Cook on the Wildside personality Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is preparing for his first Christmas at River Cottage. He’s escaped the city sprawl and all its stresses and downshifted to rural Dorset. Here, Hugh has decorated the bay leaf tree with fairy lights, harvested the sprouts from the vegetable garden and his Gloucester Old Spot pig is now a festive ham.
At the top of his Christmas list is a goose, and he’s off to admire Dave Roache’s gaggle and discuss the merits of goose keeping. But before Hugh can purchase his Christmas lunch, he has to raise the necessary cash. So it’s down to the Farmer’s Christmas Market with a festive selection of home-made treats from the River Cottage larder. His meaty mince pies, cider apple brandy butter and marrons glaces are sure to whet your Christmas appetite.
After sharing in the Christmas spirit by joining the carol singers on their traditional Christmas tour of his local village, Hugh starts on his Three Ways with a Christmas Goose, making three dishes from the one goose.
Hugh then follows local hedge witch Star, deep into the ancient Dorset wood in search of a yule log, traditionally burnt on Christmas Eve to bring fertility and spirit for the coming year. Back at River Cottage, the boys arrive with a gallon or two of this years vintage and after plenty of mulled cider, they dig into sandwiches made from Hugh’s cider-marinated ham and a slice or two of the stuffed goose neck.
Once the boys stagger off into the night, Hugh is left to dream of the presents Santa will be bringing him as he snoozes in front of the yule log blazing in the River Cottage hearth.... Read more.