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Merry Christmas from Nourish

We met this reindeer at Daylesford Organic Farm

This year has felt momentous in many ways. Our Nourish team has accomplished so much – held many wonderful Nourish Afternoon Teas, taken our Nourish horse box on the road to spread our message, and met incredible, passionate, caring professionals on the way, from the dementia specialist Admiral Nurses to nurses and carers in homes in Ireland. We’ve been all around the country, connecting with like-minded individuals who want to become Nourish Champions and care for those they love in a better way. But we’ve also lost people close to us and seen our friends and family go through tough times. Many of us have made big changes – my daughter Maya and I, for example, have decided to leap into the unknown of home schooling, so that she can further her dream of becoming the best show jumper she can possibly be. She’s even set her sights on the Olympics, and why not? To my mind, life is too short and precious not to grab every moment with passion.

As Christmas Day draws ever closer, I’ve found myself yearning for a restful time just being with those I care about. We will hold our annual village carols outside around the piano with a bonfire burning. Everyone joins in without shyness as, in the darkness, no one can tell who is singing which note. We’ll keep going as long as I can feel my fingers to play the keys, then we’ll thaw out inside by the Aga with cups of tea and my mum’s legendary mince pies. We have a treasured pooch staying too, called Gripper, so we intend to spend hours stomping through the fields and around the lake with him. We will celebrate Christmas Day with our family, where I suspect Dad will be in his element playing the silly party games we traditionally enjoy. As my dad is living with dementia, we’ve found the condition takes its toll when the inevitable chaos of the festivities kick in, so he needs some quiet time every afternoon to recharge his batteries. The fatigue always makes him more anxious and discombobulated, so it’s a good routine to get into, and Mum can then recharge a little, too.

Dad seems to be having more of an issue swallowing now, so the menu needs to be softer than previous years. I’m planning on a smoked trout mousse starter with some thinly sliced dill pickles. The main course will be handed to my brother and sister-in-law, who cook turkey to perfection, along with soft puréed vegetables and cauliflower cheese, baked in ramekins. For pudding, there will be a seasonal fruit or chocolate roulade. As I have a savoury rather than a sweet tooth, I’d much prefer a slice of delicious cheese, so I’ll make my traditional trip to La Fromagerie in Marylebone for a selection that always includes a mature Comte, delicious with a slither of pear and some fresh walnuts, and a Vacherin.

I’m aiming to keep Christmas as simple and recharging as possible (famous last words, maybe!) as I don’t want anything more than to be with Maya and my family, to stop and breathe and reflect on the year we’ve had, and make plans for what is going to be the most exciting year ahead of us as a Nourish team. Watch this space!

Take a look at our delicious, soft recipes, perfect for anyone with a small appetite or swallowing difficulties this Christmas…

Brussels sprouts & nutmeg purée
Carrot & potato butter mash
Baked quince
Lemon & chicken sauce
Cauliflower cheese

Poussin with a lemon & herb coating
Chicken & tarragon mousse
Slow-cooked salmon, dill & cream cheese mousse
Smoked trout & dill pâté
Baked Vacherin cheese
Butternut squash, chestnut & Parmesan risotto

Pomegranate jelly
Crème fraîche panna cotta
Dark chocolate delice with a mulled cherry compote
Chestnut soufflé with chocolate & Armagnac sauce
Clementine sorbet

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