BBC Good Food Magazine
10 THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH
The Good Food team shares their kitchen to-do list, plus Emma Crawforth from BBC Gardeners World on what to plant
1 MAKE A SHOPPING LIST
ESSENTIAL BUYS FOR NOVEMBER
• Kitchen foil Invest in a larger roll of foil before stock runs out. Ideal for covering your turkey or larger pieces of meat and keeping platters of veg warm before serving.
• Condiments Stock your cupboards with condiments ready for Christmas. It takes the load off if you start buying bit by bit. Mustard, pickled onions, cornichons and cranberry sauce are all favourites.
• A new platter Treat yourself to a new serving platter for the table. Use it on the big day and impress your guests.
• Good candles A good candle or two in the kitchen or on the dining table is essential for festive ambience. Get yourself a big bag of tea lights and some beeswax candles to light on those dark winter evenings.
2 KITCHEN THERAPY
JAMS AND CHUTNEYS
Clean out your old jars and fill them with homemade mincemeat or chutney. As well as being practical (great for gifting to neighbours or teachers at Christmas), making preserves is a fantastic way to enjoy some downtime in the kitchen. Making a chutney, preserve or mincemeat is easier than you may think. Find an array of recipes online at bbcgoodfood.com and try our poached pears recipe on page 95.
3 GO NUTS!
A festive tradition that’s good for you, too – buy nuts in their shells, and don’t forget the nutcracker! Fill up a large bowl with walnuts, brazils and pistachios, then make it a centrepice for the dining or coffee table. You could add clementines or dried fruits like figs and dates. It’s a great way to make your home feel Christmassy, and a more wholesome way of snacking rather than reaching for that box of chocolates.
5 CHRISTMAS MARKET AT HOME
FEAST WITH FRIENDS
Can’t get to the European Christmas markets this year? Why not host a market-inspired get-together in your very own back garden? Fire up the barbecue for sizzling bratwurst or go all-out and invest in a raclette grill. Keep cosy with mugs of mulled wine or hot spiced apple for the kids and warm mince pies. A few fairylights and Christmas tunes set the mood.
4 FOODIE DECORATIONS
MAKE YOUR OWN
Filling the tree with beautiful ornaments is a joy. Over the past few years, there’s been an influx of cute food-inspired ornaments to buy, from turkeys to pizza boxes (see page 13), but making your own adds a special touch to the tree. Just use our salt dough recipe and some Christmassy biscuit cutters. Find the recipe at:
and see page 76 for more decorating ideas.
6 FILL YOUR FREEZER
Keep your freezer stocked with comforting meals for those inbetween days around the festive season – dishes that you can pull out when you have friends and family staying, or that you can quickly feed the kids after a long day of Christmas shopping or nativity rehearsals. Things like ragu, fish pie or dhal fit the bill. Find our freezable recipes, including the sausage ragu below, online at bbcgoodfood.com, plus our beef stifado on page 149.
7 MAKE AN ADVENT CALENDAR
Ditch those shop-bought Advent calendars and try making your own. For children, fill small hessian bags with wrapped sweets or chocolates and hang them on the tree, or thread them onto a line of string ready to open over December. For grown- ups, fill numbered boxes with small bottles of booze or flavoured teas. Check out our guide online on how to make an edible Christmas calendar, visit bbcgoodfood.com/ how-make-edibleadvent-calendar.
8 MAKE A KITCHEN PLAYLIST
There’s nothing like dancing around your kitchen to festive fun tunes while cooking dinner or baking with the children – it gets everyone in the party spirit. Although the classics are great, sometimes it’s fun to change it up a bit. Our recipe developer Liberty shares her favourites to add to your playlist.
1 Cozy by Liz Gillies and Seth Macfarlane
2 That’s Christmas To Me by Pentatonix
3 Christmas in Harlem by Kanye West
4 Home Alone, Too by The Staves
5 Merry Christmas Baby by Hanson
6 Another Year by Finneas
7 A Little Love by Celeste
8 Take Me Home For Christmas by Dan + Shay 9 River by Ron Pope
10 Christmas Wish by She & Him
9 CLEAN THE OVEN
It’s probably everyone’s least favourite kitchen task, but that oven will see a lot of use in December. Give the oven a good deep-clean before you start filling it with the turkey, trays of roast potatoes and mounds of stuffing. Try a good ecological cleaner or use a paste of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
10 IN THE GARDEN
• Pick the last apples and store carefully in a cool, dark shed for a midwinter feast.
• Keep harvesting brassicas such as brussels sprouts, autumn cabbages and kale.
• Harvest parsnips and carrots as needed.
• Bring pots of herbs under cover so you can continue to enjoy them fresh.
• Plant new fruit trees and bushes. Bare-root ones are available now – they are good value and will grow away quickly.
• Clear away all old crops, disposing of any diseased ones rather than using the compost heap.
• Plant rhubarb and keep sowing broad beans and winter lettuces under cover.