Stefan Kölsch - Head Chef

I love a party. Friends, music, drinks and nibbles – it’s all good by me. But what with being a chef through the day, I don’t always feel like spending hours at the cooker when I want to entertain! I like to keep it easy, so that my focus is on making sure my guests are enjoying themselves. Luckily, as Head Chef for Donald Russell, I’ve helped to create some of the perfect canapés and party food with exactly that in mind.

Party Spread

It’s all designed to be simply baked in the oven, usually straight from frozen, or occasionally pan fried for extra crispiness. And of course, I insist on using only the very finest ingredients, which can’t do anything other than deliver great flavour. So here are my tips for making sure you enjoy yourself as much as your guests:

• Keep everything easy to handle – people will probably have a drink in one hand and want to eat with the other, so while your speciality casserole might be absolutely delicious, it’s probably not going to be the easiest to juggle. And spare ribs won’t be so popular when the sticky sauce is all over your guests’ party clothes!

My suggestions: Chicken Lollipops, Canapé Quiches, Spicy Chicken Wings

My suggestion 1

• Include some food that’s best served cold. This can be arranged in advance and simply left on platters throughout the evening. Keep some back in the fridge so you can replenish the platters with nice fresh snacks as they get eaten. Cut slices of buttered rye bread into quarters and pile high with smoked salmon and soured cream, or salt beef, mustard and dill pickles.

My suggestions: Traditional Game Pie, Chicken & Ham Pie or Mini Pork Pies, Ultimate Gravadlax

• Stagger your dishes. If some food is better served hot, don’t put it all out at the beginning of the night. Prepare a batch of baked goods together, to present at the start of the evening while you’re busy welcoming guests, taking coats and making introductions.

My suggestions: Mini Ham Croissants, Canapé Quiches, Mini Artisan Sausage Rolls

suggestion-6

• Later, when everyone has settled in, nip through to the kitchen to fry up some crunchy treats, and hand them round while they’re still hot to get the best oohs and aahs! I like to spear things with cocktail sticks and hand them round together with a bowl of dip, so people can dunk as they go.

My suggestions: Mini Fish Cakes, Crispy Burger Bites, Mini Steak Burgers

My suggestion 4

• Include something sweet. I find sweet treats go down particularly well with designated drivers, who are often drinking sweet juices or cups of coffee – or maybe, like me, your guests will simply have a sweet tooth.

My suggestions: Miniature Patisserie Selection

So there you are – all the ingredients to turn your bash into a banquet, while making sure you get to enjoy yourself too!

Now, where’s that fizz?

Party spread 2

Bon appétit,

Stefan

Posted by Stefan in Article by Category, Head Chef   |  Leave a comment

Christmas without the traditional turkey is simply unthinkable! Being such a special meal, it is vital that the turkey you will serve to your loved ones will surpass all
their expectations.

It took me some time to find the right turkey for Donald Russell. In fact, for years I was apprehensive when customers asked ‘why don’t you do
a turkey?’ Everyone sells turkeys for Christmas; but we would have to sell
the ultimate turkey – one which would deliver the Donald Russell experience
to our customers.

So I embarked upon a lengthy quest, seeking out the best free-range birds
across Britain and beyond. I tried scores of turkeys! In the end I extended my search further, as I believe passionately that for something as important as this, it is worth going the extra mile.

Loue LogoEventually I had my Goldilocks
moment – the turkey that was just right in every way.
I had finally found a flock of turkeys which measured up to my high expectations, in Loué, France. When
we taste-tested them again and again against other free-range
turkeys, I knew I was onto a winner; the meat was
consistently moist and the flavour rich and old-fashioned

– just the way I like it.

Generations of experience and
passion for poultry

Passion for Poultry

The farmers of Loué manage every detail beautifully – it is clear to see that they
care passionately about their work, and the fantastic end result it produces.

Loue Logo
They are, of course, building on a long
poultry-farming heritage
which goes back to the Middle Ages in the area
around LeMans. In1958, their reputation for rearing the very finest birds
was finally cemented for the future, in the founding of the Loué farmers’ cooperative.
Since then they have traded under their own exacting standards of animal welfare, and
proudly display their badge of quality on each turkey.

