With Christmas shopping reaching its peak, Soil Association Scotland is supporting organic businesses by guiding customers to a more sustainable Christmas with a brand new online Organic Christmas Market.
In the first of its kind, Soil Associations Organic Christmas Market allows shoppers to skip the high street rush and source organic produce from the comfort of their own home. The Market can be searched by product type or by location, linking up even the most remote organic businesses with those who are looking for a more ethical Christmas in the click of a button.
Particularly over the last 15 years, awareness of organic principles, and the underlying philosophy of producing natural food without harming the planet has blossomed and become much more mainstream. In support of this, sales of organics, online and through box schemes, increased 11.6% in 2014  providing a great foundation for which Soil Association’s Organic Christmas Market can capitalise on.
Clare McDermott, Business Development Director of Soil Association Certification said:
“Our Organic Christmas Market will be the biggest yet, helping to grow the market and encourage people to buy gorgeous food and gifts that don’t cost the earth. We’re supporting our licensees and providing people with a much larger variety of organic produce right at their fingertips. With our online marketplace it’s even easier for organic businesses to reach new customers during the festive period. The marketplace is free for Soil Association Certification licensees to upload information to and we want as many businesses as possible to get involved in our 12 Days of Christmas on social media to help share the reasons why organic food and farming is good for wildlife and biodiversity.”
Lindsay Girvan, founder of Grow Wild – certified by Soil Association Scotland, has noticed an improvement in the organic industry since starting up in 1998.
“It has been very satisfying to be part of the organic movement. I’m delighted that I now rarely get asked ‘what is organic and can you send me a fact sheet?’, but rather ‘which organic certification body are you licensed by?’. It is clear things are moving in the right direction and I look forward to further changes to come. I am proud to be a part of Scotland’s organic industry.”
The Grow Wild team works closely with local organic growers and suppliers, allowing them to offer a fantastic range of options to customers. The team brings in in fresh organic produce several times a week from their own farm, local farms and from further afield. Getting fresh, local, Scottish produce delivered to your door has never been easier.
Lindsay offers some alternative organic recipes to spice up your Christmas dinner. All ingredients are organic where possible to make your Christmas better for people, animals and the planet.
Roast Turkey (make sure to check temperature and timings)
A 4-4.5kg organic turkey will be perfect for around eight people with some leftovers. It will take about 3½ -4 hours to cook followed by around an hour (minimum) for resting.
In advance, make all your delicious stuffings. We use the best ingredients, organic pork mince for a meat-eater option, and the freshest of organic vegetables and plump zesty fruit (wax free skins are a must) for vegetarian. Simply make your stuffing into balls and pop them into the oven during the final hour of cooking when you are roasting your potatoes. If you haven’t had enough meat already, make sure you don’t forget to cook your pigs in blankets at this stage too!
- Preheat your oven to very hot – 230°C.
- Place your turkey on a large roasting tray, rub it all over inside and out with butter and season well. Place an onion, a large handful of your favourite herbs, and a lemon cut in two, into the cavity of the turkey. Turn the bird upside down, so that it is breast down, and cover with tinfoil and place in the preheated oven.
- After 15 minutes, pour a glass or two of vermouth or white wine over the turkey and turn the heat down to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Roast for the calculated time**, or until the juices run clear from the thigh when you pierce with a knife or skewer.
- Remove the tinfoil and turn the bird breast side up for the last 45 minutes to brown.
- Carefully lift the turkey out of the tray and rest on a board that’s covered loosely with foil for at least an hour. Skim the surface fat from the roasting tray, leaving you with fantastic juices. Add a couple of tablespoons of flour and approximately 1 litre of stock (either made using the giblets, or vegetable stock). Bring to the boil on a high heat on a hob, stirring continuously. If you have it, add a good spoonful of redcurrant jelly – it gives the gravy a wonderfully rich flavour.
- Carve your turkey and serve with the gravy and all the trimmings.
**Please refer to the information on the British Turkey Information Service (www.britishturkey.co.uk) for calculated cooking times and temperatures.
Festive Brussel Tops
400-500g sprout tops – washed and sliced
5 shallots – peeled and thinly sliced
A handful of walnuts – roughly chopped and lightly toasted
A good dollop of butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
- Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the sprout tops for around five minutes until tender, then drain well.
- Meanwhile, sauté the shallots in the butter for three minutes until soft.
- Throw in the sprout tops and walnuts, and finally season well.
Celeriac Remoulade (perfect with meat, along with simple boiled potatoes)
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp organic double cream
1 tbsp baby capers
1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
- Peel the celeriac and chop into fine matchsticks or grate the celeriac in a food processor.
- Mix through the rest of the ingredients, adding the finely chopped parsley to taste. The amount of mayonnaise and cream required will vary depending on the size of the celeriac. Season to taste.
Pickled Cucumber (great with cold glazed ham)
Cucumber – halved lengthways and thinly chopped into half-moons
1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp sea salt
Fresh dill – a good handful, very finely chopped
Combine all ingredients and serve immediately or leave to marinade
Cauliflower Puree with Cheese
500g cauliflower florets, stalks mostly removed
300ml double or whipping cream
150g Godminster Cheddar or Scottish Smoked Dunlop cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Knob of butter
Preheat oven to 180c/350f/gas 4
- Cook the cauliflower in boiling water until very soft. Strain and place into oven on a tray to dry out for 5 mins.
- Heat the cream and butter, add the grated cheese and season well.
- Add the creamy cheese mix and dried cauliflower to a blender and puree.
Apple Sauce (for the perfect pork dish)
900g sliced and cored apples
4-5 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp brown or caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon
- Place the sliced apple in a saucepan with the water and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 12-15 minutes until the apples have softened.
- Stir in the sugar, whisk in the cubes of butter and keep warm. If cold apple sauce required, omit the butter.
Smoked Paprika, Mustard and Maple Glaze (ideal for a Boxing Day ham)
200ml maple syrup
2 tbsp mustard
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Mix the glaze ingredients in a jug.
- When the ham is boiled and is ready to go into a hot oven, pour half the glaze over the ham fat, roast for 15 mins, then pour over the rest and return to the oven for another 35 mins. Baste with the pan juices 3-4 times as it bakes.
Port Glazed Shallots
30 shallots, peeled
3 tbsp caster sugar
175ml red wine
600ml/1 pint beef or vegetable stock
1 fresh bay leaf
1 lemon, zest only
1 tsp dried thyme
- Simmer the shallots gently for 4-5 minutes in a pan of boiling water to soften then drain.
- Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the shallots and fry gently until golden-brown for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the sugar and stir until it melts and begins to caramelize. Make sure the shallots are coated by the mix.
- Mix the wine, port and stock together in a bowl. Add a quarter of the wine mixture to the pan with the shallots and bring to a boil, then add the bay leaf and lemon zest. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, then continue to simmer until the liquid has reduced to a glaze. Add some more of the wine mixture to the pan and simmer again until the liquid has reduced to a glaze. Add the remaining liquid bit by bit, reducing each time, until the shallots are coated in the glaze.
Grow Wild offer one off, weekly or monthly organic box schemes. Boxes come in a range of sizes catering for all families and can be a mix of fruit and veg or one or the other. Prices for a small box start from £12.95, a medium from £17.75, a large from £25 and a large family box from £32.95. For more information on Grow Wild visit www.growwild.co.uk/ or call 01506 656544.
Visit the Organic Christmas Market at www.soilassociation.org/Christmas.
Follow Soil Association’s #OrganicChristmas campaign on Twitter @SoilAssociation.