The key to have a great christmas is not to skimp on the things that are important. It’s a time of celebration, a time where a man can indulge himself in a whiskey, a few West Acton escorts and a juicy steak after a hard year of work. It’s time when ladies get to spoil themselves with manicures and long baths, with a cheeky little box of sumptuously dark chocolate. At least, it should be. Some people though, choose this time of the year to tighten the purse strings and seek value above all else. There’s nothing wrong with a bargain but that doesn’t mean every man, woman and child should invoke the spirit of Scrooge and become selfish old misers. Of course, some people need to be careful with their money and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, the problem comes when people stop understanding what joy they can bring and start trying to save on anything. Even if money is tight, a good bird is essential, christmas lights, tinsel, baubles for the tree etc aren’t. It’s better to do a few things right, then do everything half-heartedly. Lunch is the central focus of any good christmas. Even if funds haven’t stretched to amazing gifts this year, the meal can bring all the family together in festive cheer and leave everyone feeling sleepy and contented. So it’s worth spending a little bit extra to make sure everything tastes just right. Acton farmers’ market is the perfect place to source great, ethically produce that will set tastebuds a-tingle. Chestnuts are an old favourite, perfect for adding a bit of nutty complexity to any stuffing or served roasted and slice finely on a salad. Rather like Weston Acton escorts, they work particularly well with anything rich as they serve as the perfect companion, accentuating old virtues and helping to bring out new ones. A quality beef wellington can make a great alternative to the traditional turkey, but it needs all the ingredients to be just right. The pastry is key but, as anyone who has watched The Great British Bake Off will attest, making puff is a bit of a nightmare. The easiest solution is to cheat and get some out of a packet from the supermarket. It’s adequate, but its really needs to be homemade for the big meal, which is why buying freshly prepared puff from the farmer’s market is always advisable. If it’s all gone, a friendly baker will often be happy to help whip up a bit if given advanced notice. The pastry is nothing without a good bit of free-range beef though, ideally fillet but some other tender cuts will do. If in doubt, consult the butcher before buying. That’s the basics sorted, but part of the joy of the Wellington lies in the flavours lurk on the periphery, adding little bursts of flavour without dominating the palate. Mushrooms work particularly well with beef, their soft, deep flavours working well with the robustness of the fillet. Parma ham is a debatable addition: on one hand it adds much needed saltiness and firmness to the mixture, but it can all too often seem flavourless by comparison, or threaten to overwhelm if too much is used. Chicken liver pâté is similar but essential: it’s delicate flavours bring out the full impact of the beef, and help to keep the whole dish moist and delicious.
A beef wellington is a great alternative to turkey