Cook a Kentish feast this Christmas

Kent Life has teamed up with Produced in Kent to deliver up a truly Kentish Christmas lunch, where three locals chefs have each devised two original dishes based on ingredients from the Garden of England to create a really special meal

Cook a Kentish feast this Christmas

Kent Life has teamed up with Produced in Kent to deliver up a truly Kentish Christmas lunch, where three locals chefs have each devised two original dishes based on ingredients from the Garden of England to create a really special meal


From Julie Monkman, Produced in Kent

We’re delighted to be sharing some amazing Christmas recipes from the county’s leading local food advocates who, as you will see from their delicious recipes, really practice what they preach!

Kent Life and Produced in Kent have invited Sam Wydymus from The Coastguard in St Margaret’s Bay, Claire Wood from Woods Restaurant in Tunbridge Wells and Charlie Lakin from The Marquis at Alkham to tickle our festive tastebuds with a truly Kentish Christmas menu. The recipes also come with details of where the ingredients can be sourced in the county from Produced in Kent members.

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Our wonderful Garden of England is home to a vast array of award winning producers and Christmas is a great time to get behind the county’s businesses and sample food and drink that is grown and made right on your doorstep. Not only that, the carbon footprint of this menu is really low so not only are you eating fresh, local and healthy food, you’re being kind to the environment as well!

If you’re looking for some Christmas presents with a difference, why not visit one of 40 Farmers’ Markets in Kent that will be brimming with local produce and artisan crafts. Shopping locally generates nearly double the revenue for the local economy than shopping in a supermarket, yet another reason to support local businesses!

Wishing you a very happy, healthy and tasty festive season from us all at Produced in Kent.




Scallops with roasted Kentish cobnuts, coriander and garlic butter


Kentish Blue and Ashmore Fritters with cider-glazed Kentish veg box veggies (V)

Sam Wydymus, The Coastguard, St Margaret’s Bay


Roast haunch of venison with spiced cranberry and orange sauce

Roast potatoes

Braised red cabbage

Carrot and swede mash

Brussel sprouts

Claire Wood, Woods Restaurant, Tunbridge Wells


Root vegetable, chestnut and watercress Wellington with red wine butter sauce (V)

Charlie Lakin, The Marquis at Alkham


Chocolate and cobnut tart with white chocolate and Baileys sauce and chestnut cr�me fra�che

Claire Wood, Woods Restaurant, Tunbridge Wells


Christmas Pudding souff�, vanilla and Rum ice cream

Charlie Lakin, The Marquis at Alkham



Ashmore cheese

The Cheesemakers of Canterbury, Faversham

Kentish Blue

Kingcott Cheese, Staplehurst 

Pickled walnuts 




Sam Wydymus, The Coastguard, St Margaret’s Bay


Tell us a bit about you

Mother of three, cook, cheese fiend, food broadcaster and political taverner (but not always in that order!). My husband Nigel and I will be celebrating our 10th year of ownership of The Coastguard in 2011.


Any advice for Christmas cooks?

Decide on the things you definitely don’t want to miss out on – the children’s crib side service, opening stockings, The Queen’s speech - and then organise your menu around that!  Try to prep as much in advance as possible and if you really don’t want to spend most of Christmas morning basting, think about cooking quicker dishes. 


What will you be eating this Christmas?

I make individual turkey parcels using fresh turkey breast and cobnut stuffing simply wrapped in bacon.  They take a little bit of prep the day before but then cook in less than half an hour on the top of the stove.  Slice the parcels to make them look amazing on the plate and add the usual trimmings. Infinitely quicker than cooking a whole turkey and, due to the quick cooking, it’s never dry or tasteless. 


Do you get a break at Christmas?

Christmas Day has always been open house to friends and family ever since I was a child, so being open to the public on Christmas morning is just an extension of that!! My children (aged five, two and 12 months) love it as most of their friends turn up from the village, usually dragging their parents who are quite happy to let the children compare presents while the adults have bar nibbles and sup mulled wine.  It’s a lovely atmosphere. Christmas Day is the only day of the year when we shut at 3pm, have a huge meal and then sleep so we’re ready for work first thing on Boxing Day morning. 

Top tip when buying ingredients?

Don’t panic if you can’t find a particular ingredient. Take a minute, think about alternatives and trust your tastebuds. You might come up with an even better combination!


The Coastguard, The Bay, St Margaret’s Bay, Dover CT15 6DY

01304 853176


Claire Wood, head chef, Woods Restaurant, Tunbridge Wells

Tell us a bit about you

I am the owner, along with my father and stepmother, and head chef of Woods Restaurant and Produce Store, in the Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells. Although I have been managing catering operations for more than 20 years, I’ve only really been a chef for six years. I draw inspiration from the seasons and the amazing range of food grown and produced locally.