We work very closely with our turkey farmers. They raise small flocks
specifically for us, which we discuss in detail, down to the last bird. Our chef,
Stefan, and I follow their progress every year as they grow, through regular
visits and reports. This summer, when our Christmas turkeys were just young, I paid the
farmers a visit, and was once again overwhelmed by the passion these families have for their birds.

Rearing the perfect Christmas turkey

Heritage Breed
It is a very careful combination of factors which goes into rearing turkeys of this
outstanding quality.

• The breed is important – Bronze is
a traditional, slow-growing heritage breed that provides a full and rustic flavour.

• This flavour is enhanced by the birds’ varied diet of multigrain and natural
foraging in the fields.

• The lifestyle of free-range birds gives their meat an old-fashioned ‘bite’, full of character and totally unlike the chalky meat of battery birds – here, these muscles have worked every day as the birds range in the fields, just as nature intended.

Free to Roam

As always, the proof is in the eating…

Loue Logo
Last month, the first of our flock
appeared at Donald Russell, professionally blast frozen to seal in
their freshness. I immediately asked Stefan to roast one so we could taste it. Well, I needed to be sure we will bring a ‘wow’ to your Christmas table!

Stefans Cook Off
I must say, the flavour and quality of these turkeys actually took me by surprise – it was even better than I
remembered from last year.
So I feel I can say it louder and prouder than
ever before: These are indeed ‘the Rolls-Royce of turkeys’!

Don’t just take it from me – Mrs Malone-Lee, a customer of ours from Harrow,
sums it up nicely: "Not normally a great fan of turkey
but our Christmas one was a taste revelation. It was tender, delicious
and relished by all – including a chef and a choosy elderly relative
who had not, she said, enjoyed a turkey since childhood".

Perfect

So don’t hesitate – the right turkey will be worth every penny, and will reward
your family with a Christmas feast to remember
– after all, you have my guarantee!

Hans Baumann
Managing Director


Posted by Hans in Managing Director   |  Leave a comment

The festive season is in front of us, and I for one couldn’t be more excited! I love anticipating all those precious moments that make Christmas so special. The warmth of a full house. Gifts and good food. Laughter around the table. Eyes wide at all that fantastic food, and then plates cleared of every last delicious morsel. And my new favourite experience – watching the grandchildren discover it all for the first time!

At Donald Russell, it feels like we’ve been waiting forever for this moment! We want to make your Christmas the best ever, and have been working towards the festive season all year.

I have been to France to check on our Loué Bronze Turkeys, roaming free in the fields and growing strong and succulent under their beautiful, glossy plumage. I have also been working closely with our butchers to develop some brand new pastry-covered En Croûtes, to give you even more options to choose from.

We have been tasting and re-tasting our full range of Scottish Smoked Salmon (it passed with flying colours, but was so wonderfully mellow and silky I thought we’d better make extra sure with a few more tastings!). It’s just to die for piled onto our crispy Potato Rösti – perfect with a glass of something bubbly for your parties.

As always, everything has been expertly prepared by hand, from our Easy Carve Roasts, each being hand cut and tied in our butchery, to our range of moreish finger food. I have watched all year round, as Stefan and his chefs have presented me with innovative and delicious ideas that save you time. Speaking of which, did you know we have a full range of Slow Cooked Roasts that you can finish in the oven straight from frozen? No getting up early to put the roast on there!

We have your every Christmas wish, from your first party nibble, through to dainty sweet treats to have with your Irish coffee as you lounge with the family after the Christmas Dinner. We even have the Boxing Day clove-studded ham! I can’t wait to share it all with you, and will tell you more over the next few weeks.

All our careful plotting, planning and tasting is done; we are ready to deliver your perfect Christmas. Now it is time for your eager planning to begin.

Don’t wait until Advent – enjoy the full countdown to Christmas starting today. Take time to be inspired. Circle your favourites in our catalogue and make your ideal ‘wish list’ now.

Have fun planning your best Christmas yet!

Hans Baumann
Managing Director

P.S. Our friends and customers have been talking about us. However, I don’t mind – as a matter of fact, I am proud that they have so much to say! Read their own opinions of us on Feefo – just google ‘Donald Russell Feefo’.

Posted by DonaldRussell in Managing Director   |  Leave a comment