Christmas Greetings from Ovenu

We”d like to take this opportunity to wish all Ovenu customers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. The tree”s up and shedding needles at an alarming rate, Cliff Richard and Slade are playing non-stop in every store and the frantic rush for last-minute gifts is looming – it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

In the spirit of the season, we wanted to share some top tips for creating the perfect festive feast and ensure your oven is put to good use throughout Christmas. Of course, it would be remiss of us not to also remind you that it”s not too early to book a valet for 2013 as well – you might well need it after this little lot.

Christmas Dinner

Now everybody has their own interpretation of the perfect Christmas dinner. While there are those that love nothing more than a traditional, plump turkey with all the trimmings, many people are now opting for smaller game birds, including individual partridges and pheasants, as well as joints of beef or a duck. Whatever your choice, don”t hang around when it comes to procuring the meat. It can become something of a titanic supermarket struggle in the days leading up to the main event.

We could attempt to provide you with a comprehensive timing chart for every kind of meat imaginable, but we”d probably still be going at Easter. So it”s important to follow the instructions and recommended timings provided to you by the butcher or on the packaging. If you”ve frozen the turkey, ensure that it is fully defrosted before placing it in the oven; after all, you don”t want your Christmas meal to be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Space can be an issue, which means that your vegetables generally end up cramped in a single tray or surrounding the meat. Anyone with a smaller oven is likely to have to be a little bit creative in terms of what goes where; however, to add a little extra taste, why not cook your veg in goose fat, or add a little honey to create a sweet glazed finish?

Remember, Christmas may be a time for tradition and family fun, but that”s not to say you can”t try a few new things. Why not infuse meat with rosemary or cover with a flavoured salt rub? Give everybody something new, exciting and different. Just make sure you cover all of it up and you have a big enough tray for it, you don”t want it to be spitting and slopping all over your oven.

Christmas Pudding

An acquired taste, it has to be said, but for many, Christmas wouldn”t be Christmas without a decent pud. So whether it”s shop-bought or home-made, alcohol-free or overflowing with brandy for a little added festive cheer. Of course the joy of Christmas is had mostly in the excessive consumption that would ordinarily be frowned upon at any other time of year,

Anyway, there are some great recipes online if you are feeling brave and want to try your hand at creating your own Christmas pudding this year. You might well choose to adjust certain quantities and measures, but that is entirely up to you.

Nigella: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/ultimate-christmas-pudding
Delia:
Hairy Bikers: http://www.hairybikers.com/recipes/christmas-pudding/1225

Mulled Wine

For some, the notion of a warm, spiced wine is nothing short of absurd. However, if you”re looking for a real winter warmer and the spirit of Christmas in a glass, then mulled wine is just the ticket.

In days gone by, you would have had no other choice but to find the various spices, including cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as the various other elements individually. Today, there are various cheats available to make life that little bit easier. From pre-mixed sachets to bundled spice packets, the supermarkets and local retailers are awash with affordable solutions. Indeed, all you may need to do is buy the red wine and an orange to get things started.

Christmas Cocktails

Eggnog isn”t the only cocktail you can serve at a Christmas party this year. Mixologists around the world work hard to get the perfect flavour combinations for all kinds of occasions. Indeed, mixthatdrink.com offer a dozen festive favourites that should really get your party started with a bang.

With all that cooking and entertaining of guests, your kitchen is likely to be a little worn out come the New Year. So if your oven is coughing out a little more smoke than usual, or has developed a turkey-infused scent, don”t forget to book your valet at soon as possible. We”re already taking orders for 2013 and hope to hear from you soon.

If there are any recipes or festive suggestions you”d like to add, please leave a comment below. Maybe you know the perfect yuletide snack or have developed a cocktail so devilish it”ll knock your Christmas stockings off; whatever it is, please share it with us at Ovenu.

Image source Flickr: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3