Our culinary vision for this Christmas is as follows:
We want this Christmas to be truly memorable and delicious, show off our cooking skills to our families, surprise them with a few inventive dishes yet still please and fatten up everyone (incl. the traditionalists amongst our guests). For bonus points we would quite like to remain sane and enjoy the festive season.
Christmas Eve Dinner (for 6, after a hectic day of being touristy around London)
Monkfish wrapped in Parma ham, new potatoes, minted peas.
Lunchtime – Christmas Day (for 6)
Organic, Norfolk Lamb Two ways: Herb-crusted rack and balsamic slow cooked shoulder,
on a bed mustard mash and savoy cabbage.
Side of carrots. Real Gravy.
Black Forest Bouche
Lunchtime – Boxing Day (for 8)
Organic fed, free range, bronze turkey from Gill Wing’s organic Farm, Eridge, Sussex (with
Slice of Honey Roast Ham.
Roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, chantenay carrots, brussel sprouts with pancetta. Mustard cauliflower cheese. Cranberry sauce. Real Gravy.
Christmas Pudding and mince pies.
Some explanations for our choices:
We decided on a no starter policy in order to concentrate on creating great mains. Starters mean extra crockery, washing up and worrying about timings. We will have a fridge full of extras such as salads, cold meats, salmon ect which can be served ad hoc as and where necessary.
Monk fish for Christmas Eve, because this meal had to be sufficiently different from the meals coming the days after so a chicken just wouldn’t have cut this as too similar to the turkey. Monkfish is an expensive and luxurious ingredient, very meaty and tender if cooked right, so we decided this was festive enough for Christmas Eve, yet light enough so that everyone can handle a huge Christmas meal the next day.
Lamb for Christmas day because we all love lamb and because there isn’t much lamb available in Gran Canaria so my parents hardly ever have it. We decided to cook it two ways because a rack of lamb is simply not enough meat to fill a grown man, and we wanted to avoid the “tiny” servings scenario. The herb crusted rack of lamb recipe we shall be following here is the classic Gordon Ramsay one which we have practised lots of times before – its not hard to do, but timing is everything. The slow cooked lamb shoulder will go into the slow cooker with tons of herbs, and balsamic vinegar and veg. Its a relatively inexpensive cut of lamb but still divine when cooked like this and it will ensure nobody at the table goes hungry. Also timing is not imperative for this dish, as long as you leave it in there long enough to cook (8-16 hours), its ready when you are. The juices in the slow cooker and the veg, will be blended into a scrumptious natural gravy.
The turkey is to please J’s traditional parents and my little sister. In terms of combinations we have not ventured too far from the norm, but decided instead to focus on amazing ingredients and get the best money could buy. All meat is from Farm Direct people.
We decided not to make any desserts from scratch and order pre-made Ocado ones, because they are nice and we have too much to do with the main meals and looking after visitors. Decent desserts are complicated and require time, patience and skill as well as sobriety during the process….
So this year Christmas is big, I mean BIG. Jelly has moved into a new home and we are expecting visitors – my immediate family will stay with us in our two-bedroom flat for a week, and J’s parents will visit on Boxing day. This will also be the first time my parents will see our new place as they currently live in Gran Canaria. Oh, also this will be the first time that J’s parents will meet my parents and as if that wasn’t enough pressure to manage, this will be the first time in our lives that J and I are hosting Christmas ourselves (how very grown up). A lot of firsts here.
As a result, we have been living and breathing Christmas for the past 3 months. We have booked out 3 Ocado food delivery slots for strategic dates (that’s the max allowed during the Christmas period by the way), have ordered a Farm Direct (more on these guys in a forthcoming post) delivery for Christmas eve, made and remade meal menu plans for most of that week and have spent over £500 on food ingredients alone.
Fingers crossed this all goes well!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everybody!