Any advice for Christmas cooks?

Don’t panic, Christmas is just a roast lunch. Prepare as much as you can in advance. Try to have starters and desserts that can be made the day before. Crossing brussel sprouts leaves them waterlogged and is a complete waste of time. Order your turkey early from a good local butcher. Try to make the condiments yourself (you can do this in advance).

What will you be eating this Christmas?

Probably beef, most chefs have had enough of turkey by Christmas Day!

Do you get a break at Christmas?

We are closed Christmas Day this year so just one day, then back on Boxing Day for all-day brunch service.

Top tip when buying ingredients?

Buy ingredients that are grown locally and in season from small local shops or farms. Don’t buy ready made products or synthetic ingredients.


Woods Restaurant & Produce Store, 64 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TN 01892 614411

Charlie Lakin, The Marquis at Alkham


Tell us a bit about you

I am a farmer’s son, born in Yorkshire, and first came to Kent as head chef at Dunkerley’s in Deal, which was a wonderful introduction to the area. When The Marquis opened in 2008 it gave me a great chance to use local ingredients and introduce my own style of cooking to the south east.

Any advice for Christmas cooks?

Break down the turkey into leg and breasts to cook more evenly and make sure there is plenty of stuffing, everyone loves it!

What will you be eating this Christmas?

Finger foods from M&S - do this every year, I’m sick and fed up of turkey by then!

Do you get a break at Christmas?

Not usually, but I will this year as it is my dad’s 60th birthday on Boxing Day and my daughter Mirabelle’s first  Christmas

Top tip when buying ingredients?

Try to buy local, and fresh. Have a rich-flavoured Christmas pud. You don’t have to stick to the veg stated, maybe try something a bit different like Kolrabi or parsley root for a more aromatic sweeter flavour.


The Marquis at Alkham, Alkham Valley Road, Alkham, near Dover CT15 7DF

01304 873410





Scallops with roasted Kentish cobnuts, coriander and garlic butter (+ pics)

Sam Wydymus, The Coastguard, St Margaret’s Bay

Serves 4

12 large, fresh scallops, preferably in their shells

1 tablespoon Kentish rapeseed oil or other good vegetable oil

50g shelled and roasted Kentish cobnuts

1 small bunch of coriander, leaves only

Handful washed flat-leaf parsley leaves

150g salted butter at room temperature

1 clove of garlic, crushed to a paste

1 unwaxed lemon, zested and juiced

Ask your fishmonger to clean and prepare the scallops but make sure you ask for the shells to take home.You can leave the corral on or off as you wish -  I like to leave it on as it is good to eat and the colour looks lovely against the white and green. Rinse the scallops and the shells to get rid of any sand and put in the fridge.

Roughly chop the cobnuts and place in a blender with the butter, coriander, parsley, garlic, lemon zest and juice and whizz until well combined. Remove from the blender, put it into a container and pop in the fridge until you are ready to use. 

About 10 minutes before you want to eat, remove the butter from the fridge to soften.  Once your guests are seated, put a large frying pan on your highest heat and add the oil. Heat your grill to its highest setting and as soon as it looks really hot, carefully place the scallops in the pan (not touching one another, as you want them to fry not stew!) and sear on one side for a minute. Turn the heat down and turn the scallops over and sear again for a minute. Transfer the scallops back into their shell (the bowl-shaped one rather than the flat) and then spoon a little of the cobnut butter over each one. Place under the grill for another minute or so until the butter is bubbling. Serve straight away.

Sam’s Top Tip

The real secret of this recipe is exceptionally fresh scallops. This is the time to avoid the supermarket fish counter and seek out a good old-fashioned family fishmonger (of which we have several in Kent) and befriend him. He will not only gut, skin and fillet but be a vital source of information, advising on seasonality and even cooking tips.  Not only might you find him cheaper but you’ll be smug in the knowledge you’re supporting our local Kentish day boats rather than the ravaging factory ships of the North Sea

Kentish Blue and Ashmore Fritters with cider-glazed Kentish veg box veggies

Serves 4 as a starter

For the fritters/goug�res

150ml cold water

50g butter cut into small pieces

60g sifted plain flour with a little salt and pepper to taste

2 beaten eggs

50g Kentish blue cheese, grated

50g Ashmore cheese, grated

Pinch cayenne pepper

� tsp mustard powder

Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Put the water and butter into a large saucepan and put on a gentle heat to melt. Once melted, turn up the heat, bring to the boil and then reducing the heat, quickly add the flour while stirring to avoid lumps. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth and starts to come away from the side of the pan. Take off the heat and beat in the eggs a little at a time until you have a glossy paste. Add in the cheese, cayenne and mustard powder and mix well.   

