Sudi Pigott’s festive food news round up for south-west London featuring Upstairs at Trinity, We Brought Beer, where to buy your turkey and three of the best pannettone…
FESTIVE FEAST: WHERE TO BUY THE TURKEY
I’m a huge fan of Paul Kelly of Kelly Bronze turkeys having seen for myself their vast pastures and woodlands and tasted their excellent texture and rich taste. Make life easier and avoid queuing by ordering via Abel & Cole along with all the necessities from a veg box to ultra decadent mince pies respendent with apple and brandy, plus fig and chocolate pannetone. Good to have on stand-by too are the Authentic Bread Company, ready to bake loaves for extra last minute guests. The apricot and honey loaf would be delicious with their Cropwell Bishop stilton.
RESTAURANT REVIEW: UPSTAIRS AT TRINITY, CLAPHAM
There’s a likeable stripped back riff to Upstairs at Trinity with seating only at high wooden perches and a box of cutlery left for diners to help themselves and tuck in as the small plates arrive from the open kitchen/grill. Such a hands-off approach has its own charm and the staff are incredibly knowledgeable and friendly in talking through the short menu which changes daily. With all British/Med dishes priced £5-£10 and incredibly alluring for foodies, it is tempting to order everything and we almost do between three of us. Aubergine and ricotta dip comes with baby carrots with long green tendrils and carta di musica. Deep fried veal bolognese croquettes are incredibly moreish. Bone marrow is smartly partnered with piquant green sauce and tongue. Best of all is pork belly with cobnuts and romanesco broccoli and to finish Morbier cheese with dried pears and more carta di musica. There’s an interesting short wine list including several wines “on tap”. Booking is essential.
4 The Polygon, Clapham SW4 OJG; trinityrestaurant.co.uk
CHRISTMAS CHEER AT WE BROUGHT BEER, BATTERSEA & BALHAM
A radical idea for Christmas drinking is to pair a craft beer with the festive spread. Try Brooklyn Winter Ale which is richly malty, aromatic, full-bodied with lightly roasted and caramelised flavours – it would be great with stilton or Christmas pud. I was blown away by a visit to the second We Brought Beer in Clapham which stocks more than 400 craft beers from all over the world. According to owner James Hickson, more women are drinking craft beers than ever before and many of their customers are wielding buggies not tattoos. The buzz term to know is growler – a vessel for taking home draught beers from a growler station which dispenses the beers, seals them with CO2 so they keep their effervescence.
78 St John’s Hill, Battersea SW11 1SP; 28 Hildreth Street, Balham SW12 9RQ; webroughtbeer.co.uk
FREEKAH IS MY NEW FAVOURITE INGREDIENT
Freekah is my latest must-use ingredient discovery and perfect for salads when catering for large parties, as it is even simpler to cook than rice. Do opt for Belazu’s non-soak cracked variety. Freekah is wheat that is harvested whilst young and green then roasted over an open fire. The straw and chaff are burnt and rubbed off so what’s left is a firm, slightly chewy grain with a distinct flavour that’s earthy, nutty and slightly smoky. Cook simply in vegetable or chicken stock with thyme for added flavour. Try combining with roasted aubergine, roasted pepper, ricotta, mint, pomegranate and toasted almonds with pomegranate molasses, orange and cinnamon dressing. Freekah has more protein and fibre than quinoa, it is low fat and works as a prebiotic as well as being a powerhouse of iron, calcium and zinc. A secret weapon for surviving Christmas parties.
An Italian sweet bread with a golden crust risen three times which makes it light and stretchy and gives it a distinctive cupola shape. Delicious straight up or warmed and served with a brandy sauce. Any leftovers can be turned into panettonne and butter pudding.
1 Carluccio’s Panettone Tradizionale £16.95 for 1kg. Golden hued, fluffy bread with a generous amount of fruit. It has a beautiful hazelnut glaze, amaretti crust and citrus aroma giving it beautiful flavour. Brewhouse Street, Putney Wharf SW15 2JQ;
020 8789 0541; carluccios.com
2 Waitrose Prosecco Panettone £10 for 750g.
A classic panettonne with subtly fruity and citrus aroma and plenty of juicy sultanas in pleasingly fluffy bread with a just discernible taste of prosecco. Simple yet good. waitrose.com
3 Valentina Panettone made by Loison family. £16.95 for 750g. Made by the same family over three generations only in November-December and raised over three days, this is beautifully light and delicate with a good amount of candied peel and not too sweet. 75 Upper Richmond Road, Putney SW15 2SR 0208 877 9906; valentinafinefoods.co.uk