Wednesday, December 26, 2007
But it does give us a chance to talk about food...
Two meals to prepare for 6 adults and 3 kids (didn't really count them as they never eat anything on special occasiosn). The traditional Reveillon on the evening of the 24th and Christmas lunch on the 25th. I already had the turkey in the freezer but there were still some preparations to be done last weekend. On Sunday we went to a well-known local market and did a bit of luxury buying (the once a year splashout). The others were having oysters so I stumbled on a friendly oyster seller who sold me 4 dozen small sweet Vendée oysters for 13 euros (about £9) so you can't say fairer than that. Luckily we are in an oyster producing region so they are always fresh and fairly affordable. Then it was to the cheese stall, where our town's most famous cheeseseller was drawing a crowd. There I bought a Machecoulais (a white fresh cow's cheese), a Pont l'Eveque (quite odourous yellowish-pink Norman cheese with a creamy interior and light edible crust), a type of Auvergne blue, made from sheep's cheese, but firm with a grey crust, not like a Roquefort, a splendid Gouda with tomato, peppers and spices throughout, a Trou du Cru (a neat play on words, could be tempted to translate the name as something like an Artzhaul) which is a small orange slightly runny crustless cheese with a pungent flavour and a sweet Gruyere that was beautifully ripe (if you are thinking where is the goat's cheese, my mother-in-law had already bought some).
As I had no more Brussel sprouts from the garden I cheated and bought a kilo of some nice full sprouts from a veg stall, and in fact they were delicious.
So my Christmas menu went something like this:
- Verrines of salmon and courgettes (these were previously cooked with ginger and cumin then cooled) and more verrines of prunes in apple brandy with goat's cheese and raw ham (they weren't to everyone's taste)
- Oysters (or smoked salmon for me because I don't eat those)
- Baked salmon with beurre blanc sauce, 3-rice mix and courgettes tians (little cooked flans)
- Cheese (except everyone was too full and they didn't eat any cheese as it turned out :-(
- Yule logs, which personally I found quite disgusting, swiss rolls with butter cream, ok, they were fresh from the baker's but not to my taste at all
- Sausages wrapped in bacon as appetizers
- My mother in law's duck terrine with fig sauce
- Free range turkey stuffed with sausagemeat, prunes, apples, red onion and thyme stuffing and cooked vaguely according to Delia Smith's method, which is very hot oven for a short while then low oven and cover the turkey then uncover at the end to brown it. The stuffing went in the bird hot and it was perfectly cooked.
- Gratin dauphinois with parmesan
- Brussel sprouts, with bacon, they were lovely, no bitterness at all, I browned the bacon then pan cooked them, with a lid on in a little stock so they sweated in the juices. How could you not like that?
- Cheese (weird, that day they had room)
- Christmas pudding which was not really appreciated by all, hubby ate it because he likes it, and my parent's in law had a bit to be polite but my sister in law left hers on the plate and her BF wouldn't try it
So now I just have to eat the enormous pile of leftovers that remains. And nip down to the lottie to put on the compost the enormous binbag full of organic rubbishthat I accumulated over the last few days.
I hope you all had a very enjoyable Christmas and many best wishes for the New Year 2008. Thank you so much for reading this blog, I have over 1400 hits which is quite thrilling for me really. I hope that you will keep up with my gardening adventures next year as I start my second season, hopefully with better results than this year's weird weather allowed us to have.
Peace, Love and Happiness to all
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