For the veggies

Selection of vegetables from your Kentish veg box, for example but not limited to the following:

4 red and/or yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

2 red onions, chunkily cut

4 courgettes cut into 1cm coins

2 carrots, cut into 5mm coins

1 small head cauliflower broken into florets

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced 

200ml dry Biddenden cider

4 sprigs rosemary/thyme

Kentish rapeseed oil

Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

About an hour before you want to eat, put your oven onto 200�C to pre heat. Place the vegetables into a large roasted tray and just barely coat with a little Kentish rapeseed oil. Add enough cider to cover the bottom of the pan, being careful not to completely drown the vegetables! Season with salt, pepper and a small pinch of sugar, cover with tin foil and bake for about 40 minutes until the vegetables are almost tender. Remove the tinfoil, add the rosemary and return to the oven to reduce any remaining liquid and keep warm while you prepare the fritters. 

With the cheese choux pastry, make plum-sized fritters with either two spoons or by rolling the mixture in your palms. Just before you are ready to eat , drop the fritters into hot oil (about 170�C) and fry for about four minutes or until they are coloured but still a little gooey inside. Drain on kitchen paper.   

Serve the warm vegetables in a bowl with the hot fritters on the top.

Sam’s Top Tip

You’re getting three recipes here for the price of one! Firstly, although I’ve opted for deep-frying the fritters they can also be baked like little cheese choux pastries, giving you two options. And the cider vegetable recipe is really just a guide, as any amount or type of vegetables can be used. So don’t be frightened to bulk it up as it not only makes a great festive vegetarian main course, but any leftovers will be gobbled up by the carnivores as a side to their turkey! 






Roast haunch of venison with cranberry and orange sauce, seasonal vegetables

Claire Wood, Woods Restaurant, Tunbridge Wells

Step-by-step guide

Two days before

Cranberry and orange sauce

450g fresh cranberries

225g caster sugar

Grated rind and juice of two oranges

Place all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan and heat gently, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved. Let it simmer gently until the cranberries start to break up. Leave to cool in pan then store in the fridge.

One day before

Braised red cabbage

1kg red cabbage, shredded

450g Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped small

450g onions, chopped small

1 clove garlic, crushed

� whole nutmeg, grated

� tsp ground cinnamon

� tsp ground cloves

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

15g butter


Place all the dry ingredients in a large casserole dish, pour in the red wine vinegar then add dots of butter on the top. Place a tight lid on the casserole and leave overnight

Carrot and swede mash

1kg carrots, cut into equal sized chunks

1kg swede, cut into equal sized chunks


1 kg Brussel sprouts

Trim the sprouts and leave to one side (do not cross them, it’s a waste of time!)

Roast potatoes

1.5kg floury potatoes such as Maris Piper

Prepare the potatoes and leave in a pan of water overnight

On the day

Place the red cabbage in a low oven and let it cook very slowly in the oven for 2-2 � hours, stirring occasionally. Pre-heat a separate oven to 220�C. Salt the potato water and bring to the boil, boil for five minutes. Meanwhile place a roasting dish with some duck or goose fat in the oven.

Haunch of  venison

2 x 4 � kg haunches of venison

Bunch Rosemary, chopped

Bunch Thyme, chopped

Venison caul fat, enough to cover both Haunches

Root veg

1 bulb garlic, cut in half

1 onion, cut in half

3 glasses of red wine

2 pints venison or beef stock

Season the haunches and rub in the herbs. Cover with the caul fat. In a roasting tin place the root veg, the garlic bulb and the onion, add one glass of wine and place the haunches on top. Place in the oven on the bottom shelf.

Take the goose fat out when really hot and add the drained potatoes, place back in the oven on the top shelf.

After 40 minutes turn the oven down to 170�C. Cover the swede and carrots with water and bring to boil, turn to simmer after 20 minutes.

After a further 40 mins take the haunches out and place somewhere to rest. Put the sprout pan on to boil.

Strain the meat cooking liquor into a saucepan and add the stock and the rest of the wine, boil and let it reduce for the gravy.

Strain the carrot and swede, add a pinch of nutmeg, seasoning and some butter and mash.

Place the sprouts in the pan and boil for seven minutes, strain.

Everything is now ready to serve, carve the venison at the table.

