I've had it: I'm banning turkey. It's just the fact that I hate the stuff. To me, it is ugly enough when it is alive and no amount of bacon and onions stuffed up its backside is going to change my mind when it comes to tasting it either. Nope, this Christmas I'm not helping Bernard Matthews to fill his Christmas stockings; I've found something better, far better. The Yorkshire Pot (pictured below) is a dish made by a rare breed the humble butcher. He uses his expertise to bone out six birds with the skill of a brain surgeon; a quail, a partridge, a pheasant, a duck, a chicken and a goose. And then he puts them inside each other with different stuffings and their livers, finally stitching the goose up as neatly as David Beckham's laces.
Mr Derek Fox of Malton, Yorkshire, is the man I'm buying mine from this year, he will make one of them and post them to your door in time for the Christmas rush. With the Yorkshire Pot I'm doing Brussels sprouts of course, not cooked to death but finished with crispy pancetta and chestnuts, parsnips cooked in sherry butter and sugar as they taste ace, roast spuds in dripping, bread sauce and gravy, real gravy made with a little Bisto, Marmite and vegetable water, none of that jus stuff as my mum calls it, as she's joining us for the feast.
For the starter there will be figs wrapped in Parma ham with a homemade apple and tomato chutney simple, classic and no fuss. Keep the figs whole and wrapped in a slice of ham, then at the last minute pan fry them and then crisp them in the oven for five minutes before serving with the warmed chutney and a hint of spiced chilli to bring out the warmth (see recipe, below). To drink, I'll be serving my favourite red wine ever, the Italian barolo grape and the Chateaux Gaja it is pricey but it's the business. Oh and for pud... well I always feel life's too short to make Christmas pudding so I'm going to buy it from my local deli in Winchester, Cadogan & James. But I will have to make a big treacle steamed pudding as well, served with proper custard although there's always a vodka blancmange with warm raspberries or a croquembouche. Us Yorkshire folk like our puds you know. Best wishes and happy Christmas.
James Martin's Christmas Feasts is on UKTV Food, Monday 10 December at 9pm
Figs wrapped in Parma ham
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
For the chutney
450g brown sugar
570ml malt vinegar
15g root ginger, finely chopped
4 red chillies, finely chopped
2kg ripe tomatoes, chopped
500g apples, peeled and chopped
400g shallots, roughly chopped
1 sprig rosemary
For the figs
24 thin strips Parma ham
12 fresh black figs, halved lengthways
olive oil, for drizzling
1. For the chutney: heat the sugar, sultanas and half of the vinegar into a saucepan over a high heat until reduced down to a thick caramel.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the rosemary, and bring back to the boil. Season. Boil for a couple of minutes then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring from time to time to stop any solids collecting at the bottom. Leave to cool.
3. For the figs: preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.
4. Wrap a strip of Parma ham around each fig half and spread out on a baking tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes.
5. Serve the figs with a spoonful of chutney on the side. Store any left over chutney in a sterilised jar in the fridge.
Vodka and vanilla blancmange with warm raspberries
1 bourbon vanilla pod, split
4 tbsp cornflour
3 pared strips of lemon zest
3 tbsp caster sugar
a splash of vodka, to taste
600g fresh raspberries
1. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the milk along with the pod.
2. Blend the cornflour to a smooth paste with a splash of the milk.
3. Pour the rest of the vanilla milk into a saucepan, add the lemon zest and slowly bring to the boil. Pick out the zest and vanilla pod then mix in the cornflour paste. Cook, stirring continuously, for 3-4 minutes.
4. As the mixture thickens, add the sugar and cook for a further two minutes. Add a little vodka, to taste, and remove from the heat.
5. Pour into either one 750ml mould or four individual moulds and leave to set in the fridge overnight.
6. When you're ready to serve, heat a quarter of the raspberries in a pan (less than a minute), then crush with a fork. Tip in the rest of the berries and heat through to make a chunky sauce.
7. Turn out the blancmange and serve with the warm raspberries on the side.
Make a pyramid of custard-filled, caramel-dipped choux pastry buns. Serves 16 (makes 80-100 buns)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 mins
For the choux buns
200g butter, diced
half a tsp fine salt
1 tsp caster sugar
300g plain flour, sifted
marzipan roses, to garnish
For the filling
180g vanilla caster sugar
120g plain flour
For the nougatine
250g caster sugar
125g flaked almonds
For the caramel
250g caster sugar
1. For the choux buns: preheat oven to 200C/gas 6. Bring water, milk, butter, salt and
sugar to boil in a saucepan, and cook for one minute, stirring with a spatula. Take pan off heat and stir in sifted flour. Beat mixture until very smooth, then put pan back on heat and stir with spatula for one minute be careful not to let the paste dry out too much or the pastry will crack during cooking.
2. Tip the paste into a bowl and beat in eggs, one at a time, using spatula. Stir until paste is very smooth. Use a piping bag to pipe small mounds onto Teflon mats at an angle. Put a little cold water on your finger and push down any points. Bake for four to five minutes, then open oven door slightly (about 1-2cm) and leave ajar. Cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the buns, until light and crisp. Cool on a wire rack.
3. For the filling: beat the eggs, vanilla sugar, flour and a little of the milk in a bowl until smooth. Heat remaining milk in a heavy saucepan, bring almost to the boil, then whisk in.
4. Rinse saucepan and return the mixture to the pan. Stir over gentle heat for 15-20 minutes until mixture has thickened do not boil or it will curdle. Leave to cool, then chill in fridge.
5. For nougatine: heat the sugar in a pan and allow to caramelise. Once sugar has dissolved take off heat and stir in the flaked almonds.
6. Pour mixture onto a lined baking tray and leave to set for a few minutes. While the nougatine is still warm cut it into triangles and mould around rolling pin.
7. Make a small hole in the bottom of each choux bun then pipe in cold filling.
8. For the caramel: heat sugar until it becomes a caramel liquid consistency.
9. Oil a croquembouche mould with a little oil olive. Dip each choux bun into the hot caramel and gradually build up pyramid around mould.
10. Once you are close to the top of the pyramid, carefully remove mould and top with remaining buns.
11. Put nougatine curls around the bottom of pyramid and then arrange small white roses in gaps between buns.
Cook's note: make vanilla sugar out of used vanilla pods. Simply pop the clean pods into jars and fill with caster sugar. Leave for a week before using.Reuse content