Whether your family celebrates Christmas over a nut roast, a beef wellington or the traditional turkey or goose, you are sure to have sampled at least a few of the dishes that the Christmas season has to offer. The food served at Christmas is a crucial part of the tradition, and many dishes such as pigs in blankets and mince pies are hugely popular around the world. From the yearly Marks and Spencer advert to the hundreds of Christmas cookbooks that are sold each year, this is the season where our food, and by extension fine dining experiences, are at the heart of how we experience the season. Here at One Warwick Park we are committed to serving the most delicious Christmas menu possible.
With so many Christmas recipes available, here are a select few of the most popular that are essential for you to try at least once this festive season.
While mince pies are currently a sweet treat created using pastry and mincemeat – a sweet mixture of dried fruit, brandy, apple and sugar – they were originally savoury, with meat fillings combined with spices to make the mince pie taste more seasonal. The transition from meat to the sweeter treat we eat at Christmas today likely came in the Victorian era, when dried fruit and sugar became widely available for use even in poorer households.
Devils on Horseback
These unique little treats are a Christmas favourite, consisting of prunes wrapped in streaky bacon, often served on cocktail sticks. The name may be derived from the dish of oysters wrapped in bacon, nicknamed angels on horseback. While the dish originally gained prominence in the heydays of Victorian Britain, there are many who believe that it may originally have been a French dish.
The sweet taste of the prunes together with the salty bacon is a culinary match made in heaven, and they will certainly go down a storm at any Christmas party you host.
There is a wide variety of biscuits made for the Christmas season, but gingerbread biscuits are by far the most popular and the oldest. The recipe for gingerbread has stayed fairly uniform since the Middle Ages, and the taste created then would probably have been quite similar to the biscuits we know and love today. Often decorated with icing, and used to create gingerbread houses and decorations for your tree, gingerbread has a wide variety of uses.
The burning of the Yule log is a tradition that dates back to the Norse winter festival. The Yule log would be an entire tree that was lit and burned bit by bit. It was crucial that the tree brought in was initially lit with a chunk of the previous year’s Yule log. While no one is entirely sure how the Yule log was turned into a cake, we can all agree that the chocolate rolled cake that we eat at Christmas is dangerously delicious.
The cake is made by creating a thin sponge cake that is then slathered in cream and rolled to create the shape of a log. Many will then use icing and marzipan to create a topping that mirrors wood bark, so that the cake looks like a real log.
The beef wellington is an incredible dish that graces the table of many throughout the winter season. A beef wellington most often consists of a large piece of roasting beef, covered in a mushroom stuffing and then finally wrapped in puff pastry. There are many different interpretations of the famous dish, with different recipes creating new and interesting innovations of the classic.
While the name of this dish is certainly odd, it is generally accepted that it was originally French and was renamed in the UK after the war between France and Britain which culminated in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
The traditional Christmas centrepiece, turkeys large enough for the whole family are often ordered months in advance of Christmas Day. Some enterprising farms give you the opportunity to pick up your turkey from the farm where they lived, bringing local flavour to our plates. But turkey wasn’t always the key ingredient for a Christmas lunch; wild boar, goose and even swan were served on British tables for centuries until in the 1500’s turkey became popular as a central dish.
Pigs in Blankets
Miniature sausages wrapped in streaky bacon, pigs in blankets are an iconic Christmas food that is often snacked on throughout the winter season. These cocktail bites are delicious, and while they have only been around since the 50’s in their current incarnation, they bear similarities to Devils on Horseback, which could be how they were first created.
A surviving example of the Medieval sauces which were often thickened with bread, this is a classic addition to the Christmas dinner table. Made with milk, butter or cream and breadcrumbs, there are many ways to add a little flavour to bread sauce, and onion, cloves and bay leaves are often added when the bread sauce is cooking to give it more flavour. Bread sauce is served with fowl such as duck or goose, and is a family favourite of many.
Christmas pudding, or ‘figgy pudding’, is a centuries-old part of Christmas dinner, with many different traditions associated with it. The pudding itself is a steamed cake made with suet, brandy and many different nuts and dried fruits as well as plums or figs to create the taste we know and love today. The pudding is often set on fire just before serving, to burn away the alcohol soaked into it. Another popular tradition is that of silver coins baked into the pudding, which are said to bring good luck for the coming new year to whoever receives the tokens.
If you are interested in sampling the Christmas cuisine that we serve at One Warwick Park Hotel, then please contact us here. You can learn more of what we can offer in terms of festive treats by looking through our “What’s On” page.