Root vegetable, chestnut and watercress Wellington with red wine butter sauce

Charlie Lakin, The Marquis at Alkham       

Serves 4

2 carrots

2 parsnips

1 celeriac

2 sprigs of thyme

1 swede

2 garlic cloves

30g butter

1x 250g pack of chestnuts

1x 250g bunch water cress

200g shallots, finely diced and sweated

10g sage, shredded

150g white bread crumbs

1 egg

Half tsp of nutmeg

Half tsp ground cumin

250 ml red wine

2 shallots finely diced

1 garlic clove finely chopped

1 stick celery, finely diced

In a muslin cloth: 8 juniper berries, 10 peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp chopped thyme

150g butter, chilled

Puff pastry

Garnish: sprouts, roast onions and baby carrots

Cut the root vegetables into 1.5 cm sticks, all the same length, and gently roast with the butter, garlic and thyme until tender. Leave to one side.

Roughly chop the chestnuts and watercress, bind with all the remaining ingredients except the pastry and veg to form a stuffing. Spread the stuffing on to four sheets of clingfilm to form a square.

Place a bundle of veg in the middle and roll the stuffing to form a sausage. Tie the clingfilm in place and leave in the fridge to set. Wrap the veg and stuffing in the puff pastry and egg wash. Place in a pre heated 190�C oven to bake for 15 to 20 mins

Red wine butter sauce

Reduce by three-quarters the wine with the shallots, garlic, celery and the muslin cloth. Remove the muslin and whisk in the butter and thyme until emulsified, check the seasoning. To serve, trim off the ends of the Wellington. Place in the middle of the plate, arrange the veg around and spoon over the sauce





Chocolate and cobnut tart with Baileys and white chocolate sauce and chestnut cr�me fra�che

Claire Wood, Woods Restaurant, Tunbridge Wells

225g dark chocolate

75g butter

450ml double cream

2 egg yolks

140g roasted cobnuts

For the pastry

250g plain flour

125g butter

1 egg

125g caster sugar

For the Baileys sauce

100ml Baileys

100g white chocolate buttons

For the chestnut cr�me fra�che

250ml cr�me fra�che

1 tablespoon sweetened chestnut pure�


Pre heat oven to 200�C

In a food processor blend the butter until white, add the other ingredients and blend until they come together. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate until the pastry is hard enough to roll out. Roll it out and line a 10-inch pastry case. Line with baking paper and rice or pasta and bake for 10 ninutes. Remove the paper and weights and cook for a further 10 minutes, allow to cool.

Tart filling

Bring the double cream to the boil, pour over the chocolate and butter and stil until chocolate has melted. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then add the egg yolks and cobnuts. Pour mixture into pastry case and refrigerate.

Baileys sauce

Bring the Baileys to the boil then stir in the white chocolate off the heat until melted.

Cr�me fra�che

Add the two ingredients together.

To serve the dessert

Portion the tart and place a slice on each plate. Bring the Baileys sauce to room temperature and serve a teardrop spoon on each plate.Add a spoonful of cr�me fraiche to each portion.

Christmas pudding souff�, vanilla and Rum ice cream

Charlie Lakin, The Marquis at Alkham       

Serves 6

For the ice cream

250ml double cream

250ml full fat milk

1 vanilla pod

6 egg yolks

50g caster sugar

50ml rum, more if a stronger flavour is required

For the souffl�  

300g Christmas pudding

75g raisins

1 cox apple, grated

5g orange zest

8 egg whites

80g sugar

Cinnamon sugar & softened butter to line souffl� ramekins

For the ice cream

First boil the cream, milk and vanilla pod. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar and pour over the cream, gently mixing into the egg mix. Return to the heat and gently cook until the custard coats the back of the spoon. Add the rum and pass through a sieve, leave to cool. When cool, churn in an ice cream machine and set in the freezer.

For the souffl�

Puree the Christmas pudding in a food processor.

Mix the raisins, apple, and orange zest and gently cook for five minutes. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the sugar and whisk until stiff.

Half fill the prepared souffl� dishes with the mix. Add a spoonful of the cooked fruit (and maybe a small coin for tradition), then top with the remaining mix and smooth over with a pallet knife. Gently remove a small rim of the mix to ensure an even rise.

Place in a 190�C oven for seven minutes, until well risen. Serve immediately with a scoop of the ice cream


To accompany your cheese course, what could be tastier than tucking into some pickled walnuts as an accompaniment?



With the fish starter


Chapel Down Pinot Blanc 2009

An aromatic Pinot Blanc showing pear, apple, citrus and white flowers with a touch of background smoke. Balanced wine with a crisp, precise dry finish and good length. Great with fish and shellfish, or equally as an aperitif.


