At her series of free demonstrations in the Market hall in December Katherine Felon will be sharing her tips and suggestions on how to make Christmas cooking as pain-free as possible. Lucy Charles joins Katherine in the Cookhouse, for a sneak peek at what she has in store
Words: Lucy Charles
“Plan ahead and plan well.” These are just some of the wise words from Katherine Frelon, who welcomed us into Borough Market’s fantastic Cookhouse looking gorgeously festive, dressed in red from head to toe. With a glass of hot, spiced cider in hand, I felt ready to pack up and go off for the holidays there and then.
Christmas is my favourite time of year, so when asked to attend a preview evening for Katherine’s upcoming Demo Kitchen residency, I didn’t hesitate. Each Thursday this December, she will be taking us through all of the recipes we need in the coming weeks—from edible gifts to the perfect Christmas dinner, with wonderful canapés, condiments and even edible place names in between.
This evening was a sneak preview into some of the edible gift-making—something I’ve not done for a few years, but am totally inspired to pick up again now. We started with edible bark, surrounded by the smell of melted dark and white chocolate from Chocolicious.
Working quickly, we poured and swirled and then chose from the prettiest selection of toppings. I went for Greek pistachios from Oliveology, Turkish delight from The Turkish Deli and a selection of dried fruits. Viewing it as a practice run, I gifted this one to myself! It was so easy to do, yet such a lovely gift—festively jewelled and personal.
Quick rocky road
Katherine didn’t let anything go to waste—with the small amount of leftover white chocolate, she showed us how to make some quick rocky road which was also delicious (note made to ensure I have leftovers).
With our bark setting in the fridge, we moved on to red fruit bags. Katherine began by lightly crushing juniper berries, cloves and cinnamon sticks from Spice Mountain, releasing their fragrant aromas, before combining them with cherries, berries, ginger and citrus peel.
At this point I would defy anyone not to want to bottle the scent floating around the room. All tied up in little tea bags or a square of muslin, these are for hanging over the side of a glass of hot cranberry or orange juice, or even water, elevating the drink to something distinctly festive.
Finally, Katherine told us about her cranberry chutney which had been simmering away in the background. She makes this as soon as she can get fresh cranberries, which are combined with apples, port and red onions among other things and cooked slowly to produce a deep crimson condiment.
We sampled the chutney with fabulous cheeses from the Market, including Katherine’s favourite aged gouda from Borough Cheese—the perfect antidote to all the sweet nibbling I’d been doing. I’m now quickly finishing jams and pickles at home, to free up jars ready to make this for my cheese-loving friends.
If you’re a self-professed ‘busy bee’ like Katherine, she promises that with the right organisation and planning, you can spend less than 90 minutes in the kitchen on Christmas Day—and will be proving so with her demo on 15th December! She likes to just “hang out and enjoy the celebrations”. Sounds good to me.
Join Katherine for free tips, tastings and recipes Thursday 1st, 8th and 15th December in the Market Hall, 12:30-2pm.