Rack of Ballinwillin wild boar

Rack of Ballinwillin wild boar

Venison last year for Christmas dinner so I wondered what I could do for something different this year. I settled on wild boar from Ballinwillin House Farm in County Cork, Ireland. It arrived today, just as requested, brought by DHL (and what an excellent tracking system they have!). There are only two of us so I ordered a four bone rack; it looks great. I especially like the look of that black-speckled skin over the substantial layer of white fat. (I also ordered some belly and both wild boar and venison sausages, so bringing the total cost up to the level meriting free delivery). I will, of course, let you know how it tastes on the day.

A case of stouts and porters

Glass of Dragonhead stout with the bottle

Wonderful beer from Orkney

Another exciting arrival today – a case of stouts and porters from the newest business (apart from my own) in my village of Menston in Wharfedale, Yorkshire.

Both I and my wife like dark beers so when newly-launched the Wharfedale Beer Club offered a case of stouts and porters, delivered to the door, among an amazing range of beers from all over the world, I couldn’t resist ordering a case.

We couldn’t resist immediately trying one either, but rather than the one brewed in the heritage village of Saltaire, just down the road and where I lived as a child, we shared a bottle of Orcadian ‘Dragonhead’. Wonderful! I wonder how many of the other 11 bottles will survive until Christmas. Probably not the ‘Dia de los Muertos’, from Mexico – hope it doesn’t kill me.

To go with the boar, and before and after?

Cooked marinaded prawns

The marinaded prawns after 2-3 minutes a side on a very hot iron pan

Back to Christmas dinner, thinking of what to put with the boar and what to have as a starter and finisher (sweet, that is, before some cheese). The starter is easy: we enjoyed the prawns flambeed in Pernod, recipe from My French Heaven, so much last year we are going to have them again.

As both my wife and I like red cabbage and parsnips very much they will certainly be on the plate in one way or another with the boar. Roast potatoes, roasted in goose fat, are a must too. I’ll be taking the advice of one of the few celebrity chefs I really admire, Michel Roux Jnr; I’ve already bought the Albert Bartlett potatoes.

Pudding is always a problem when it’s just my wife and me; she doesn’t like fruit so Christmas pudding is out, but I’m not very keen on it either. Maybe some kind of cream and meringue with fruit, the latter being left off my wife’s plate. It’s a work in progress.

Cheese? Certainly some Colston Bassett Stilton and some Wensleydale. Others I’ll think more about.