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PIMP MY YULETIDE ///

Let's be honest, on paper Christmas 2020 isn’t looking the best. No pubs, very little seasonal spirit, and the government's four day Tier Zero party meaning you can't even shake off your racist gran for the day.

I’m going to make it a little easier by asking some mighty fine chefs to help you out with the main event. This is a Yorkshire pudding free zone because I'm not a heathen. 

Gareth Ward, Ynyshir

Turkey & Gravy

If the King of Meat was a real thing not made up in my head, Gareth's would be the bonce the crown rests upon.

For your turkey he recommends using a tenderiser first, then brining in a 20% saline solution for 12 to 24 hours.

Wash the brine off properly, then spin it upside down and roast the birdy on 100 degrees until the thickest part hits a nice 75C. It will take a while, but it will be worth it. 

Whilst the meat is resting, reduce the juices and add a roux (that's flour and butter to me and you), onion powder, and garlic powder. Sweeten with honey or mirin, and job done, Michelin starred gravy. 

Ynyshir →

Lee Desanges, Baked in Brick

Roasties & Sprouts

We've gone to Brum's best roast dinner slinger for his top tips on the veg. It's red skinned potatoes for him, and controversially he's keeping those skins on for the roasting. 
Chop them to size, par boil (always from cold water) then fluff and dry in the colander. Season well, then into a hot oven in beef fat, going in with the thyme and garlic after 15 minutes to stop them burning. Cook until crisp and golden. 

Sprouts are Lee's favourite, but that's what he tells all the veg. The key, apparently, is to not make them "taste like shit". Technical. Off with the outter leaves, halve them, season and into a hot roasting tray with super hot beef fat. Cook for about ten minutes until al dente, out the oven and in with chives, thyme, and pomegranate seeds. Simples. 

Baked in Brick →

Richard Newman, Fat Snags

Pigs in Blankets

Top porkster Richard suggests skinning Lashford breakfast sausages and rolling the meat into ping pong sized balls.

Wrap each one in individual rashers of bacon, give them a lick of oil and 25 minutes in an oven at 180 and you’ll have juicy balls more golden than David Beckham. Revolutionary. 

Fat Snags →

AND NOW FOR THE WINE ///

We've gone with all round nice guy, Head Sommelier of The Wilderness, and 2018 GQ Sommelier of The Year, Sonal Clare for recommendations. Here are his picks for the festive period to get "the stockings off" (naughty Sonal).

Sparkling

Wiston Estate Rosé 2014, South Downs, West Sussex, England (Available from The Drinks Emporium)

 "One of my favourite sparklers of 2020.  Well made, expressive and a complex bottle of predominantly Pinot Noir fizz.  A nice fleshy red fruit characteristic with a citrus uplift on the finish. Goes great with roast turkey and cranberry sandwiches, or Stilton."

White

Makaraka Sauvignon Blanc 2018/2019, Marlborough, New Zealand (Available from Aldi)

 "An absolute bargain and perhaps one of the best Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs I have tried.  Well balanced with tropical notes, pleasant acidity."

Red

Bodegas Garzon Tannat 2017, Maldonado, Uruguay (Available from Loki Wines)

"A lovely medium bodied red wine from one of the most amazing looking wineries in the world (no I have not been there!! Yet!!!). Well balanced tannins, hints of mint and eucalyptus and lovely floral notes, tobacco and red fruits." 
 

Maison Roche de Bellene Pinot Noir 2013, Chambolle-Musigny, Vielles Vignes, Burgundy, France (Available from Connolly's Wine Merchants)

"An elegant Pinot Noir full of cherries, light spice and smooth tannins.  Earthy notes and a versatile wine. Great with beetroot and other earthy vegetables, or even beef tartare". 

PANDEMIC? WHAT PANDEMIC ???

Opening a restaurant right now is ballsy. Really ballsy.

But that hasn't stopped Digbeth Dining Club favourite Dick's Smokehouse from setting up shop in Bromsgrove. Opening tomorrow, expect street food favourites such as smoked pulled pork buns alongside more ambitious mains such as wood roasted duck leg, pit beans and black cabbage, at a very affordable price point. Menu →

Also launching this weekend is Leaf Lovers, a plant based concept promising junk food favourites with no dairy or meat. Present tier restrictions means it's delivery platforms only, though this will be rolled out to Moseley's iconic Prince of Wales as soon as they are permitted. Rumour is that a small number of boxes with six sample dishes will be available every day for just a few quid. Keep those eyes peeled.  Find them here →

ON THE BLOG///
 

Top Ten Dishes of 2020

A roundup of the best things I've put in my mouth this year.

Keep Reading →

The Proud Sicilian

'A restaurant with very little to be proud about'

Keep Reading →

Each week I'll be sharing an insight into my food and drink highlights. 
Dishoom

Am I allowed to say I miss Dishoom's chilli chicken more than I miss my friends? Oops, I just did. They're delivering stuff now that's perfect for Christmas; spice boxes and cocktails, including this beautiful Old Fashioned that I consumed one very stressful morning. 
Go to the store →
 
Odi + Moo 

Mince pie ice cream? Don't mind if I do. Brandy butter Christmas pudding flavour? All over that one. Despite launching an ice cream brand in winter, during a global pandemic. Odi + Moo have quickly built up quite the reputation. Put simply, it's the best ice cream I've eaten. 
Orders via Instagram →
Hot Chix 

Niki Astley can cook. Fact. So I was not surprised to find out that Hot Chix, his new chicken concept, goes straight towards the top of my fried chicken rankings. The tenders were good, but the Nashville Chicken sando, oh my, I'm still thinking about it. Order two. Regret nothing. 
Find Hot Chix on Instagram →
Staffordshire Distillery

The newbie in the Staffordshire Distillery family is tailor made for these cold nights. Big on the namesake orange and cinnamon flavours, you can guarantee I'll be using this to get me through Mrs Brown's Boys on the 25th.

Website →
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