December

December feels like the end of days.

God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December.

J.M.Barrie
Woodland

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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.

In nature

For more inspiration see the Nature Blog

On the Farm

Ploughing

Feeding of livestock. Continued daily livestock work.

General repairs about the farm. Fencing, tree and hedge work.

Spray cereals.

Mossy post

Things to do in December

In the December garden

What to plant and sow

Gardening hints

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Out and about

Also see the Out and about Blogs

Days and nights draw even.

The Jurassic Coast is a hugely diverse and beautiful landscape underpinned by incredible geology of global importance.
The jurassic coast, Dorset

Recipe of the month.

Venison Casserole

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.

Ingredients

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

50g/2oz cornflour

Rosemary or thyme

Equipment.

Large lidded casserole dish

Preparation

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.

Cooking

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

A gate on a footpath with views across fields to a wood.

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.

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December in pictures

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