever seen. Everything we were served was sourced locally and the wine was good old Yorkshire wine too, it was delicious! Believe it or not this amazing meal will be served during the lead up to Christmas in the café at Fodder. I really do recommend it, it was sumptuous!

That meal spurred me on to cook and freeze some of the components for my Christmas day dinner. So far, I have frozen my roast potatoes and parsnips - I will pop them into a red-hot oven and cook them from frozen on the day. I have also frozen some root vegetable mash, made with sweet potato, regular potato, carrot, swede and parsnip, and my red cabbage which I spiced with cinnamon and ginger. I’ve also already done my gravy which I made from roasting chicken wings with carrot and celery, but I’ll add the turkey juices to it on the big day.

I love to cook at Christmas but not at the expense of spending time in the lounge relaxing with my family. Hopefully all this preparation will ensure we all have a scrumptious lunch but without all the fuss that can often be involved when conjuring up such a big feast.