I quite like cauliflower cheese and I have been enjoying eating this dish from Marks and Spencer’s with some recent Sunday lunches.
It’s described as cauliflower in a cheddar cheese and truffle sauce, topped with acheese, mushroom and chive ciabatta crumb.
There is plenty of caulifower and just the right amount of sauce. I liked the addition of the truffle and though I did think it needed more topping this was a personal preference, and I did enjoy the topping which browned nicely in the oven..
I blog about what we eat for Christmas lunch, mainly to remember things that worked well and for those that didn’t, not to repeat that mistake.
We now have a tradition of having our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. We’ve done this for ten years now. We do this for a few reasons. On Christmas Day itself, the children are often too excited to sit down for a long meal, so don’t eat or enjoy the meal or the occasion. It also usually means I spend a fair few hours in the kitchen, which means I miss them opening and playing with their presents. I also find it quite demanding to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, whilst creating a wonderful dining experience.
Having the meal on Christmas Eve means that we can both spend a bit more time preparing the meal (less stressful in itself) and enjoy eating the meal (as do the children). As a result for them it helps pass the time on one of the more exciting days of the year as they anticipate the arrival of a sleigh full of presents being pulled by eight tiny reindeer!
As to what we eat on Christmas day itself, well we have lots of lovely leftovers, cheeses, pickles, hot bread, etc…. quick and easy to prepare and delicious.
I had originally planned to cook three roasts for our Christmas lunch. With limited space in the oven and thinking we might have too much food, in the end I decided to cook only the two three bird roasts and leave the beef joint for Boxing Day, which was an excellent piece of beef and I will blog about at later date.
The main roast was a turkey stuffed with chicken and duck, along with a pork, plum and sloe gin stuffing.
This was an excellent roast full of flavour.
We also had a three game roast, which was a pheasant, stuffed with partridge , pigeon and a pork, apple, calvados stuffing.
We were less impressed with this roast, it lacked flavour.
I usually document what we had for our Christmas dinner in December, in the main so that I can recall what we had and when, what we liked and what we wouldn’t get again.
Our plan was to go with the Three Bird Roast from Tesco, however when we went to order it, they had sold out. So our second choice was the Three Bird Roast from Marks and Spencer. This was a combination of turkey stuffed with chicken, duck and a pork, plum and sloe gin stuffing,
It looked a little smaller than we expected, so I quickly picked up a Two Bird Roast from the shelves. This was some duck stuffed with guinea fowl, and a pork, pheasant, bacon and apple stuffing.
Different roasting times meant that I had to plan the cooking quite carefully. Along with the vegetables and all the trimmings
I have found that with these multiple bird roasts (as they are quite solid and son’t have bones) they can be easily over-cooked so care has to be taken.
The Three Bird Roast was very nice and tasty. There wasn’t a huge amount of duck (or chicken) in there, but yes it was a tasty festive roast.
The Two Bird Roast was smaller, but just as tender and tasty. You could certainly taste the duck and guinea fowl in there.
Overall we were pleased with the meal and it was enjoyed by all, probably enjoyed too much, as there wasn’t many leftovers for meals later in the festive period. So next year we may go for something larger.
So what food, drink and coffee blog posts were people reading this year? Interestingly none about coffee?
At number ten is an article entitled, Alba Ristorante Part Two. Back in 2008 when attending Handheld Learning, one evening we went to a local Italian next to the Barbican in London. I do remember the meal, it was delicious. This was a really nice upmarket Italian restaurant but with quite reasonable prices, especially for London.
The most popular post this year was Sirloin for Beef Wellington? This was a response to the high ranking of another post about using sirloin steak in a Beef Wellington rather than fillet steak due to the way people were (at the time) searching Google.
Well here’s raising a cup of coffee and wishing you all the best for 2016.
Over the last few years we have had our main Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve.
There are many reasons for this, the main is that we have found it makes the meal so much more enjoyable. The children enjoy it more, it feels that Christmas lasts longer.
