When I was growing up, we didn’t have room for a table and chairs in our flat. Meals were consumed on the sofa with our plates on our knees. All meals, except for Christmas dinner. On Christmas day, my mam pulled a table in to the middle of the sitting room, and dressed it with her finest. I remember it feeling so special, gathering round the table as a family, stuffing our tummies with more turkey than we could handle. Christmas dinner was always my favourite.
Now, my kitchen is big enough for a table. We sit down to dinner together every night, to share good food and a bit of craic. But still, Christmas dinner is what I look forward to the most. With only a couple of days to go until the big day, I’m really starting to feel excited. It’s not just me, if you ask my son Neil if he’s looking forward to Christmas he will reply with ‘mmm, Christmas dinner’, or something to that effect.
We usually have a roast dinner every Sunday, and it’s the dinner I look forward to most each week. Because a roast dinner is very similar to Christmas dinner, we made the decision to take a break from our Sunday dinner during the month of December. Mid way through the month I was really starting to pine for my roasties and mash and yorkshires, when Tesco Northern Ireland sent me an email challenging me to have a Northern Irish Christmas.
I was excited to receive the email, and even more excited when a lovely gift of a hamper of local Northern Irish food arrived at my door. The challenge was to create a Christmas style dinner using food sourced only in Northern Ireland. We do our main food shop at Tesco every week, and I knew they sold a selection of local produce, but I didn’t know the full extent of it! I was presently surprised when the hamper arrived, and it contained enough food to make a full Christmas dinner, including a starter, main and dessert!
Soup, Wheaten Bread (a favourite in Northern Ireland, people love their bread here), spuds, a selection of veg, a big chunk of gammon, stuffing, and a nice wee cake for after… the bag was bursting with tasty ingredients.
After weeks of no roast dinner, I couldn’t wait to get cooking. I was particularly excited about cooking gammon for the first time. When choosing meat, I would always go for chicken or turkey, so it made a nice change. I cooked up the ham, along with some garlic roasted parsnip and potatoes, some delicious turnip mash, carrots and everyones christmas favourite, brussel sprouts.
It looked delicious, and it tasted even better. I have to say, my first experience of cooked ham was fantastic, and I have ordered another one for Christmas day.
I can’t wait for my Christmas dinner now, and I’m happy to report a large chunk of it will be locally sourced food that we’ve got from Tesco. Having sampled a selection, we will be actively seeking out products made in Norther Ireland. I like to know that I’m helping to support local farms and businesses.
What ever you are having for Christmas dinner this year I hope it tastes delicious. Merry Christmas!
Tesco Northern Ireland kindly gifted me a hamper of Christmas food.