You know that emoticon with the monkey hiding his eyes behind his eyes with embarrassment like he’s admitting something excruciatingly shameful? Well if I could use it here, it would be appropriate because of I’m thinking about three years ago when the best we could do for Christmas options using sustainably reared food was give you wild geese.
The burst out laughing emoticon with tears would also come in handy here.
Those of you who remember us back from those days will remember we were in the old Riverside vet and basically all I could find was wild geese and exorbitantly priced free range gammons from a Capetonian butcher who utterly fleeced us on the price.
Anyhow, things are a little different now and it feels like a monumental victory to have more than wild geese and crazy expensive free range pork to offer this year without compromising on my ability to accept ‘grey’ when it comes to food from truly meaningful farms.
Green is green, and grey isn’t green.
So we do need to cover Christmas plans as silly season approaches so that we can have it all sorted before we all become unhinged after what has been a very intense and fast paced year for most.
We don’t do turkey as you all know in the sustainable food space, we tend to be keen towards avoiding industrially farmed antibiotic and growth promoter riddled factory turkeys from Brazil and European trends that just have little relevance to Africa.
How we got to a place where we thought we that dry industrial turkey was right to cook in Africa, is slightly beyond me but this year it gets easier at Organic Emporium on the sustainable Christmas menu front.
Obviously, the large Heversham Farm Chickens that are slightly smaller than turkeys are our central feature for the Christmas table. Some of you are already pre-ordering them – they’re in stock and we have more arriving at the beginning of December so that we know we’re sorted on the chickens.
Then we have the heritage breed chickens that you are beginning to love. I am utterly delighted at your reaction to them, that once I’ve gotten you over their strange initial appearance being long legged brown meat original birds, you are all saying the same thing, that you love the rich brown meat, the flavor of them and the crispy skin and yellow fat. They are truly something special and because I’m so in love with them, I want to incorporate them into my Christmas lunch with the large Heversham birds. So think about doing perhaps 1 of the large Heversham birds and 2-3 of the heritage. One large roasting tray, the Heversham birds take long – work on an hour per kg on 150 and use my roast chicken recipe to make sure you get an unctuous gravy. Then in the last hour crank up the temperature to 200 and add the heritage chickens. I had been doing them for an hour on 180 but then got cook’s envy when I saw that when Penny did them – her skin was a deeper brown than mine. Mine had come out crispy and delicious but golden, hers was a deep caramel enviable brown. Her secret – 200 degrees – 50 minutes.
Penny is working on a recipe now that we’re silly excited about and that will give you another great idea for the Christmas table. It’s cooked heritage chicken in a jar – the whole chicken cooked and cut into pieces set into a gelatinous gravy. This means that you have cold, cooked chicken and chicken stock all in one, in one jar that you can keep in your fridge and use as you need it. If you don’t fancy roasting the heritage chickens and making a chicken stock, it’s all done for you.
You just need to de-jar and serve as you like.
Closer to the time, I’m going to give you a good recipe for a glaze for this gammon but I’ll also make one up for you using organic fruit – it’s likely going to be apricots, organic tamari and honey.
That’s your gammon done.
Then there are the lamb roasts from the same farmer doing the heritage chickens, you’re starting to really enjoy those and that’s also a great idea to add to the Christmas lunch.
So I’m going to do a Heversham chicken, 2 heritage chickens, a pastured pork gammon and a lamb roast.
With the gammon glaze, a rich chicken gravy and the rosemary and yoghurt sauces I adore doing with the lamb – recipe on the blog here – that’s my Christmas meat done, then I’ll just add platters of great salads and for the first Christmas we’ll have organic heritage wheat sourdough on the table too and some of the new range mayonnaisses, blessings from fairy God mother Penny’s hand. I’m getting excited about Christmas just thinking about it.
Watch out for the gammon glaze recipe coming over the next few weeks. For those of you loving the Free State lamb, if you are new to roasting a lamb leg or shoulder roast – please find my best recipe for roast lamb on the blog here.