With the vegetarian starter


Chapel Down Pinot Reserve 2004

Rich and intense notes of baked apples and brioche. Award-winning wine. Great also as an aperitif. 


With the main course


Biddenden Gribble Bridge Dornfelder 2009

A relatively new variety developed to enable red wine making in more Northern climates. Produces large bunches of sizeable grapes, which ripen well, fermented on their skins for six days before pressing, then shown a small amount of oak to give further character. A light red wine which is soft on the mouth with fruity aromas makes easy drinking.

With the vegetarian main course


Chapel Down Trinity 2009

This red wine has a soft round palate, smooth tannins, plenty of fruit (plums, brambles, floral notes and hints of cherry and liquorice) and a touch of spiciness on the finish.

With the puddings

Biddenden Special Reserve Cider

A strong dark cider produced from the fermentation of local apples in specially selected single malt whisky casks shipped direct from Scotland within days of being emptied.  Further maturing in the wood gives this cider its distinctive taste.

With the cheese

Biddenden Gribble Bridge Ortega 2009

Now almost synonymous with Kent and from vines with a 40-year history in the Garden of England, this award-winning variety shows the depth of flavour that can be produced in this northern wine-growing region.  The fantastic last weekend of September 2009 has added to the strength and depth of this single variety wine, grown at Kent’s oldest family run vineyard.

Chapel Down Nectar 2009

Highly aromatic, works well with the Ashmore (or try the Pinot Noir 2009) and particularly the Kentish Blue. Clean and fresh with nose of rose petals, apricots, and lychee and the addition of clementine and grapefruit.



Eddie Gilberts Fishmonger

32 King Street, Ramsgate CT11 8NT 01843 581221

Quex Barn

Quex Park Estate, Birchington CT7 0BH 01843 846103

Foodari Direct, Ashford TN25 7YF 01233 929721

We Buy Nearby, Tonbridge TN11 9NU 0800 6122627


Farnell Farm, Rolvenden TN17 4PH 01622 890211

Potash Farm, Sevenoaks TN15 8NR 01732 882734


Kingcott Cheese, Staplehurst TN12 0ES (for Kentish Blue) 01580 892478

The Cheesemakers of Canterbury, Faversham ME13 9ES  (Ashmore cheese) 01227 751741

Bennett Opie, Sittingbourne ME10 2LE (pickled walnuts), 01795 476154


Biddenden Special Reserve Cider, Biddenden TN27 8DF  01580 291726

Big Tree Cider, Hartley DA3 8DT 1474 705221

Hard Core cider, Core Fruit Products Ltd, Mystole, Canterbury CT4 7BT  01227 730589

Double Vision, Maidstone ME17 4JW 01622 746 633

Rough Old Wife, Canterbury CT4 8BN 01227 700 757


Chart Farm Venison, Sevenoaks TN15 0ES 01732 761672

Godmersham Game, Canterbury CT4 7DU 07870 656967 

GB Lister Family Butcher,13 The Square, Lenham TN25 4NH 01622 858220

J C Rook & Sons – 15 butchers’ shops across Kent

Lydd Butchers, 8 High Street, Lydd TN29 9AJ 01797 320249

S W Doughty, The Street, Doddington ME9 0BH 01795 886255


Chilham Shop, Canterbury Road, Chilham CT4 8DX 01227 730 348

Foodari Direct, Ashford TN25 7YF 01233 929721

Four Seasons Fruit & Vegetables, 28a High Street, Headcorn TN27 9NE 01622 891155

Macknade Fine Foods, Selling Road, Faversham ME13 8XF 01795 534497

Quex Barn

Quex Park Estate, Birchington CT7 0BH 01843 846103

Ruxley Manor Farm Shop, Sidcup DA14 5BG 0208 3027488

Side Salad, 83 Cotmandene Crescent , Orpington BR5 2RA 020 8300 2277

Taywell Farm Shop, Cranbrook Road, Goudhurst TN17 1DY 01580 211881

Woods Produce Store, 64 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TN 01892 614411

Wadd Farm, Cranbrook TN17 2BZ 01580 852363

We Buy Nearby, Tonbridge TN11 9NU 0800 6122627


Commonwork Organic Dairy, Bore Place, Chiddingstone TN8 7AR  01732 463228

Street Farm Dairy, Moat Farm, Tenterden TN26 3BZ 01233 850638


Chapel Down Winery, Small Hythe Road, Tenterden TN30 7NG 01580 763033

Biddenden Vineyards Ltd, Gribble Bridge Lane, Biddenden TN27 8DF 01580 291726

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