It’s always been a family tradition to decorate the Christmas tree on the first of December. Preferably with Kate Rusby’s rendition of favourite carols as the soundtrack, a winter scented candle, a glass of mulled wine for me and roasted chestnuts for everyone. It’s a festive annual treat unpacking the box of memorabilia that adorn the tree, accompanied my memories and squabbles.
Whilst these festive arguments are continuing, I place a tray of chestnuts, cut with a slit across using a serrated knife (so they don’t explode and also to make it possible to peel them when cooked) on top of the wood burner to roast. How long it takes depends on how hot the fire is but they generally take around 20-30 minutes. They can also be done in the oven at 200C for 30 minutes. When they’re ready, they will open up and the shells will be easy to remove.