I’ll be feeding 10-12 people and this will have the whole table covered.
Oh – how could I forget – Penny is going to be doing a sourdough stuffing with organic fruit too for you to stuff the chickens with if you fancy.
Slightly better as a menu than the wild geese and pork that cost a car repayment. I’m overjoyed ☺
I would most definitely suggest doing a cheese board featuring Barry’s French style goat’s cheeses and the Le Petite France camembert and brie. Dear heart Penny is also doing a new cheese range made with Mooberry milk, simply ‘farmers cheese’. It’s a sort of thick cream cheese, the moment the first jars are in, I’ll bleet it out on social media.
We’re also going to get whole briskets cut with each carcass from Brennaissance until the closing week so those of you who are keen to do a fall off the bone brisket cut on the Weber for Christmas, or to roast it, those will be in for you too.
Store opening hours over the festive season.
We will be open up until Christmas Eve and then closing from Christmas Day, re-opening our doors on Monday the 9th of January.
We need to close and take a well-deserved break. We can’t get fresh produce in over that time so it’s silly to stay open and we can’t order in new meat because it’s too quiet and our waste costs will be crazy. I also need my uber precious team to have a good break.
Next year is going to be extremely intense as much as it will be exciting. The new eatery and store will be being built and I need us all well rested so we can start the new year on fire and ready for our next leap with you.
You’re all asking – ‘when’?
We’re still in drawing and planning phase, aiming for opening May.
We have much to get through to be ready for then and I’ll be living in the new space really as the cooking and eatery is going to be possibly one of the most focused spaces I’ve even been in with you, if you can imagine that possible.
I’ll find doing an eatery much easier than I have found doing a store to be honest.
The idea of being able to cook for you and give you a deeply soulful place where you can be nourished with silly delicious food, fills me with such excitement.
Cooking for people is my happy place and I want this eatery to be the same safe haven as the store is for you – a place where you can trust what you’re eating and don’t have to read labels and expect compromises.
I live to connect you to this country’s most sustainable farmers and to bring you the best produce from their hand but to actually cook for you – oh I shall be in my element – that’s direct heart energy I can give you even more directly.
Sourdough Bread Recipe
Last but not least Penny has given you this recipe for those of you wanting to use Moffett’s organic heritage wheat flour.
If you have any questions about using this flour, she’s great to talk to in-store, and if you don’t feel like making it, her sourdough loaves made with this flour are in-store right now together with whole-wheat sourdough bagels, mini loaves and her gluten free muffins.
The muffins are mad with brown rice flour, bulked with organic courgettes, sweetened with organic apricots (we change the fruit depending on what organic fruit we have in at the time) and raw honey. They are also dairy free as we use coconut milk in them.
A storm is about to come over again, it’s the night of the Super moon and why I’m writing to you now, I felt like connecting to you and reflecting on you while the energy of reflection, appreciation and release is particularly potent.
And taking the time in an intensely rich and accelerated astrological time to say how much I value you.
Thank you for an in-box full of your personal letters to the newsletter, that you let me know that I can trust you with my words as much as you trust me with your pantries.
Thank you for your consistent acknowledgement that you value the raw, honest chat.
This community of ours is full of connection and heart and each year we deepen and entrench this place into a node of green love.
And I’m grateful to you and to the blessed farmers that I have found on my travels that make this all possible.
For short snippets and sound bites of the new things coming in, find us on Instagram @the_organic_emporium or stay abreast on our Facebook page.
We’re increasing the touch points of the way we connect to you so that the newsletter isn’t the only place and the best way to describe how our touch points mean to connect with you is basically contained in this rhyme:
The newsletter is a conversation
Spoken in truth without hesitation
Our Instagram for inspiration
See Facebook for information
The website and blog our central location
The vlogs soon to come – live communication
Thank you for trusting my green heart as I trust yours,