Last year we went with the four bird roast from Sainsburys, which I really enjoyed, it was easy to cook, looked great and was quite tasty. The Sainsbury’s version of the four bird roast is a goose stuffed with turkey, duck and guinea fowl. I will say that this is basically a stuffed goose; it’s 62% goose, 9% turkey and there is 8% duck and 8% guinea fowl. I really enjoyed the roast, it was what I wanted, though I would like to have more of the other meats alongside the goose.
We had the four bird roast from Marks and Spencers in 2009, it was basically a stuffed turkey, the chicken, duck and goose only comprise 17%, but with 66% turkey it’s way too much turkey and at £120 is a little expensive for what is a stuffed turkey.
Though we enjoyed the roast, I did find that it contained a bit too much turkey, which is fine if you enjoy turkey, but as a result I do think at £120 it is a little expensive for what is basically a stuffed turkey. It isn’t a “proper” four bird roast, as in a turkey stuffed with a goose, stuffed with a duck and then a chicken. No, it’s a turkey stuffed with portions of the other birds.
According to my blog in 2010 we had a three bird roast, which to be honest I don’t remember.
So what are we doing this year? Well the plan is still to eat the main meal on Christmas Eve, but what will be the centrepiece? Haven’t yet made a decision.
Without looking where do you think it costs more to buy a single croissant, Tesco or Marks and Spencers?
You know that by asking that very question that the answer has to be Marks and Spencers don’t you.
The other morning I was on my way into work when I stopped off to buy some skimmed milk for my coffee at work. I popped into the local Tesco Express (or are they called Tesco Metro) and picked up a two pint bottle. I looked at the date, it looked familiar and realised that the date was that day’s date. A quick check across the shelf, and all the other bottles had the same short date on them. So leaving the milk I decided to go somewhere else, I had been considering buying a croissant at 80 pence but thought not as I was in a bit of a hurry.
I walked down to Marks and Spencers to get my milk and was pleasantly surprised to see that their loose croissants were only 69 pence. They also looked a lot nicer and fresher than the ones from Tesco.
I was surprised as I wasn’t expecting Marks and Spencers to be cheaper, but was pleased that they were. Oh and before you ask the milk was the same price.
Not sure if I would get it again, there was too much turkey in comparison to the other meats stuffed in there, but still very nice to have a mix of meats. Stuffings were nice as well.
When you look at the ingredients you get an idea why I thought that.
Turkey (66%) • Pork, Brandied Apricot & Cranberry Stuffing (8%) • Goose Breast (7%) • Chicken Breast (5%) • Smoked Streaky Bacon (5%) • Duck Breast (5%) • Poultry Stock • Water • Orange Slice • Dried Apricots • Rosemary • Salt • Ground Black Pepper.
It’s basically a stuffed turkey, the chicken, duck and goose only comprise 17%, but with 66% turkey it’s way too much turkey and at £120 is a little expensive for what is a stuffed turkey.
So what am I doing this year then?
Well, another four bird roast, but this time from Sainsburys. I did consider going to my local butcher, but their’s were too similar to Marks and Spencer’s, basically a stuffed turkey!
The Sainsbury’s version is different in that it is a goose stuffed with turkey, duck and guinea fowl. I will say that this is basically a stuffed goose; it’s 62% goose, 9% turkey and there is 8% duck and 8% guinea fowl. However as I have been meaning to have goose for a few years now, for me this is an ideal choice. It’s only 3.7kg, smaller than the 4.5Kg of the M&S version. It was also a lot cheaper at £80. I thought this was good value for money when you consider how more expensive goose is than turkey.
I am looking forward to cooking and eating it. As is now traditional in our house we will be cooking and eating our main festive meal on Christmas Eve.
Yup this was one of those packs from Marks and Spencer The Cook Menu range. I have enjoyed many dishes from Marks and Spencer’s The Cook Menu range however this one was a bit of a disappointment.
The fillets of sea bass came with a garden pea, créme fraîche, mint and lemon zest topping. To be honest it didn’t work for me. It didn’t look very appetising and the flavour of the fish was overpowered by the mint and the lemon.