Festive Tips From Rosie Dicker
If you want some festive food inspiration or advice on serving the perfect dinner this Christmas, then our ambassador chef is here to help. Lincolnshire-based Rosie Dicker has created a selection of delicious dishes using our quality products to suit a range of tastes and budgets in time for the Christmas season.
Rosie, who is Cordon-Bleu trained, has 25 years of experience having worked in several commercial kitchens around the county and as a private chef. She now runs Rosie’s Kitchen, an outside catering and pop-up restaurant company based in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Rosie says her love of food was fostered at an early age while spending time with her grandparents.
“Looking back, my ethics and approach to food came from walking to my grandparents’ house after school” she said. “They had an amazing home. Everyone who came to their door was shown hospitality. The door was always open, even in the winter.”
“I must say, I don’t have a single recipe from my grandma – she and my granddad had such an effect on me. It was more to do with the feelings around food and hospitality rather than literal recipes.”
Rosie explained how her approach to food is more about the classics than “reinventing the wheel“.
She says: “I suppose you could call my food classic but contemporary at the same time. I feel very strongly about doing what I do but well and not reinventing the wheel. I’m all about eating for flavour and season, that’s one of my philosophies. If you give it some good energy and love, you won’t go far wrong.”
That advice transfers readily when it comes to preparing your Christmas turkey. Rosie recommends slathering the bird in seasoned butter the night before and leaving it in the fridge overnight. She says: “On the day of cooking, remove the bird from the fridge about two hours before it needs to go in the oven, so it is at room temperature.”
“Just before you pop the bird in the oven, pour two cups of boiling water into the cooking tray and cavity of the bird and double wrap with tin foil. This will help to retain all of the flavour and moisture of your turkey.”
For many of us, enjoyment of the season is centred around food and socialising, and Rosie says she is no different, despite this being one of her busiest times. “As chefs, we are always waiting for the next season, the next bounty of ingredients. Transitioning from one season to another gives us the time to slowly ease into what awaits.”
“Winter brings with it a different style of cooking. Food changes totally in the winter – we go from alfresco dining to eating inside, feasting on food that has been roasted and slow-cooked. Dishes have a different energy because of the weather, largely.”
The festive season is often a time of nostalgia, too. Rosie says she can remember the sights and smells of her grandparents’ home at this time of the year. “In the back kitchen, as we called it, there was a double door fridge. There were always sausages hanging in there, some sort of feathered birds and nearly always beef too. The smell was incredible – it has always stayed with me. It will do forever.”
As with any busy kitchen, Rosie recalls the aftermath of cooking with her grandad seemingly always at the kitchen sink.
“Grandad always seemed to be washing up” she says. “There was stuff everywhere. We loved it as kids. And, of course, there was always something coming out from the oldest Aga. There was a true taste of winter in that kitchen. The warmth of the Aga, the kettle always on – it was so inviting.
With the festive season now in swing, Rosie hints this is one of her favourite times of the year to be a chef.”
There is ample opportunity to indulge in hearty warming dishes from the rich pickings of the foodie calendar.
“For us to have the luxury of settling into each new season is wonderful, experiencing what each one brings with it,” says Rosie. “Nature waits for no one and it is an incredible thing. What more do we need? Food, warmth and a roof.“
Christmas Recipes From Lakings
Don’t forget to order your Christmas turkey for delivery by DPD or collection from our Louth shop, as well as shopping our full range of Lincolnshire-sourced produce for festive feasting, hampers, food gifts, cheeses and pantry-fillers.