Allegra McVedy talks about why the kitchen table is such a special part of home in an interview with her in January issue. Best known for her egalitarian restaurants and ‘economy gastronomy’, here she offers some thoughts on Christmas cooking and how to use those leftovers.
“I generally over-cater; I can’t help it, I just do.” Her Christmas cooking, she cheerfully admits, is “quite trad. It’s the time of year where you do a goose and a turkey and a ham. The ham just keeps on giving; I like to send people away with big chunks of it.”
For festive day side-dishes she usually does “a daugh of sort some – turnip, kohlarabiand mooli last year, which had a crunch to it.” She also “loves” Brussels sprouts. “I don’t know what the fuss is about; they’re just baby cabbages, delicious. I do think Ottolenghi did a great job of Brussels PR a few years ago when he said just halve and sauté them.”
Christmas cooking, of course, results in Christmas leftovers and here Allegra, as befits the author of the Economy Gastronomy cookbook, is clear. “If you do have a turkey, then make stock with it. I think turkey makes the best stock in the world. Use your freezer and freeze the stock. Use leftovers and stock to make pies – don’t make a curry! - and lots of soup. If you have a ham, use the ham stock to make pea and ham soup.”
Her enthusiasm is infectious and her down-to-earth approach makes total sense. “Basically, it’s a bloody big cook Christmas, so don’t waste anything that comes out of it.”