The traditional Boxing Day holiday probably dates from the Middle Ages  when Lords and Ladies  gave Christmas boxes/gifts to their servants on December 26, or maybe by priests, who opened the church’s alms (charity boxes), and distributed the contents to the poor and needy. Essentially though on the plot it’s a day to avoid boxes of any kind, get outside and blow the cobwebs away.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to lovely walks. This year it’s a ramble along the canal towpath to friends in Avoncliff for coffee and a slice of Christmas cake before ambling back across country for soup and sandwiches (turkey and cranberry inevitably for the carnivores; brie and cranberry for the rest of us). Last year we did this in the snow (witness pic).

Noone wants to eat much today. But for anyone who wants to use up a glut of brussels sprouts may I recommend this soup, tolerated happily even by sproutphobics.

Brussels Sprout and Chestnut Soup (enough for six)

2 large onions
2 tbsp oil
2 1/2 lb / 1.2 kg brussels sprouts
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 oz / 110g vacuum packed chestnuts (or peeled weight)
4 pts / 2.3 Lt vegetable stock                                                          

salt and pepper
2 – 4 tbsp double cream

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions and sweat until transparent but not browned. Add the brussels sprouts and sauté for 2 minutes and then add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  • Stir in the stock, season and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, until very soft.
  • Add the chestnuts and simmer for a further 5 minutes, then liquidize r until smooth.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Return to the pan and stir in the cream tasting as you go to see how rich you like it.
  • Warm through when you are ready to serve. It’s delicious.

And having got plenty of exercise we settle down in front of the fire to play games.