In Season: Festive fare

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Related tags: Marketing manager, Cooking, Salmon

Rob Kennedy, trade marketing manager, M&J Seafood: Fresh availability of fish and seafood during December is notoriously difficult. However, Sea...

Rob Kennedy, trade marketing manager, M&J Seafood​: Fresh availability of fish and seafood during December is notoriously difficult. However, Sea Bass, fished in the wild between August and March, is being successfully farmed in the Mediterranean. As a result, we are seeing a plentiful supply of it all year round, at a considerably more affordable price.

Farmed Sea Bass has a slightly higher fat content of, making it ideal for Christmas parties and functions. The flavour stands on its own or with stronger accompaniments, and it's best grilled or pan fried.

Farmed fishing techniques and sustainable fisheries have helped to breath life into depleted wild salmon stocks, making it very affordable and allowing for ample supply of a classic Christmas favourite; smoked salmon. Originally devised as a method of preserving fish, smoking also adds a different dimension to the taste and texture.

John Martin, product marketing manager, Prime Meats​: With Christmas approaching, the spotlight has to be on turkey. As in previous years, there's a choice between British and EU chilled turkey. Although feed prices have come down over recent weeks, this year's Christmas turkey stock has been partly raised in a period when feed prices were sky high so turkey is more expensive than last year.

Boneless butterflies and single breast lobes are great for pubs - quick to cook, easier to handle and carve, whilst they take up less oven space and produce no waste. If you're carving front of house then a turkey crown is a great option. Part boned and trimmed leaving mostly breast meat, this high yielding format carves and presents beautifully thanks to the remaining bone structure.

Finally, for something a little different, why not offer goose, duck, pheasant, venison or other game on your menu. Christmas falls right in the heart of the season for many game species so they are at their freshest and best around now and add something a little bit special to your menu.

Rachel Sewter, Pauleys marketing manager:​ No Christmas menu is complete without the presence of the humble brussels sprout.

Look for firm, bright green sprouts. If over-cooked, brussels can become mushy and produce a distasteful odour, however, if cooked until just tender, sprouts have a wonderfully nutty flavour and pleasing texture.

To ensure large sprouts cook in the middle without being overdone on the outside, simply use a sharp knife to cross the base; this is usually not necessary with smaller sprouts.

We suggest serving a side dish of brussels with bacon. Simply simmer the sprouts, making sure they are still slightly al dente. Meanwhile cut streaky bacon into strips and fry until golden. Add the sprouts and a little butter to the pan and lightly fry until slightly browned on each side. Brussels are not suited to being kept warm for long periods of time so serve immediately after cooking.

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