There are two aims with regards to this latest T&G blog post. The first is to make you aware that Christmas is no less than 22 days away now.  The second is give you some inspiration regarding what you could rustle up for your guests. You know, before the main event that is commonly known as Christmas dinner.

However, thirdly, this does involve cooking up a glorious oxtail stew beforehand. Which would be fantastic for Christmas Eve by the way. And whilst we're here, we best inform you of our opening hours throughout the festive period.

So in fact, we've already overstepped the mark and suddenly, we have now have like, four or five points, to cross off the list.

Which pretty much sums up Christmas, doesn't it? Just when you think you've got everything covered, a little elf comes along, and whispers into your ear that you need to buy some streaky bacon to cover the turkey. Oh and that Nan needs picking up.

To kick off, we should inform that you only have 13 days left to place your order with us. Yikes! Yes, the cut off date for Christmas orders is on Saturday 15th and slots for deliveries are filling up fast. Saturday 22nd December is already fully booked.

If you are London based though, have no fear. The shop in EC1 will be open until 2PM on Christmas Eve and we will gladly take your order over the phone, via email, or online through our 'click and collect' service.

Over the Christmas period then, our hours will be as follows:

Saturday 22nd Dec - 10am- 6pm

Sunday 23rd Dec - 10am - 6pm

Monday 24th Dec - 8am - 2pm

Christmas Day - CLOSED

Boxing Day - CLOSED

Thursday 27th Dec - CLOSED

Friday 28th Dec - 10am - 4pm

Saturday 29th Dec - 10am - 5pm

Sunday 30th Dec - 8am - 2pm

Monday 31st Dec - CLOSED

New Years Day - CLOSED

Wednesday 2nd Jan - 10am - 5pm

Thereafter normal hours will resume.

Now, let's crack on with the suggestion of oxtail stew on Christmas Eve. The recipe itself can be found here, just under the product itself, and it really is a humdinger. Perfect eating should you want to start taking it just little bit easy before the chaos of the next day ensues. This is really is a case of getting the prep done in the morning, before whacking into the oven to cook slowly. So that last minute shopping can be done and a sneaky snifter on the way on the home can be totally warranted.  And then boom in the evening, before you know it, you've got a stew fit for King and Queen. Plus any other children, relatives or neighbours that you may have lurking around the house.

Try to leave some for the next day though and put by at least two or three soft pieces of oxtail. Because then you will have the option of serving some meaty morsels up with your mid-day fizz, sherry or port. Luxurious tidbits that come in the shape of oxtail and carrot purée bites.

Canapes

Riffing on good ol' fashioned boiled beef and carrots, these canapes are extremely easy to get done. The carrots need a little care and attention, and keep an eye on how much Pernod you pour in. But any leftover purée can easily be placed on the table, alongside your carved rib of beef, fluffy roasted potatoes and gravy (made from beef bones).

Christmas Day is all about indulgence after all, isn't it.

And remembering to collect Nan.

METHOD

  1. Place your chopped carrots into saucepan, add the butter, star anise and thyme and then cover with the chicken stock. Put on the hob and bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer. Cook gently for 20 minutes or until the carrots are really soft.
  2. Meanwhile, pick off as much meat and fat from your leftover oxtail, shredding with your fingers as you go. Place into a small saucepan and gently heat through.
  3. When the carrots are done, strain through a sieve over a bowl, to keep any remaining stock.
  4. Remove the thyme and star anise and then place into a blender (or back into the saucepan and use a hand blender) blitz to a purée. Add a touch of the remaining stock to loosen up the mix.
  5. Taste for seasoning and then add just a teaspoon of Pernod and give it one last blitz.
  6. Next take your stale sourdough slices and cut out some rounds using a pastry cutter, approximately 5cm in diameter.
  7. Place some beef dripping into a frying pan and put onto the hob over a medium heat and fry the sourdough slices quickly until golden. Then pop them onto a rack to cool.
  8. To plate up, spoon a small quenelle of the carrot purée and place some of the shredded oxtail on top.
  9. Scatter some cress over the top and serve.

Carrot puree

oxtail stew