Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Victorian Christmas

Hi all-
It's time to start planning the Christmas feast. I like tradition, and sometimes I like breaking tradition. But realy if you're going to break with tradition, wouldn't  you like to know that the tradtion is?

I found this tid-bit at http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/England-History/VictorianChristmas.htm

Turkey Time -
Turkeys had been brought to Britain from America hundreds of years before Victorian times. When Victoria first came to the throne however, both chicken and turkey were too expensive for most people to enjoy. In northern England roast beef was the traditional fayre for Christmas dinner while in London and the south, goose was favourite. Many poor people made do with rabbit. On the other hand, the Christmas Day menu for Queen Victoria and family in 1840 included both beef and of course a royal roast swan or two. By the end of the century most people feasted on turkey for their Christmas dinner. The great journey to London started for the turkey sometime in October. Feet clad in fashionable but hardwearing leather the unsuspecting birds would have set out on the 80-mile hike from the Norfolk farms. Arriving obviously a little tired and on the scrawny side they must have thought London hospitality unbeatable as they feasted and fattened on the last few weeks before Christmas!


Since we're talking about Vicorian Christmas, I bring you Jamie Oliver's Roast Beef.

To prepare your beef:


• Take your beef out of the fridge 30 minutes before it goes into the oven
• Preheat your oven to 240°C/475°F/ gas 9
• There’s no need to peel the vegetables – just give them a wash and roughly chop them
• Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled
• Pile all the veg, garlic and herbs into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil
• Drizzle the beef with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the meat
• Place the beef on top of the vegetables


To cook your beef:

• Place the roasting tray in the preheated oven
• Turn the heat down immediately to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook for 1 hour for medium beef
• If you prefer it medium-rare, take it out 5 to 10 minutes earlier
• For well done, leave it in for another 10 to 15 minutes
• If you’re doing roast potatoes and veggies, this is the time to crack on with them – get them into the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking
• Baste the beef halfway through cooking and if the veg look dry, add a splash of water to the tray to stop them burning
• When the beef is cooked to your liking, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the beef to a board to rest for 15 minutes or so
• Cover it with a layer of tinfoil and a tea towel and put aside while you make your gravy, horseradish sauce and Yorkshire puddings