Not long now…..sorting out that Christmas dinner meat order


How do you select your meat for the Christmas feast? The signs are up in the shops; ‘order now to be in time for the big day’, ‘one free elf if you buy 2,000 sausage rolls’ you know the sort of thing………

And then there’s the scramble at the supermarkets and the gnawing fear of finding the shelves as empty as the bagged sugar aisle after a news flash about a potential power cut.

Are you ready? Picture: Kevin Dooley

No way, the thought of seeing those sharp elbows heading into the chipolatas means I’m going to be clicking my way to the dinner table this year.

Buying food online is nothing new and during this year particularly I’ve discovered all manner of services and products where the convenience of having stuff delivered has not only freed up some precious time but also reduced the amount of cash handed over to the faceless supermarket chains. It’s also made me a more adventurous cook – having to find something to create with what arrives in the general veg box often means thinking out new things and, when suppliers have something new to offer, it seems much easier to hear about it.

Whether it’s the weekly basics box or something a bit special for a dinner party (and yes OK, I admit it, I have served up the occasional dish that’s come through the post) the lure of the hassle-free choice of clickable food is now an everyday experience.

So I was interested to hear from the people at Farmer’s Choice. Not only is one of their producers (Yorkshire Game) just down the road from me, which adds a local dimension to the whole shopping on the Internet thing, they’ve been operating online for many years and there’s a couple of things that make them a bit different.

Everything they sell is free range and traceable plus they cater for exactly what you want because they cut the meat to order. As their spokesman told me:

“We cut to requirements to order in exactly the same as what you’d get from over the counter at a butchers..if you just want two lamb chops, then we’ll just cut you two lamb chops.”

I think Christmas calls for a bit more than that but……you take the point.
Taking a look at the Christmas dinner offer , it’s not just the turkey.

There are the free range traditional birds there but also more exotic fare including a couple of extra special three bird roasts like goose, chicken and pheasant, all rolled together for an indulgent feast. And if you really can’t face any of the shopping, just order in the veg as well for the whole experience direct.

There’s not enough of a family for us to get stuck into the specialist hamper – but even if your household does resemble something like The Waltons, it doesn’t look like they’d go hungry with that lot arriving.

Doing the traditional annual thing seems to suit cooks who have a highly-organised sense of timing. I once met a women who had a printed list of every task timed down to the last minute and it started the night before with exact times for each thing to be done……imagine;

– 9am – wash Brussels sprouts
– 9.15 – peel carrots
Etc. etc.
I jest not, this list was even laminated for easy to clean re-use each year!

While I admire the dedication, my approach tends to be a bit more, erm, approximate and this Farmer’s Choice site got me clicking round to see what else is in store and thinking about conjuring up something a bit different.

Curry goat for Boxing Day anyone? Great looking recipe from north west chef Simon Rimmer here.