Things you can do in October

October is the perfect month to get ahead of the game in the kitchen, leaving December free to enjoy the countdown to Christmas.

Whether you’re making to gift for someone special, or just for your own stores, now is the time to take advantage of nature’s bounty. This time of year is perfect for foraging for ingredients. Get picking, cooking, pickling and preserving ready for the festive season.

Here is some inspiration for you, most of these ingredients litter the surrounding hedgerows on North Yorkshire.

These are our top ten culinary tips to get you ahead of the game this Christmas

There hadn’t been a frost yet which, legend has it, softens the skins and helps release the berries’ juices. Instead you can freeze them which also saves on the laborious task of pricking each of the tiny fruit with a blackthorn or sterilised dressmaking pin.

After sterilising your airtight bottles (or jars), half fill them with the frozen fruit and top up with a good quality gin before adding two big spoonful’s of caster sugar and shaking gently for a minute. Then, lay the bottles on their side in a cool dark place and turn every day or so for two months. By Christmas the sloe gin should be a gorgeous dark pink colour ready to use in any number of ways.

1. Damson Jelly

A great accompaniment to roast meats – harvest late September / early October – BBC Good Food have a great recipe.

BBC Good Food have a great recipe.

2. Quince ‘Cheese’

Divine with manchego and other hard cheeses, especially those made with sheep’s (ewes) milk – harvest the quince, once ripe, throughout October - we like Simply Food’s recipe.

3. Sloe Gin

Once ripe, pick sloes after the first frost (usually sometime in October) or freeze them instead. A great addition to the shooting bag for a little pick me up on a cold morning.

4. Christmas Pudding

With so many combinations to choose from, we think you should get a mug of hot chocolate, curl up on the sofa and do some leg work of your own.

5. Braised Red Cabbage

Freezing actually improves the flavour of this seasonal classic - BBC Good Food's recipe is perfect.

6. Make ahead Mince Pies

Homemade mince pies that can be frozen in the trays and either defrosted and then cooked or cooked from frozen – we love this recipe from BBC Good Food.

7. Brandy Butter

This recipe from BBC Good Food uses normal Brandy, but you could try using a local flavoured spirit instead.

8. Organise your Christmas party

If you’re planning a party at home or work then now is the time to book it!

We have a festive Christmas Party Menu running some weekends in December or can arrange a bespoke set menu for you. Please call to discuss. Also, following the success of last year, we will be holding a NYE Dinner Party. However we are limited to 30 spaces, so make sure you reserve you table now before they sell out. Feat Live Acoustic music and free fizz at midnight!!!

01748 825122