With less than four weeks to go, the festive season is almost upon us. This year I am very glad to be supporting the #FeedYourHappy #OrganicChristmas Campaign. If you are a regular reader then you will know that I am firm believer that choosing organic food is very important to health, the environment and animal welfare.
Christmas in our French and English family is filled with family time and lots of food. As we strive to embrace our multi-cultural background, festivities start early with a Christmas Eve feast. The evening is an important celebration in France where food takes centre stage until the late hours or can even stretch to the very early hours of Christmas Day. Then of course Christmas Day comes with all the trimmings and excitement, followed by another day of eating on Boxing Day. By then I am usually happy to cuddle up in front of a movie and forget about food and cooking for a while!
Christmas tends to be quite traditional in our family so turkey is on the menu. However, nowadays I try to make it the side dish rather than the main event. It was not always like this. I cooked my first turkey when we lived in New York. It was Thanksgiving and I remember looking for the biggest bird we could find. This was quite absurd as there were only three of us. That one turkey was so large we had problem fitting it in the oven. It took forever to cook and we spent days eating it.
I did not realise until a few years later that the size of a turkey was not the most important criteria to think about. Industrially farmed animals tend to be raised in very poor welfare conditions in a record speed time. Breast meat is a prized cut in turkeys, so often you will find birds made to grow to abnormally super-large sizes with breasts so prominent the animals cannot even balance on their legs properly as their weight is unnaturally distributed. Thinking back this was probably the fate of my first turkey.
As a flexitarian family, we stick to a “less meat, better meat” philosophy and as such we choose organic turkey at Christmas. Provenance rather than size is key and as our family has grown, the size of our turkey has gone down. Organic farmers ensure that animals get plenty of space and outdoor time but also are fed proper GM-Free food. Also routine antibiotics are forbidden. I also make sure we use every last bit of the bird with leftovers made into risotto, pie and/or soup.
Still these days, plant-based food takes centre stage and I make sure to plan our festive meals around it. From nibbles to appetisers to main meals, I serve a wide spread of vegetarian and vegan food.
A small organic turkey is there for the meat eaters to enjoy. I also buy organic dairy, eggs, vegetables and fruits whenever possible. One good place to visit to find the best organic produce around is the Soil Association Organic Christmas Market. There you can find all your Christmas essentials such as organic meat, food, wine and gifts.
When entertaining, the importance of finger food and canapés cannot be underestimated, especially if the rest of the meal is suddenly taking longer than expected! They have been a life saver on many occasions. I always make sure I have a few easy options available. Something impressive that can be made in advance or thrown together at the last minute such as these Organic Curried Cauliflower Canapés.
Vegetarian and gluten free, they are really moreish and so easy to make. You can prepare the mixture a day ahead and pop them in the oven on the day. They can be eaten cold or at room temperature. I like to serve them with chutney and microgreens on top.
Sharing and enjoying food together is a big part of Christmas in our home. Choosing organic has become part of our tradition. Buying organic food is the best way to make sure there are fewer pesticides in the food we eat which is good for our health and the environment. Also, organic food also does not contain artificial additives and preservatives which can be detrimental to our wellbeing.
While we eat less it really makes me happy to know that we certainly eat better, confident to know where our food is coming from.
If you would like to find out more about how to embrace organic food this Christmas please visit www.feedyourhappy.co.uk.
This is a commissioned post.