We recently went on a family getaway and stayed in this delightful 13th century cottage called the Orchard End, in one of the most picturesque villages of Oxfordshire, far away from the buzzing city of London, and far enough to quickly recharge our tired parent batteries.
First of all, we should mention that we didn’t get there empty handed, but with our Abel & Cole boxes full of fresh goodies, ready to rehearse our Christmas cooking.
We also took advantage of having a bit of quiet family time and, as we knew we would be left with a few boxes, so we decided to use both, them and the travel opportunity, and wrap our Christmas gifts inside – we have been very organised this year!
Amelie insisted on helping out carrying the little boxes, including the most delicious vegan mince pies, but don’t worry, she did eventually share them 🙂
First things first. I am very excited about writing on how this year we’ve been trying to do things a little bit differently. We are looking more into sensible topics such as food waste – trying to learn how to creatively manage any food leftovers, also recycling any packaging where it’s possible, hence the used boxes used for our gifts wrapping this year.
As a family, when it comes to food and cooking it, we’re trying to focus more on ethically sourced foods, and pretty much on anything that helps the environment and sets a good example for our children. Therefore I am more than thrilled about our recent collaboration with Abel & Cole, a honest food company that shares our views on why organic, why seasonal, why sustainable and ethical…
Our beliefs about Abel & Cole are not only based on our own online research, but on the fact that we have tried the food, we have noticed the eco packaging efforts and most importantly, we have also met part of the hard working team behind the Abel & Cole scenes at a recent event held at the Rude Heath Cafe – another brilliant brand that we have fully enjoyed over the past 4 years – the boys’ Rude Heath porridge is a daily breakfast essential in our kitchen.
Nonetheless, this Christmas I got the challenge of having to cook two Christmas menus: the traditional way which includes the scrumptious organic Abel & Cole chicken (look no further when it comes to your festive turkey or chicken) and a vegan one for my husband, Justin @alldadstalk who is currently on a vegan diet. I wasn’t too surprised to learn that Abel & Cole have a vast vegan menu with the most scrumptious options to choose from.
Once we settled in the new kitchen, we started working on this menu below (with a little guidance from Abel & Cole, we managed to successfully put everything together in no time).
Our starter was the process of unpacking the food boxes – everyone stole a biscuit, a piece of cheese and lots of fresh fruits. The chutney jars got all opened by tiny hands while the master chef wasn’t paying attention…Somehow they always get away with a lot of mischief in the kitchen! ;))
The Christmas Menu
Roast chicken with honey and clementine glaze
Clive’s nut roast – vegan
Red cabbage with pomegranate – vegan
Roast carrots and parsnips with honeyed orange glaze
Lemon, apple and parsley stuffing – vegan
Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and sage – vegan
Roast potatoes – vegan
Tideford’s Gravy – vegan
Abel & Cole’s Cranberry Sauce
An irresistible cheese selection from Abel and Cole’s award winners,
with fig and balsamic chutney and biscuits
After munching on some of the not yet cooked, unsliced goodies and after a fun (longer than usual) chopping veggies session with Lucas and seasoning the poultry with Amelie, the chicken went straight into the hot oven – so did the nut roast which was Justin’s meat alternative. Meanwhile we set up the table and made it look more festive with the children’s hand made Christmas crackers they previously mastered with Sharky and George‘s elves at the Santa’s Grotto in the Fulham’s Market Hall. I told you we got organised this Christmas 😉
Here are the mince pies I did not want to share (shhh, Justin had his own vegan mince pies stash). If you scroll down, you’ll see I didn’t feel much guilt for not sharing with the little ones, as they had their own treats from the chocolate lollies making session.
Thinking Christmas pudding? I got my last year’s Silver Celebrations lucky charms and I had them hidden underneath the pudding (as I was initially supposed to bake them inside the pudding, but this year I let the experts bake a vegan option for Justin – the luxury Christmas pudding).
To keep them busy, the Cocoa Loco chocolate making kit was a hit indeed – which has persuaded us to get even more kits as gifts for their cousins.
Is the Christmas dinner complete without a good bottle of wine? Here‘s a great list of organic wines to keep everyone perky; if wine is your cup of tea 😉 you could spend a couple of minutes watching Honey Spencer, the Abel & Cole’s grape guru giving you a few tips and recommendations – also, let’s not forget that drinking organic means less toxins for you and the environment.
Dinner is served!
I bet Father Christmas would enjoy a seat at the table with us, but I promise to keep some Christmas pudding brownies for him 🙂
Before I forget…Another shot of my favourite jar!
Below are a few pixels of the best cranberry sauce of all times!!!! It has the highest cranberry content of any organic sauce of its kind (while I may be showing off a little bit my festive nail art by Missbeez).
If you haven’t got your own wreath this year, I may suggest you get one in chocolate 🙂
Or make one like we just did (we decorated it with the charms from our Christmas pudding, some of the kids candy canes and a few old decorations the kids picked themselves.
Team effort is all that matters…
The Abel & Cole boxes put to good use…
Christmas gifts are ready to go!
Last, but not least, I did mention some brownies before.
If Christmas pudding leftovers are a challenge, here’s a recipe to help out: Christmas Pudding Brownies.
Now that everyone is well fed, it’s time for a festive nap…
This post was written in partnership with Abel & Cole, but all opinions are my own. It’s an honest brand that I got to know gradually and that I cannot recommend more. The team behind put a lot of hard work and thought into everything they do and I respect all the values they stand up for.