That list, in full:
1. The Lancashire Bomb
This cheese is mad. A 1kg grenade of super mature Lancashire cheese. Really tangy and crumbly. PLUS the added adventure of figuring out how to get into it – it’s wrapped in hessian and thick black wax. Answer: set your dad on it with a Swiss army knife.
2. The Carved Angel Christmas Puddings
The bestest Christmas pudding ever is the White Chocolate & Cranberry Christmas pudding by The Carved Angel, and it has held this position for several years now, so this year we thought we’d try a couple more from their range. The Apple Strudel Christmas pudding is a warmly spiced number much lighter than your average Christmas pud, and the Chocolate & Ginger one is sublime – dark, intense and a little bit wicked. Their puds can be bought online from their website. I don’t think I’ve seen them in shops before, but hopefully that will change in the future because these really are lush.
3. Cranberry & Orange Side of Salmon
Our Christmas eve dinner was a highlight of the procession of food consumed over the festive holiday and, although the hard work was on M&S’ part, it wouldn’t be hard to make from scratch. A full side of salmon anointed in a dressing of dried cranberries, orange zest & juice and lashings of fresh dill. Plenty of zing from the orange and a grassy freshness from the dill. The dried cranberries added not a great deal of flavour but made the whole thing look very festive indeed. Held up well for a couple of days to enjoy with cold cuts for supper Boxing Day evening.
4. Enough White Russians to drink like The Dude
I remember my first White Russian experience. It was at the long-gone Bacchus cocktail bar in the South Laines, it was very late at night, and I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would want to drink a mixture of milk and vodka. I thought this night was going to end very badly indeed but it was love at first sip and I had a moment of great clarity: turn a nighttime sleepy drink into a nightcap! The beauty is that a White Russian doesn’t taste as lethal as your average cocktail. The danger is that a White Russian is just as lethal as your average cocktail and worse-so that it’s easy to sink a few late in the evening and forget what you’re knocking back. I’ve even taken it with cookies. This sounds bad. In case you’re unfamiliar with this delicious drink, here’s what goes into it:
- 1 part Kahlua
- 1 part vodka
- 2 parts whole milk
Pour the above over some ice in a tumbler. Mix. Resist knocking back like a milkshake. Fail.
5. Imported Maui Beers and Maui Splash Pineapple Wine
We visited Maui on honeymoon earlier this year and spent a not-inconsiderable amount of time sampling the beers from some of the great breweries found on Maui. I managed to find somewhere that would import some Maui beers when we got back and ordered a mixed case from the very helpful people at The Bottle Shop in Canterbury as a Crimbo pressie for my husband. The coconut porter is treacle-heavy with the coconut coming through as a hidden background flavour to find. Mana Wheat was one of my favourites on the island and, whilst I don’t normally enjoy blonde beers, the wheatiness is more rounded than your average with a honeyed sweetness.
During our time on Maui we also visited a winery where a sweet white wine is made using the local Maui ‘Gold’ Pineapple and flavoured with passionfruit – or lilikoi as it’s locally known. We brought a bottle home and sank it with some pudding on Boxing Day evening. Maybe next year I’ll try and import some actual Maui Gold Pineapples, not sure they will fit in the stockings though.