Frosty about frozen? Let it go

Top chef on how freez­ers can be ev­ery cook’s lit­tle helper this Christ­mas

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS - By Tracey Bryce [email protected]

Frozen food is hot­ter than ever with more and more of us reach­ing into their freezer on Christ­mas Day.

From bud­get to high-end, the freezer aisles of our stores are groan­ing with fes­tive food op­tions, from seafood and stuff­ing to parsnips, pigs in blan­kets and party food. Frozen food has be­come big busi­ness over the last decade, with the mar­ket set to top £10 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Bri­tish Frozen Food Fed­er­a­tion.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive John Hy­man said: “More and more peo­ple are head­ing to the frozen food aisles where they know they can get restau­rant-qual­ity prod­ucts to en­joy at home.

“Frozen makes it eas­ier to ac­cess con­ve­nient and nu­tri­tious food.”

But are they any good? Can frozen re­ally beat fresh?

We asked chef Jacque­line O’don­nell, who starred on the Great Bri­tish Menu and owns The Sis­ters restau­rant in Glas­gow, to put some key frozen op­tions to the test and see if a frozen fes­tive feast can re­sult in a Christ­mas cracker.

Jacque­line said: “At this time of year, the cook on the Christ­mas day duty is start­ing to plan and pre­pare and it can be­come over­whelm­ing.

“Frozen Christ­mas din­ner is pos­si­bly not some­thing lots of peo­ple think about, but it’s a very prac­ti­cal op­tion.

“Not only will it save you a last minute-dash at the su­per­mar­ket in Christ­mas week when they’re like some­thing out of Ar­maged­don, but it can ac­tu­ally be fresher, cheaper, more prac­ti­cal and eco­nom­i­cal than cook­ing from fresh.

“Prepa­ra­tion of all of the vegeta­bles is al­ready done, not to men­tion the elim­i­na­tion of waste that hap­pens when buy­ing fresh and fran­ti­cally hav­ing to look at dates to check in su­per­mar­kets if the sprouts will last.

“I’ll be the Christ­mas chef again this year…the fam­ily feel quite in­tim­i­dated as I’m the pro­fes­sional – but the deal is I cook with a sherry in hand, the kids serve and the grannies wash up!

“Af­ter this test, I’ll cer­tainly con­sider some frozen in­gre­di­ents to make it a bit less stress­ful – and so I can have a sec­ond sherry!”

Add a side salad and some Marie Rose sauce to make a de­li­cious prawn cock­tail or

some chilli gar­lic but­ter for a firey starter.

Sea­son with salt, white pep­per, but­ter and a squeeze of half a lime or maybe a wee slice of black pud­ding topped with scal­lops and chive creme fraiche.

A wee driz­zle of honey and black pep­per on parsnips just adds even more great flavour.

Some chopped up crispy ba­con and a spoon­ful of chopped sage tossed through the green

jew­els at the last minute is ge­nius.

Add real cho­co­late and glit­ter for the wow fac­tor.

Dessert should al­ways be a show­stop­per.

Prawns Scal­lops Parsnips Sprouts Desserts

Dis­ney’s Frozen movie is an in­spi­ra­tion for cooks

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