Christmas time is a wonderful time of the year. As the days shorten we pull back to rest from the year’s labours and their fruits. It is a time of taking stock, both metaphysically and literally. Traditionally we come together to enjoy the stored harvests and celebrate with lights, food, drinks and gratitude to share with one another to get through the dark days and the sleeping earth at the height of the winter before spring, growth and more sunlight returns. All things have their season and purpose and Christmas is a season within a season that helps us be joyful and mindful as the year closes.
The Christmas food and the menus that will be planned, prepared and shared during it are of course a central joy. Most people think about the main ingredients -turkeys, hams, wild smoked salmons and the accompanying vegetables and if you are vegetarian there are of course all sorts of alternatives such as wild mushroom risottos or artichoke bakes with potatoes Dauphinoise. But we say be mindful about the little things that will elevate the dishes. The sauces and detailed touches that not only heighten the flavours and pleasure but crucially will temper the excess by looking after your digestive health. Pickled foods and alkalising juices such as lemon and lime will add healthy, internal zing and bling. So here a few we recommend.
With meat. Meat can be very acidic forming and with all that alcohol consumption too we say listen to your gut and team that baked ham with some delicious sauerkraut made with juniper berries. This condiment either as a side plate or part of the filling for those rite of passage sandwiches made with leftovers will give your digestion a boost with serious probiotic benefits and high in fibre too. The perfect counter balance to cold or cold meats.
With Fish. Is there anything more of a luxurious, seasonal treat than wild smoked salmon? Wild smoked salmon with organic, best quality, plump juicy capers and lemon juice is our answer. These delightful immature flower buds have an inimitable umami taste with an trace of jasminey floral finish.
One of the most prized ingredients of the Mediterranean basin, they also have many health benefits. Very low calorie with compounds rutin and quercetin both of these are powerhouses in blood vessel and pressure problems and have anti bacterial, anti carcinogenic, anti inflammatory and analgesic qualities. They also pack a punch with phyto nutrients and vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, K and some B’s
Talking of lemon juice. Obviously fresh is best, but between drinks, cake mixes, icing, squeezing over smoked or fresh fish and peeled whole conference pears for the cheese board, it is worthwhile having some absolutely pure, organic, lemon and lime juice bottled and to hand. These can be handy to have on standby or use instead if you are someone who buys fruit and then lets it go off!! (tut, tut) This way you always have fresh juice on hand. Nothign to do but pour it. This is also perfect in sparkling or still water as an alkalising, hydrating aid especially if you tend to indulge in with the wines and champagnes at this time of the year. Or indeed at any time of the year. Either of these added to jugs of water are brilliant hangover preventatives as well as dressings and ingredients.
Vegan mayonnaise. Mayonniase as a dressing or ingredient needs no introduction except to say that for vegans or vegetarians heading that way they will want an egg free mayonnaise. We would like to suggest Yakso will replace the traditional one beautifully. Look out for other similar products that are now readily available especially if you are making dishes form scratch and are looking for vegan alternatives such as almond milk or rice milk instead of dairy or milled or whole golden linseed that make perfect substitute for eggs in recipes.
OF course everyone has their favourite combinations but some have purpose such as the above combinations. We encourage you to think about healthy giving benefits of side dishes and condiments at this time of the year. Get your kitchen and cupboard stocked and prepared right and you can indulge healthily and tastefully. If you need any suggestions, just ask we’re always willing to help. Have a tasty, healthy, happy Christmas.