Tasty Turkey Brine

Christmas isn’t too far away (and there’s even Thanksgiving first), so thoughts will soon turn to the centrepiece of any holiday meal – the turkey.

If you’re looking to make your turkey even more special this year, you could try out this tasty turkey brine recipe. If you’ve been brining your turkey for years, you’ll love the truly festive flavour this brine gives it. And if you’ve never brined your turkey before, you’re in for a real treat.

Fantastically Festive Foods


On the run up to Thanksgiving and Christmas there are many things to look forward to, from gifts and guests who rarely visit to the much looked forward to downtime that is the highlight of every year. However, an essential element to any holiday season is the seasonal and festive food that can be cooked up. From the focus all around food for thanksgiving, to the true star of Christmas day: the Dinner. We ourselves are most certainly getting in the mood for the delicious festivities, so with the help of some of our favourite recipe sites,we thought that we’d look at four traditional dishes and provide a few fresh ideas on classic Christmas and Thanksgiving dishes.

For Thanksgiving: Bacon Wrapped Turkey and Succulent Stuffing

Bacon-wrapped Turkey
A bacon wrapped turkey has three levels of delicious awesomeness. First and foremost it offers a simple way of cooking a succulent turkey; second it brings out the best in both the bacon and turkey as this really makes for a magical combination and third and finally it allows you to create a real show stopper through easy to do, but rather beautiful looking woven strips of bacon.

Turkey Stuffing with Cornbread Sausage, Apples and Pecans

Turkey makes for the traditional meat of Thanksgiving and when done correctly it can be delicious. However, Turkey is also known as a relatively dry meat and as such, in addition to bacon, the right stuffing for succulence is essential.

If you’re looking for stuffing that is a little bit different this year why not try cornbread, sausage, apple and pecan stuffing? This classic combination creates rich sweet juices from the apple with a wonderful meaty taste from the sausages; this is then all finished off with a bit of contrasting crunchy texture through the pecans.

For Christmas: Christmas pudding and Pignoli Cookies

The Ultimate Christmas pudding
Every Christmas dinner has one or two guests who are steadfast “no’s” to the Christmas pudding question. However this year may be different if you opt for the ultimate Christmas pudding recipe; and the secret behind this pudding that has seen it earn the title of ‘ultimate’? Well that’d be the magic mix between the Vodka, Cinnamon and specifically selected fruits. This is then all coupled with the traditional splash of sherry and a good measure of honey to sweeten and polish off the recipe.

Pignoli Cookies
Tins of shop bought biscuits always end up doing the rounds at Christmas, so why not go one better this year with some delicious Pignoli cookies? What’s more is that these cookies are both relatively easy to make and full of festive flavour!

These beautiful biscuits are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside and originate from the culinary powerhouse that is Italy. They actually also serve as a treat that is both gluten free and dairy free which, when compared against pretty much every other Christmas pudding or treat, is quite the rarity. Taking just 30 minutes from start to finish this simple recipe only requires seven ingredients to create 36 cookies!

Tastes As Good As It Looks?


At Christmas, or any other time of the year for that matter, it seems that not a restaurant visit goes by without a few camera flashes that are capturing mighty meals, delicious looking desserts or cocktail creations; and whilst this is frequently a topic of discussion amongst others as to just how annoying it is, it is indicative of one thing, and that’s that we eat with our eyes first.

The Science Behind Good Looking Food

There have been many experiments into the effect of a dish’s appearance upon our taste buds, which each finding that good looking food tastes better. One such experiment involved the same dish being served to two groups of participants; one group were served up with the pasta dish coloured with flavourless red wine dye, whereas the other group where served the white wine based dish without the dye. Many of those in the former group used typical red wine descriptors, which suggested a solid link between how food looks and how we perceive it to taste.

Make Great Tasting Food Look Great

Making your home cooked dishes look beautiful needn’t see you signing up for a cordon bleu course, or thinking that presentation is for the restaurant dishes of tiny proportions only. Here we fill you in on our three essential tips for making your food look as good as it tastes.

Getting inspired
In many gastro pubs the presentation of dishes serves to not only make a dish look great, but the sauces and additions to the plate make for small touches packed full of taste.
Perfect examples include Brie served with rich apricot chutney; Salmon (and other types of fish) served with honey-roasted beetroot, vodka & lime crème fraiche and plum & balsamic chutney coupled with pates to create interest and a great looking rustic plate.
Check out some of your local Gastro Pubs’ menus to see how they work colour and interest into their dishes.

Throwing in some colour
Colour is vital within a dish. Even the otherwise greatest tasting casserole can look decidedly hum drum if its brown based isn’t lightened up with the addition of a colourful vegetable platter.

For those looking for a super straight forward way of introducing colour, why not look to some exotic examples that will serve as a talking point over the dinner table. You could add the tiny, tasty yellow berry of the Physalis to your deserts, or add one of the 42 flowers that are not only edible, but delicious (which helpfully come in every colour of the rainbow!).

Serving it all up in style
To finish off your now great looking and perfectly taste complimented dish, you now need to think about your plates, platters and side dishes.

A particularly sociable way of serving up your food is to have shared platters. This has the added benefit of guests feeling free to eat as much, or as little as they wish.

For rustic dishes, such as the classic roast or wonderfully fragrant shepherd’s pie, why not opt for a slate platter, and don’t forget a sprinkle of taste as well as appearance enhancing herbs.