Cheat’s Christmas – an update

14 December, 2020 / Guest Blog by Pam O’Toole

For one reason or another you may be dreading Christmas this year.

You may not be feeling festive, but feel you have to make some kind of an effort. You may be worried about facing the potential chaos of the pre-Xmas High Rd. Or, with supermarket delivery slots under pressure, you may be fretting about bagging delivery slots.

Fear not, The Chiswick Calendar has a variety of “Cheat’s Christmas” ideas which will help you through the festive season with the minimum of fuss. Instead of slogging round the supermarket you can have your Christmas delivered by specialists.

Here are some of our favourites, ranging from Christmas trees to restaurant-quality, pre-prepared Christmas dinners that you just have to heat up. For non-meat-eaters, there are fresh seafood platters and veggie/vegan feasts. You can choose to support our hard-pressed local shops and restaurants, or splash out on a home delivered meal from a swanky London restaurant.

Bear in mind that the situation’s changing rapidly. Some options have sold out since I wrote the first version of “Cheat’s Christmas” for The Chiswick Calendar website last week. And others are selling fast. So you may need to get your skates on!

Christmas tree deliveries 

Our local Chiswick garden centre, Wheelers, has a huge range of Christmas trees, wreaths and table ornaments. They’re offering free deliveries to postcodes W4 W6, W12 and W3 if you spend more than £50.  For smaller orders, delivery costs £5. The good news is that Wheelers is delivering all the way up to Christmas Eve and still – as of 13 December – has a good supply of trees in.

If you want to check out the trees before you buy, you can visit Wheelers and select your tree. If you’re shielding, staff will take an order over the phone and deliver to your door. Just specify the height of the tree you want and whether you want a “skinny” one or a “fat” one.

Or phone 020 8747 9505.

wheelersflowers.com/order_online/Christmas.aspx 

A pre-cooked Christmas dinner

For the ultimate kick-back Christmas, you can turn to The Crown on Chiswick High Road. It’s offering a “Christmas Hamper” which is, in fact, a pre-cooked two course Christmas dinner, from turkey and the trimmings to Christmas pudding and mince pies. It’s about 40 – 45 minutes from box to plate. According to General Manager Violeta, “Cooking involves mainly warming up to bring turkey and vegetables to perfection”.

The list price is £160 for up to six people, but Violeta says it can be adapted for any family size. Just email the team and they’ll assemble your order. You can also ‘upgrade’ the package by adding a cheeseboard, champagne or wine.  So on Christmas morning, while the rest of the nation is up at the crack of dawn stuffing turkeys into ovens, you can have a well-earned lie in. Bliss!

Deliveries are via Deliveroo, but you have to pre-order with The Crown at least four days before Christmas itself. If you’re not shielding, you can also arrange to click and collect.

See the menu here:

thecrownchiswick.co.uk/site/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Crown-Hamper-Menu.pdf

The Crown, Chiswick High Road

T: 020 3330 7131

info@thecrownchiswick.co.uk

For Fish Lovers

Covent Garden Fishmongers on Turnham Green Terrace is offering made-to-order, home-delivered seafood platters from £60 for two people. Having tried their platters in the past, I can verify they’re rather special!

Garry of CGF can only offer platters in multiples of two (so no orders for three, five or seven people, please). Deliveries are usually between 9am and midday, but he expects to be delivering all day long in the run-up to Christmas. However, he warns that they won’t be able to offer specific delivery times on any given day, so you need to make sure that someone is in, or make arrangements for somewhere safe to leave it.

He describes it as  “ a true feast with everything imaginable on it… for only £60 a platter you get a lobster, a crab, 6 oysters, winkles, whelks, clams, brown shrimp, king prawn, small prawns, big mussels on the shell, scallops and langoustine. Slight adjustments can be made if there is something you’re not fond of.”

Garry asks that you give them at least five days to a week’s notice, because he and John make the platters to order. The Covent Garden Fishmongers can also cook and dress a whole salmon, or cook and dress a lobster (with similar advance notice).  If you’re thinking of a New Year order, Garry warns, “ The 3 days leading up to New Year’s Eve, supplies will be very basic, leaning mainly towards seafood, so please pre order to save disappointment.”

Email Garry on Coventgardenfish@aol.com  and he’ll send you a list of Christmas opening times, what’s available over the Christmas period and price lists (including prices for caviar).

Last date for orders is Saturday 19 December.

COOK

OK, full disclosure here, I’m a massive COOK fan. I’m amazed that some Chiswickians still haven’t discovered this culinary gem (maybe because it’s tucked away off the High Rd on Chiswick Lane?). It provides great quality food, cooked the way you’d make it at home, then frozen.  Most dishes just need reheating for forty minutes to an hour. COOK is strong on ethics, donates a lot to the community, and is among the Top 100 Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For. Plus it’s won a battery of Great Taste awards.

The bad news is its turkey dishes for two and eight people have sold out, along with many of its other centrepiece dishes. See the link below for centrepiece dishes that are still available (for instance, the website says that the Celebration Crown of Turkey and Duck, which serves 12, will be available from 17 December). For those with a sweet tooth, note that COOK’s puddings are sublime- we’re having its gorgeous Belgian Chocolate Cake instead of Christmas pudding this year.

More bad news; home delivery slots are now sold out until 27 December. But there are click-and-collect spaces left between 16-19 December. And, as this is frozen food, it won’t spoil before Christmas. Order online. Or email the Chiswick store on chiswick@cookfood.net and Neil, David, Grant, Becky, Chrissie or Antony will try to help. But be patient – they say they’re crazily busy!

cookfood.net/menu/christmas/christmas-day/build-your-own-christmas-lunch

Celebrity chefs and central London restaurant deliveries

Bear with us on this section. A lot of the ready-cooked Christmas meals from well-known chefs and restaurants are being snapped up, so the situation is changing rapidly. Since I started writing this, Simon Rogan’s Christmas and New Year meals have completely sold out and a Christmas dinner delivery option from Jun Tanaka of the Michelin-starred restaurant The Ninth seems to have disappeared offline.

The website Hot Dinners features a variety of Christmas dinner boxes. Some are completely cooked and just need reheating, others involve a bit more work.

The ready to eat options include Adam Handling’s Hame Christmas box, at £250 it serves three to four and includes a bottle of sparkling wine.

adamhandling.co.uk/hame-order/#showfrom=27/11/2020 

There’s also Townsend, which offers a vegetarian feast for two at £62 or a Christmas Feast with Roast Turkey for two at £70. Order by 15 December

townsendrestaurant.co.uk/christmas

For more on Christmas Dinner boxes from Hot Dinners click here.

One Fine Dine has packages which promise to take all the hassle out of Christmas by providing three course meals with simple reheating and plating instructions. Packages from £65 (including vegetarian options). onefinedine.com/pages/christmas?contact_posted=trueou

Dishpatch website features meal kits from several other well-known restaurants, including The Turkey Dinner by Andrew Edmunds at £95 for three courses for two people.

There’s also The Beef Banquet from 10 Greek St at £110 for two people. And for vegetarians, The Christmas Twist, a Middle East inspired feast from Bubala at £85 for two people.

dishpatch.co.uk/

And if you don’t mind a bit of cooking, celebrity chef Jason Atherton’s offering a variety of different Christmas boxes, running from £140 for two to £300.  But the meat DOES need cooking. A meat thermometer (to check that your special dinner is done to perfection) costs an extra £15.

lakedistrictfarmers.co.uk/boxes or call  01229 588299

Kick back and enjoy your Cheat’s Christmas!