It is well and truly Christmas time by the river as Borough Market's lights are switched on, the tinsel is up and the shopping hours are longer... what a dream! A couple of week's ago I popped along to an evening of all things festive (after a mega day at the bakery) and met Katherine Frelon, the self-confessed 'scatty chef' to see what she was up to for Christmas. The smells that joined us as we entered the cookshop were of the most seasonal kind and we were handed a deliciously hot mug of mulled cider to welcome us in. What better way to greet guests than to hand them a yummy mug of warmth?!
Warm pans bubbling away on the stove and a stunning table decoration really set the scene for our evening. We started with a demo in edible gifts- personally my favourite kind. With all sorts of little plates of deliciousness adorning the table we couldn't wait to get stuck in and soon were adding them to our lovely marbled chocolate slabs that we'd so carefully smushed together... I say smush as mine was a one handed effort, in order to capture everything going on! My favourite addition was the Turkish delight from the wonderful Turkish Deli downstairs in the market. The pistachios from Oliveology were some of the greenest I've ever seen and looked so beautiful with everything else on the marbled chocolate, I'm definitely going to be giving this a go for my own gifts! I reckon I'd probably temper the chocolate and do little puddles instead however as the bar was yummy but I think would be prettier as little pieces in a bag rather than a chunky one - I still enjoyed eating it one sitting a few evenings later however...
This year I've been doing loads of late nights book editing or recipe writing and to keep me going in the evenings I've been trying all sorts of different decaf drinks to get me through. Katherine had the perfect solution with her little bags of joy! Packed full of anything we liked, added to apple or cranberry juice and warmed through, or indeed any spirit of choice, they make the perfect winter warmer. I chose cranberries, cinnamon and orange for mine and have used them each about 4 or 5 times in apple juice to great success! I've dried them thoroughly on the radiator between uses though to make sure they haven't started to go off.
Our last little treat was a run through of Katherine's making process of her delicious Christmas Chutney. I'll be making a batch this week so keep an eye out for the recipe! We paired it with some insanely good cheeses. The aged gouda was from Borough Cheeses, the Lord London cheese (rumoured to have been served at the Wills & Kate wedding breakfast!) was from Alsop & Walker and Bianca e Mora provided the Truffle Cows cheese - all of which we piled high on bread and smothered in the chutney. It was the perfect blend of sweet and spiced and would make any cheeseboard sing!
Katherine's Big Plan for Christmas is that you can spend only 60 minutes in the kitchen on Christmas Day! She'll be testing this theory by showing you how in her demo's at the Borough Market Demo Kitchen on Thursdays between 12.30 and 14.00. Pop along to see her do her thing each Thursday in December, finishing with a total run through on the 15th! If you're a planner like me, this sounds like the ultimate dream so come down and see me scribbling away on the front row - also perfect distance for tasting anything Katherine creates on the days!