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Now every elf has a piece of the globe to serve, but it's barely enough to make a living. Most folks buy their Christmas through Amazon or eBay. FedEx and UPS have a lock on distribution. The only route I have left is Carcross to Haines Junction.

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And only diehard families like you, who still believe in me. I can handle that, even on a Polaris. Suzuki's people kicked up a fuss about my carbon footprint. Nobody can squeeze down a Selkirk.

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And who in his right mind uses a chimney when the stove is lit? Not even unicorns are that dumb. But just one. Fortunately he was suddenly called away to deal with some emergency. While Oliver was gone, Ivan sneaked into the kitchen and managed to work out, at the very least, how the secret dressing was made.

Ivan left the Hermitage and went to work for Moskva, a local restaurant with an inferior clientele.

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A few weeks later, low-and-behold, a new salad appeared on the Moskva menu- the "Capital Salad" which, most suspiciously, looked and tasted very much like the original Olivier salad from the Hermitage restaurant. Naughty old Ivan. The story goes that Ivan then sold the recipe to various publishing houses. One of the first printed recipes for Olivier salad, by Aleksandrova, appeared in It included grouse, potatoes, gherkins, lettuce leaves, crayfish tails, capers and aspic.

It will serve about eight people.

It's a terrific book. In a large bowl, mix: g cooked potatoes cut into dice , a large cooked carrot cut into dice , two apples chopped into dice , one peeled orange membranes removed, and cut into chunks , two spring onions chopped , and g peas. Mix in g of cooked chicken which you have previously chopped up into bite-sized pieces. Make a dressing: Press three hard-boiled egg yolks through a sieve into a small bowl.

Bones of contention

Mix in two dollops of olive oil and stir, to form a smooth emulsion. Add two tablespoons of cider or wine vinegar and eight tablespoons each of mayonnaise and soured cream. Season, and pour over the vegetables and the chicken, keeping some of the dressing back. Let it chill in the 'fridge overnight. To serve, form the salad into a neat mold or mound, and pour over the remaining dressing. Garnish with fresh dill. You could of course, for a more piquant taste, ditch the orange and include diced gherkin.

An authentic addition. I think it would work.

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This Christmas, as there's only going to be four of us, we've decided to have a shot at goose, rather than turkey. I'm looking forward to this immensely: there's just something terribly Dickensian and Christmasy about our old friend the goose, isn't there? Up until the 's, most people in England didn't eat turkey because it was too expensive. That's why it's such a big deal when Ebeneezer Scrooge orders the massive prize turkey for the Cratchits, who normally would be huddled round their scrappy little goose come Christmas Day.

Coming to think of it, I've got a slight problem with all of this. Scrooge sends the prize turkey round to the Cratchits on Christmas morning.


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By the time it's been ordered, delivered to Camden Town from Clerkenwell, stuffed, and roasted at the local baker's shop, it's going to be way past the Cratchits' bedtime, and poor old Bob's got to be up the next day at the crack of dawn to toil away in Scrooge's counting house. Heigh ho. But which one is better? The goose or the turkey? I like turkey, I do. But it has a tendency to become dry and stringy, and by Boxing Day most sane people are fed up with it; even when it's turned into our notorious Boxing Day Turkey Curry. There's no doubt that a fresh turkey is preferable to a frozen one.

If you do have a frozen one, for God's sake make sure that it's thawed properly, otherwise you could find yourself into serious trouble. And some more advice if you'll allow me: stuff the bird at the last minute, rather than the night before. The immediate problem with goose is that there just isn't going to be enough meat on the thing. If you've got lots of friends and family coming round, then some of them are going to go hungry.

It tastes delicious, and has a rich and gamey flavour, but there's also going to be lots of fat. I'm fine with that, but there will inevitably be some poor souls out there who'll run for the hills. Paul Levy also reckons that the goose is really at its prime come Michaelmas ie September rather than December.

So my advice on this one: if there are just a few of you- go for goose, and sit back and enjoy the rich and subtle flavours; if you've got a horde coming round, go for turkey, but try and get a properly reared and decent variety, and cook it with care. I know this is expensive, but as it's only once a year, I think it's going to be a good investment. It's still one of my most popular posts, and as I'm currently getting increased hits no doubt because of Thanksgiving , I'm going to give you the recipe again. It doesn't sound that great, does it?

However, as Coke is really just a very sugary, brown and fizzy syrup, there's no reason why it shouldn't work nicely with a lovely, juicy ham.


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And the recipe's an old favourite from the American Deep South, too- which is no bad thing. So, here's how you make it:. Bring to the boil, put the lid back on, and turn down the heat. Take the gammon out of the pan, and let it rest. With a sharp knife, scour the gammon to make a criss-cross pattern. I think there's nothing better than tucking into a satisfying and hearty bowl of cowboy chili on a raw New Year's Day. It just seems so right. After all that Christmas over-indulgence, you want something simple, yet, if you're greedy like me, a limp bit of lettuce ain't going to pass muster.

You're also probably feeling a trifle frazzled after the New Year's Eve revels. Regrettably, Chili con carne is often nothing more than stewed mince, kidney beans and a bit of chili powder. Here's my idea for a more sophisticated version:. Stir in some good chili powder, oregano , cumin, and paprika. Now add the beef or pork ; or a combination of the two. You can either chop the meat into chunks, or put it through a mincer if you've got one.

Cook for a bit until the meat is sealed and coloured. Next, add some stock , beer the Mexican beer, Corona, is excellent , and a splash of Tabasco. Let the chili simmer slowly at a low heat, until the meat is cooked. You want the sauce to be reasonably thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finally, stir in some cooked beans Kidney, Haricot, or Black Beans are fine, I'm not really that fussed. Serve with some grated cheese on top, sour cream , and saltine crackers. Bob said he didn't believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness were the themes of universal admiration.

Eked out by apple sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family; indeed as Mrs Cratchit said with great delight surveying one small atom of bone upon the dish , "they hadn't ate it all at last". There's something terribly Dickensian and Christmasy about our old friend the goose, isn't there?


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Up until the 's most people in England didn't eat turkey, because it was so incredibly expensive. That's why it's such a big deal when Ebeneezer Scrooge buys a massive turkey for the Cratchit family, who would normally be huddled round their scrappy little goose come Christmas Day. But it has a tendency to become dry and stringy, and by Boxing Day most sane people are fed up with it; even when it's turned into our famed Boxing Day Turkey Curry.

There is no doubt that a fresh turkey is preferable to a frozen one. If you have a frozen one, for god's sake make sure that it has thawed properly, otherwise you and your family could get yourselves into serious trouble. And some more advice: stuff the bird at the last minute, rather than the night before.

I'm fine with that, but there will be some poor souls out there who will want to run for the hills. Joy to the World! As I'm feeling in a helpful mood, I'm revisiting a post that I wrote last year on the subject. I've also added a nice interactive link to a quirky short film I've found, explaining the wassail tradition in Herefordshire, England.

Please take note of my own recipe for Mulled Cider. It's so utterly preferable to the ubiquitous Mulled Wine.