Win! Extra Special Christmas goodies from Leith’s and ASDA

Last week we visited Leith’s in west London, to sample some of the delights that Leith’s have selected from the ASDA range as their top hits for Christma in the “Extra Special” range.. It’s an interesting partnership, as I think we have some ideas in our minds about which supermarkets are more ‘foodie’ than others – I certainly did. However most of us nowadays are looking for both certain standards of ingredients and value for money so this arrangement looks promising. Leith’s were frank about their unwillingness to compromise on quality and it’s going to be interesting to see what these two ostensibly different animals will come up as the relationship develops over the next eighteen months.

We prepared a three course meal using combinations of the products from the range and lots of help from the lovely Leith’s staff. Our display went a bit awry when it became clear we’d sampled some of the honey and mustard baked sausages (but we were huuuuuuungry!) Lesson learned: next time eat three of the dozen in the pack and leave a nice presentable nine.

They still tasted good. We made fast cheaty canapés using some of the ingredients in the range, such as goats’ cheese and walnut topped crostini, drizzled with yet more honey, and peppered smoked salmon flaked into cream cheese and loaded up with horseradish. Main course was beautifully cooked venison which, heretical as it would be to my family, I could see as an alternative main course for the 25th. Not in my house, but I understand some people aren’t fans of turkey?!

And just in time for the big day, ASDA and Leith’s are offering one lucky winner a huge hamper full of Extra Special Goodies. The long list includes:

Christmas pudding, All-Butter Mini mince pies, Hazelnut & Fruit Stollen, Yule Log, Roast Pork and Crackling Hand Cooked Crisps (beware, these are more addictive than crack), Forest Fruit Butter Crumbles, Applewood Smoked Cheddar and winter chutney Hand Cooked Crisps, Fairtrade Columbian Roast and Ground Coffee, Artisan Biscuits for Cheese, Florentines, Black olive Breadsticks, Continental Delicacies, Gruyere and poppy seed twists, All butter Sundried Tomato and cheese Crumbles, Cava, Cranberry Sauce, Caramelised Onion Chutney, and to top it all off, a jar of Goosefat!

How to enter:

Leave a comment on this post or on the OMG Facebook page, answering this question:

Q: What will you be eating on Christmas Day?

Edited to add: The winner of this competition is J. Kelly, who commented on Facebook: “Chicken!! We have chicken & topside beef. I don’t mind turkey, but for the price I would have to LOVE it :) So, we have chicken, beef, two kinds of gravy. All the trimming, 100’s of Yorkshire puddings (home-made of course) & my absolute favourite… Pigs in Blankets. Asda’s are the very best!!”

Congrats to you!

Terms and Conditions:

  1. This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 who live in the UK.
  2. The competition opens at 13:30 on 6 December 2011 and closes at 23:59 on 14 December 2011.
  3. There are two ways to enter – by answering the posed question on this page or on the OMG Facebook page. You may enter using each method once, for a total of two entries per person.
  4. The winner will be chosen via a random number generator.
  5. The winner will be contacted by e-mail, if they do not respond within 3 days another winner may be chosen.
  6. There is one prize of a hamper of ASDA Extra Special products, as listed though the promoter reserves the right to make substitutions if necessary.
  7. This competition is being run in good faith on behalf of ASDA, who will be responsible for sending the prize to the winner. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. They reserve the right to substitute the prize for one of a similar type / value if the prize above is not available.
  8. Instructions form part of the terms and conditions and by entering you’re agreeing to participate under these terms and conditions.
  9. Entries using any software or automated process to make bulk entries will be disqualified.

Clarence Court Eggs and the Heston Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding

What could be better than having Mark Hix expound personally on why he recommends Clarence Court eggs at a select tasting in the private dining room at Hix Soho? Better than doing a blind comparison of three egg brands via steaming plates of creamy scrambled and perfectly presented boiled eggs? Better than the eggselent* three course eggy menu that was served up to us afterwards?
The answer is “Taking home 2 doz eggs in an Orla Kiely goodie bag”. BRING IT ON.

Mark Hix talked to us about why he’s a Clarence Court Ambassador (partly the vivid yellow colour of the egg yolks – as he said, you eat with your eyes too), chattered about the modern art (all of the art in the restaurant was specially commissioned) and we had Tonnix wine to drink (a collaboration between him and Mitch Tonks, conceived over a lunch at their mutual Portuguese wine merchant, label designed by their mate Tracey Emin) and tried different a trio of egg dishes.  I loved the posset which surprised me – usually not a fan of that type of dessert.

I’m already a fan of Clarence Court’s Burford Browns, and as it happened we’d just shopped so I was looking at a fridge containing 36 eggs. It’s not that big a fridge. First off, a luxurious Saturday breakfast of boiled duck egg and sourdough toast. (if only we’d had truffles too we could have tried to recreate our favourite Tristan Welch starter at Launceston Place) After 5:40 mins precisely as mandated by Delia, they were little pools of yolky sunshine and my only complaint was I hadn’t been offered two of them. The chef pointed out that they’re bigger than chicken eggs. I  tried to nick some of his and had to make do with purloining toast.

I’d contemplated making quail scotch eggs but on an evening when I knew I had to use up 500g of mince, the boyf had an inspired idea: thanks to his flicking through Nigella’s “Kitchen“, we ended up with Meatloaf.

Rather than the chicken eggs which she naturally suggests, I used one duck egg to bind it all admirably and nestled 10 hardboiled quail eggs into the centre of the meat. It works a treat as every slice has a reasonable allocation of egg throughout.

Finally I decided to attempt my grandmother’s custard to finish the eggs – I reckoned it would be the perfect accompaniment to something else in the fridge – the Heston from Waitrose Hidden Orange Pudding. I’d been thrilled when Waitrose sent me one and then hesitated to open it. My Dad *loves* Christmas pudding and I knew I’d be very popular if I brought it home.
Like “home”, home.
To Ireland, for Christmas. That was a month away at that stage.
Boo. Then Helen kindly said she had lots left over in her fridge and gave me some, and I get to be awarded the “Best Daughter” prize. Win!!

I have to admit, I really liked the pud. Mainly because it smelled just like the one my Mum makes, so it was going to be a winner, though Mum’s pud has certainly never strayed anywhere near an orange, and it’s honestly nothing like a Sussex Pond Pudding (one of my colleagues pointed out that that was where the inspiration probably came from) but I like the whole nuts and the sweetness – it was rather less stodgy than Christmas pud can regrettably be.  Famously, it sold out and there wouldn’t be any more on offer as they take too long to mature.  That makes feel almost churlish saying how well it went with proper egg custard, made with one of the last Burford Browns.

Ingredients

  • 1 Burford Brown egg yolk, at room temperature.
  • 10 g sugar
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod or vanilla essence to taste

Method

  1. Mix the milk and sugar in a saucepan
  2. Put the vanilla seeds or essence into the mixture to infuse and then bring it slowly to the boil
  3. Beat the egg yolk
  4. Slowly pour the hot mixture over the egg yolk , beating constantly so the yolk doesn’t curdle
  5. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk constantly while heating gently until it coats the back of the spoon.

Now it’s on to a dry January, and a vast stacked of Post-It’d book marks.  Lots of new recipes to try this year.