Wild sides for Christmas – One of our favourite myths to bust is that there is no wild food to be found in the countryside during the winter months, and we are here to prove to you that this just isn’t the case!
There is no better excuse to showcase the bounty of the land than a traditional Christmas feast, wild style!
We asked Anna for her favourite foraged sides to accompany the Christmas Main Events, here’s what she came up with….
“I am much fonder of an array of flavours and textures on the table than having one big heavy dish to satisfy all, and so this question is perfect for me!
I’ll start with a classic, because what better place to start than honey roasted parsnips! I would parcel these up in tin foil with a big knob of butter, lots of fresh thyme, salt, pepper, a generous drizzle of Raw Wild Flower Honey and a splash of white wine, then pop the package at the bottom of the oven and forget about them. After an initial 30 mins or so tender, sweet root veg will be yours when you want them.
I would then get some serious colour going on with a slow cooker red cabbage: coarsely shred, dampen with a little cider or apple juice and pop into the slow cooker with some salted butter, loads of freshly ground black pepper and a big tablespoon of Crab Apple Jelly. Divine!
Anyone who knows me knows my rule about something green in every meal, and Christmas day is no exception! Sprouts are the obvious choice here, but they don’t have to be wet sulphurous spheres of endurance, try slicing them up and frying them in butter and a splash of Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar to offset the intense savouriness. It sounds odd but trust me the dark fruity tartness is a match made in heaven for any cruciferous greens.
Do roast potatoes even count as a side when they are obviously the best bit of the whole meal?? Using Wild Cornwall Rosemary Oil for roast potatoes is my ultimate Christmas hack; it makes them crisp up like a dream and adds such a subtle earthy flavour that even potato puritans couldn’t accuse you of messing with a classic.
Finally what roast dinner would be complete without a proper gravy? I’m not a fan of the big and dark, crashing-through-your-tastebuds style of gravy favoured by my husband who always approaches these things with a heavy handed approach to the marmite jar; I favour a more subtle, fragrant gravy which enhances rather than overpowers the flavours of the main meal.
Much like stock-making I don’t tend to follow a gravy recipe but the process starts with sautéing up bunches of three cornered leeks (or sweet onions if they don’t grow near you), handfuls of carefully identified wild mushrooms (horse mushrooms and winter chanterelles are prolific around WC HQ but use what nature provides in your area) and lots of fresh thyme in a great big knob of butter. When the kitchen starts to smell like heaven stir through a spoonful flour, cook out for a few minutes and then douse the lot in champagne and leave to mellow for hours at a time. Season with pepper and plenty of Wild Garlic Sea Salt then when you need it, pop in the blender and you will have the most delicate, aromatic gravy money cant buy”.