Christmas, Food & Drink, Foodie News, News

New Festive Flavour Combinations and Cooking Hacks to Try This Christmas

Luxury wine and food hamper retailer Virginia Hayward collaborated with chefs, cooking experts, and restaurateurs, to discuss how to take your classic Christmas dinner items to the next level, weird and wonderful flavour combinations that people can try in their Christmas dinner cooking this year, and how to accommodate different food diets, intolerances, and allergies.

When it came to festive flavour combinations, the suggestions included the following pairings:

  • Turkey – Cranberry, quince, herbs (such as parsley, sage, rosemary)
  • Brussels sprouts (salty) – Bacon, goat and sheep’s cheeses (pecorino, parmesan, or Berkswell)
  • Brussels sprouts (sweet)- Caramelised onions, nuts (such as chestnuts), fresh pomegranate seeds
  • Parsnips – Honey, nutmeg
  • Carrots – Ginger, cinnamon
  • Cauliflower – Nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, coriander seeds, hazelnuts

Sal Dhalla, The Food Witch, suggests adding spices – “spices have to be one of the most Christmassy aromas out there. Nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger tend to be the ones most widely used. They each offer a different aroma and a lovely combination of sweetness and smokiness that is so connected to the season. Whilst we may associate them with Christmas baking, in the parts of the world that they are produced they’re used more widely in savoury cooking, and that’s a great way to jazz up your Christmas veggies”.

For those running out of conventional oven space – or simply looking for a unique cooking method for your turkey – Jo McDonald from Traeger suggests that trying to cook with a wood pellet grill, smoker, or barbeque instead… “When ready to cook, set temperature to 160C and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes. Put the roasting pan with the turkey directly on the grill grate. Roast the turkey for 3 hours. Insert the probe from the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, but not touching bone. Cook until internal temperature reaches 75C. The turkey should also be beautifully browned with crisp skin. If the temperature is less than that, or if your turkey is not browned to your liking, let it roast for another 30 minutes, then check the temperature again. Repeat until the turkey is fully cooked. When the turkey is done, carefully transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not tent it with aluminium foil or the skin will lose its crispness. Carve the turkey and serve”.

Chantelle Nicholson, restaurateur and chef at Tredwells, added that “there are many great recipes available now that support most dietary requirements – be it plant-based, gluten-free and other allergies. Vegetables really can be the star of the show, you just need to put the same effort into them as you do with their meat counterparts. If you have to cater for a few different dietaries, then the simplest way is to go with something that can work for everyone. For example, plant-based food is dairy free too”.

Alex Walker, Marketing Manager at Virginia Hayward, commented:

“As a nation obsessed with Christmas, the festive season is a time for jolliness – spending quality time with the family and eating great food – with many particularly excited for their annual Christmas dinner feast. Whether you opt for traditional turkey dinner or something a bit more unique, foodies across the nation can’t wait to indulge in their favourite festive flavours this December, so we’ve collated our favourite festive flavour combinations and other cooking hacks for people to try this year.

“For perfect roast potatoes, the experts advise that you should steam (or parboil and fluff up) your potatoes the night before, and then leave them uncovered in the fridge overnight to chill. If they’re cooled, fluffy on the outside and dry when they go into the hot fat, you will achieve maximum crispiness. Also, whether you love it or hate it, glazing roast potatoes with Marmite can help create perfect crispy potatoes”.

For more information on the experts, flavour combination suggestions, and cooking hacks, visit: https://www.virginiahayward.com/hamperblog/festive-flavour-combinations-try-christmas/

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