Bring a taste of Lancashire to the Christmas dinner table
PUBLISHED: 10:51 15 December 2014 | UPDATED: 18:12 02 November 2015
When it comes to Christmas dinner and food during the festive season, you need look no further than our county. Here's our guide to some of the tastiest things to try
The table centrepiece
The Tomlinson family
The Tomlinson’s at Salwick Farm, Salwick, Preston have been turkey farming for over 20 years. The birds are reared with care and naturally to 22 weeks. They are available at Old Holly Farm. www.oldhollyfarm.com
PD Willacy, Poulton
Peter Willacy and his family have been farming turkeys and free range chickens for more than 55 years. They rear white and black turkeys and the meat is hung to tenderise the meat and develop the flavour. 01253 883470
Johnson and Swarbrick
The Goosnargh ducks Reg Johnson and Bud Swarbrick rear on their farm needs little introduction. Top restaurants, hotels and chefs clamour for the birds. Duck would make a different and impressive addition to the Christmas table. But be sure to order in plenty of time. www.jandsgoosnargh.co.uk
Roaming Roosters in Higham, near Burnley, farm Norfolk Black and traditional Bronze turkeys for Christmas. They are dry plucked and hung for three weeks to ensure a fuller flavour. Turkeys can be ordered through the farm shop or online. www.roamingroosters.co.uk
The sandy soils at Mereside Farm in Holmeswood, near Rufford, are perfect for growing onions. They are grown, cured and graded by Richard Parker and his two sons, Matthew and William where they pour their attention into producing the perfect tasting onions. Stocked at Booths.
Huntapac Produce, a third generation family owned business in Tarleton, has been growing amazing vegetables since 1942. The Hunter family once supplied local markets in Lancashire and Yorkshire but now send their parsnips, as well as many other vegetables, further afield. They also produce Roots, which are crisps made out of the carrots, parsnips and beetroot they grow. You can find their parsnips in Booths supermarkets.
Love them or hate them, sprouts are a mainstay of the Christmas dinner table. There are a number of sprout growers around our county but you can’t go wrong with those grown by Chris Molyneux on his Ormskirk farm. In fact, there is a good chance the ones on your plate come December 25th will be from Asmall House Farm. He spends much of the year growing sprouts and harvests from August until March. You’ll find his sprouts in supermarkets as well as farmers’ markets and farm shops and they’ve also supplied to Covent Garden and Spitalfields markets in London.
The Ascroft family have been farming the land around Holmes, Tarleton, since the turn of the century so they know a thing or two about growing. Their red cabbage, as well as their round, green, Savoy, white cabbage, several varieties of beetroot and potatoes are available in December. They’re a favourite of Nigel Haworth and their produce would make a tasty addition to your Christmas dinner. You can order direct. www.worthingtonsfarm.co.uk
Desserts and cakes
No Christmas would be complete without this sweet treat. Bells of Lazonby, founded by John Bell in 1946, produce stonkingly tasty mince pies to sell in their bakeries, including the popular Village Bakery at Melmerby. But you don’t have to drive up there to get your fix. They produce the Booths range of mince pies, as well as their stollen and Christmas cake. www.bellsoflazonby.co.uk
Damson brandy fruit cake
Lisa Smith of Kendal’s Ginger Baker’s has created this divine flavoursome cake made with dried fruits drenched in brandy with lots of damsons from the Lyth Valley. It’s so good Booths and Aldi are stocking it this Christmas. Or you can order from Lisa direct on 01539 422084. If you’re not keen on fruit cakes though, Lisa also does a white cake stuffed with roast hazelnuts and orange and coated with marzipan. www.gingerbakers.co.uk
Vine fruits and delicious cherries are soaked in fine French brandy before being baked and topped with golden marzipan for this lovely Christmas cake from Williams Handbaked in Preston. You can pick one of at a number of farmers markets or at cafes and farm shops across Lancashire. www.williamshandbaked.co.uk
The Ultimate Plum Pudding
When a company makes Christmas puddings for Harvey Nichols and Fortnum and Mason as well as a raft of successful Lancashire and Lake District food businesses you know you are in for a treat. The Ultimate Plum Pudding Company in Kendal set out 30 years ago to make Christmas better. Mission accomplished with their Ultimate Plum Pudding which is stuffed with raisins, sultanas, dates, brandy and sherry as well as lots of other lovely ingredients.
This pudding can be bought direct from www.ultimateplumpudding.co.uk
Luxury spiced apple and port bomb
The Lancashire Bomb from Shorrocks Cheese in Goosnargh has quite a following. This luxury version, flavoured with a spiced apple and port, will be an impressive addition to your dinner table. www.lancashirebombs.co.uk
Lancashire Cheese with garlic
Fill your cheeseboard with flavour with this savoury blend from JJ Sandham’s in Barton, near Preston, a family run business established in 1929. The cheese maker was the first to offer a blend of Lancashire cheese with garlic, a flavour that is now mainstream and popular. www.jjsandham.co.uk
Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese
Cloth-bound and sealed with butter, Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheeses will attract attention on December 25th. It’s made from raw, unpasteurised milk with a mellow, buttery taste with a little lemon acidity at the family dairy near Goosnargh. Production is small scale and Graham Kirkham works diligently to his mother Ruth’s recipe. Available from Booths.
Richard and Annie Barker purchased Lower Barker Farm in Inglewhite in 1932 and started making cheese on a very small scale. Today their son Tom and his wife Jean make cheeses with milk coming from the family farms. Blacksticks Blue is an amber coloured blue veined cheese with a fantastic flavour. www.butlerscheeses.co.uk
Chutneys and preserves
Orange marmalade with whisky
This chunky marmalade with whisky will add the ideal festive touch this Christmas. It’s made by Heritage Kitchen in Bacup and they produce other seasonal flavours including a Christmas chutney, spiced pears in raspberry vinegar and pear and ginger. www.heritagekitchen.co.uk
Hot plum and bramley apple chutney
Rich and sweet with a generous kick of cayenne pepper, this chutney is a real treat. It’s made by Blackburn-based Reedy’s Naturally, a company founded by Lisa Reedy in 2007 after she had a greenhouse full of tomatoes that would not ripen. www.reedys.co.uk
Lancashire Heather Honey
Described as the Rolls Royce of honey, this honey is sourced high on the Lancashire moors and had a toffee and caramel taste. It is a fantastic glaze for ham at Christmas and also a perfect complement to a single malt at bedtime. It’s produced at Crossmoor Honey Farm by head apiarist, Craig Hughes.
Pear, fig and real ale chutney
Robert Weekes and Paul Ainscough have more than 50 years experience in professional kitchens. The Preston duo got together to launch Fatjax using locally sourced products. This pear, fig and real ale chutney tastes like Christmas in a jar. www.fat-jax.com