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A Glimpse into the Christmas Kitchen of Jeff Baker

Blog • November 11th 2020
Winning Trimmings

Two of our Christmas trimmings have scooped top prize at Good Housekeeping's 2020 taste test. Our Luxury Chestnut, Sage, & Apricot Pigs in Blankets won Best Pigs in Blankets, and our Sausage meat Stuffing - Plum Pudding, Apple Brandy won best stuffing. We won against the UK's biggest names. Christmas dinner just wouldn't be complete without these tasty offerings!

We are delighted at Farmison & Co - we're very proud of our produce - but it might surprise you that getting the trimmings to be award-winning goes on throughout the year and is quite technical and dynamic. In fact, the trimmings you can see in our Christmas shop have been six years in the making.

It all begins in the new year. In January earlier this year - which now seems a world away - I reflected immediately after the 2019 festivities on what I was pleased with, and what I thought could be improved with the Christmas trimmings. I make detailed notes, ready for later in the year, and come the Summer I started to make the trimmings again according to last year's recipe. I then take into account my notes and see whether the recipe can be tweaked.

It requires a lot of thought and patience (and tasters!), but the principle of each dish remains the same. To make any form of sausage or stuffing, we go back to the core values which define cooking. Firstly, the trimmings need fat. Without it, they would be dry and without flavour. The base formula is knitting together the protein with the fats, and the next stage is flavouring. I go back to my classical training for this.

I learned my trade primarily in the French tradition, and I always liked the style in South Western France, pairing bold sweet and savoury flavours. It is a pairing many associate with Christmas and winter flavour. For the pigs in blankets, the addition of chestnuts adds an additional sweetness and are used in the same way as breadcrumbs would be. They give the structure of the stuffing and they make it a little bit lighter, but they are also porous - the flavours can seep into the chestnut - and they become married together. Likewise, the plum lends a sweet edge to the heritage breed pork in the stuffing.

We always try to use quality ingredients where possible; ingredients that can stand on their own for flavour. For me, this yields the best result. We make our stuffing with quality brandy, for instance.

This year, I am confident the range of stuffing and pigs in blankets is the best it's ever been, the culmination of many years of work which I am proud of. That said, come January, the process will begin again, and the recipe will change once more.

You can browse our Christmas range here.