Hello readers, I am Charlotte the Food & Beverage Development Director for KUDOS and based at Central hall Westminster, here is my guest blog for December…..

Christmas has arrived at Wesley’s Café! Staff and customers alike are getting in to the spirit, with background Christmas music, roast turkey with all the trimmings and our festive gingerbread latte being served every day.

I wanted to take a little bit of stress out of Christmas and share with you my advice on prepping and cooking the turkey! The trick is to spend a few minutes on working out your cooking timetable (sounds strict but it really helps you and means you know when you have a break in cooking to enjoy that all important glass of fizz!) and it will be a breeze. My other top tip is to give you my simple and delicious stuffing recipe!…Here goes…

Chestnut stuffing

  • 350g parsnips
  • 275g leeks
  • 5cm piece of ginger
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 75g dried apricots
  • 75g butter
  • 2tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 400g vacuum-packed chestnuts
  • 1 rounded tbsp tomato puree
  • Salt and pepper

Method:
Peel the parsnips and chop into small pieces. Trim and wash the leeks, cut in half lengthways and then slice into thin half rings. Use as much of the green as possible. Peel the ginger and chop finely. Chop the apricots into small pieces. Melt 50g butter in a large frying pan. Add the parsnips and cook for approx. 8 mins until almost soft (stir continuously so they don’t colour too much). Use a slotted spoon to transfer into mixing bowl. Add remaining butter to pan. Add leeks and cook for 8 – 10 mins (stirring continuously) and then add ginger, garlic (chopped finely), apricots, nutmeg and cardamom. Stir for a further 2 mins. Turn contents into mixing bowl. Roughly chop chestnuts and add to cooked ingredients. Gently mix everything together, stirring in the tomato puree, salt and pepper. Turn all of mix into flan/quiche dish (buttered) and level off. Cook at 180c for approx. 30 mins.

At this time of year, we also need to remember those who may not be a fortunate as us. We are very proud to work in partnership with Central Hall Westminster and the Methodist Church in supporting The Passage, a local homeless charity, where we send our surplus food.

I am a massive Christmas fan and love everything about this time of year, especially giving presents to my friends and family. This year myself and some members of the team will be doing the following to help those in need:

  • Instead of having an advent calendar for ourselves, we will be putting a small piece of non-perishable food into a box each day to give to a local charity on the 24th December
  • Instead of having a Secret Santa in the office we will be wrapping an item and giving it to a local charity. There are many homeless charities that have information about donating Christmas presents online, so check out your nearest one and make someone’s day!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my festive and charitable ideas to make your Christmas this year more special. Have a wonderful festive season and Happy New Year!

All the very Best,
Charlotte 😊