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The Christmas countdown has well and truly begun, and many of this month’s seasonal ingredients are reflected in our festive feasting. Read on for our pick of December’s top produce and recipe inspiration
They may divide the dinner table, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without Brussels sprouts, and nowadays there is much more to this festive veg than boiling them to oblivion. Try shredding and sautéing sprouts in butter with chestnuts, roasting them until crisp, or eat them raw in a winter salad.
Take your Brussels to the next level with a smoky bacon crumb… you may even win over the haters!
Another traditional side at Christmas, this winter root has a nutty, sweet flavour that intensifies with roasting. Parsnips also work wonders in creamy gratins, hearty salads and velvety soups, especially when paired with curry spices. For a twist on classic mash, swap half the potatoes for parsnips and stir through some thyme leaves to finish.
Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it; parsnips work well in sweet dishes too. Here, they add a subtle earthy sweetness to these indulgent butterscotch puds.
Crimson in colour, beetroot is very versatile and can be enjoyed raw in salads or slaws, boiled, roasted or pickled pink. Its earthy sweetness pairs especially well with salty or sour ingredients like goats’ cheese, oily fish and orange. One more surprising pairing is chocolate; try grating raw beetroot into a batch of brownies for a dense, moist texture.
Put beetroot centre stage with this veggie alternative to a turkey roast.
Tangy, tart and strongly scented, passion fruits are one of our more exotic winter foods and add a burst of flavour to cakes and desserts. For peak ripeness, choose fruit which is deeply wrinkled with dark purple skins. Inside, the fragrant juice and cluster of sweet, yellowy green seeds are delicious in pavlovas, soufflés, tarts and more. They also contain high levels of vitamin A and C.
Serve these lusciously creamy pots with a side of amaretti biscuits for an easy but impressive dessert.
Bring some zingy citrus colour and flavour to the cold and dark winter months with clementines. They are the smallest of the mandarin orange family with a sweet, juicy flavour and less acidity than other citrus fruits. Enjoy on their own, or use in cranberry sauce, roasted carrots, mince pies and cocktails.
Roast clementines alongside duck for an extra special roast for two.