December feels like the end of days.
God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December.J.M.Barrie
Notable Dates in December
4th December – New Moon
11th December – The Great Christmas Pudding Race
19th December – Full Moon
21st December – Winter Solstice
24th December – Christmas Eve
25th December – Christmas Day
26th December – Boxing Day
27th December – Bank Holiday (Christmas Day substitute).
28th December – Bank Holiday (Boxing Day substitute).
31st December – Hogmanay / New years Eve
31st December – Stonehaven Fireball Festival
December seasonal Foods
What is seasonal in December.
Greens and leaves: Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Lettuce, Pak choi, Radicchio, Salsify.
Roots and other veg: Beetroot, Celery, Celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke, Leek, Onion, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Quince, Spring onion, Swede, Sweet potato, Turnip.
Meat: Beef, Chicken, Duck, Grouse, Goose, Lamb, Pork, Venison.
Fruit: Bramley Apple, Chestnut, Cranberry, Pear.
Seafood: Mussels, Oyster.
Exotics: Banana, Clementine, Date, Grapefruit, Pomegranate.
For more inspiration see the Nature Blog
On the Farm
Feeding of livestock. Continued daily livestock work.
General repairs about the farm. Fencing, tree and hedge work.
Things to do in December
In the December garden
What to plant and sow
Out and about
Also see the Out and about Blogs
Days and nights draw even.
Recipe of the month.
Venison, Rich, lean and sustainable. Traditionally that food of nobles, now an accessible treat.
Entirely seasonal for the winter, a rich tasty caserole to warm as winter sets in.
1 tbsp oil plus 25g/1oz butter or equivalent of lard or dripping.
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
500g/1Ib 2oz mushrooms, halved
2.5kg/5½lb haunch or shoulder of venison, diced
½ bottle red wine
400ml/14fl oz water beef stock
3 tbsp seasonal condiment ( redcurrant jelly, cranberry or similar)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Rosemary or thyme
Large lidded casserole dish
Get venison to room temperature (defrost if required – 24 hours in the fridge is best, then leave at room temp away from heat for a few hours). Dice.
Prep veg. Slice bacon.
Make the stock if using Power, cubes or concentrate.
On the hob, heat the oil and butter (or other fats) in a large lidded casserole dish. Add the onions and cook until softened, but not browned.
Scoop out into a bowl for the next stage.
Brown the venison a handful at a time in the casserole. You may need to batch this. Then add the garlic, bacon, and mushrooms and cook for a further minute. Reintroduce the onions.
Add the red wine, stock, a sprig or two or Rosemary and/or thyme, the seasonal condiment, the salt, and the pepper.
Bring to the boil and stir well. Put the lid on the casserole and place in the middle of the oven – cook for 90 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Make a paste with the cornflour and two tablespoons of water. Add as much of the paste to the casserole as is needed to thicken the sauce – add a little at a time if you are not sure how much you will need.
Transfer the casserole to the hob, and, on a low heat, cook until the gravy has thickened.
Serve with Potato or root mash, leafy greens like kale, or Brussels sprouts.
For more inspiration see the Food Blogs
Activities, things to see and do in December
With lengthening days arise more opportunities to get out and about. To see what is happening in nature and the countryside. There is also a lot more to see as they year really starts to get going.
Thinking about getting out and about, then perhaps Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey to discover new places or see the latest handheld GPS devices with bundled mapping from Ordnance Survey.