Another traditional family Christmas with all the trimmings for just the two of us - my brother and I.
And no, there's really nothing remotely sad about a couple of aging geezers spending Christmas alone together Rachel. Nothing at all.
Kurt's extended non-family came over to visit on Boxing day as usual when they got to eat our many leftovers,
which is all for the best - Christmas Day is just wasted on the young.
Especially the starters.
I'd had a practice run at making Smoked Salmon and Avocado Terrines
for a cosy yachty get-together at Anna's
at which they were well received, and then another go (mostly using the leftovers)
for Flora's crack at Christmas
when she practiced roasting her seasonal guinea fowl.
I also tried out a new stuffing recipe there, which somewhat unexpectedly, turned out to be the
Christmas Goose stuffing.
Who'd have thought after
stuffing recipes, the perfect
stuffing would be one of the simplest?
Starting with a traditional Irish potato recipe
I eschewed bread completely, substituted leeks for the more common onion,
tried then abandoned including the orange peel for adding a bit too much flavour,
larded it with a slice of bacon, liquored her up with a splash of Grand Marnier et voilà
the perfect Sourville Family Christmas Stuffing
For best results, scoop the perfect
stuffing out of the perfectly
and bake it in a dish to crisp up while the bird rests.
What with all that practicing, I had the stuffing, er stuffed, and those starters whipped up and in the fridge so early Christmas Eve
we actually had time on our hands. Unheard of!
So we slipped out for Krampus
: a traditional Christmas horror movie to put us in the mood.
This year I made extra, extra bacon
- curing three
kilo hunks and this time it probably was enough.
On the other hand I really made an effort to cut down on the cheeses, intending only to buy those in which Kurt might take an interest,
and some blue cheese for me.
How I ended up with quite so much goat (English for chevre
), is hard to say.
Nor does it explain why we ate not one single bite of Christmas cheese. Not even the Gorgonzola.
We didn't manage any Christmas cake either. Are these facts related and could either be a result of having too much bacon?
- Pyrenees Chevre
- Selles Sur Cher
- A half soft goats cheese with mouldy rind
- Golden Cross
- The beautiful Italian creamy blue cheese
- Brie de Meaux
- A hard-hearted goat from Edinburgh Shepton Mallet
- Vacherin Fribourgeois
- A soft Swiss cow's milk cheese
Thank goodness then for tartiflette - that magnificent user-upper of leftover Christmas cheese.
In the spirit of the season here's a recipe from the back of a postcard Flora sent me from her latest
skiing holiday in Serre Chevalier:
So Kurt and I shared our regular 10lb goose, which if I'm honest I slightly
undercooked this year.
Oh it passed the safe-temperature test, but the flesh was too pink and a tiny bit chewy.
I should have done the proper thing and pierced the bird between the body and thigh to examine the clarity of its juices.
Bah Humbug to these new-fangled kitchen aids. Still, as ever, no-one got poisoned.
As usual we split the baking -
I filled this year's mince pies with a homemeade but not-quite-traditional suet mincemeat
and had a go at Lemon Slices
another of Be·Ro's Christmas baking recipes that turned out not to be one of those Mum used to make :(
I even went to the trouble of making real lemon curd
(it ain't that hard) to dress them with.
At least that
turned out right.
I made the mistake of leaving Kurt in charge of preparing the potatoes for roasting,
who conclusively demonstrated that you really can't
Despite simmering the absolute shit out of those spuds, until they were on the point of disintegrating,
they went on to make the best
roast potatoes we've ever had!
On the other hand, it turns out that you can't use squeezed together bits of collapsed potatoes to construct your roasties
- they just dissolve into a greasy mush.
The things we learned this year:
- Boiling the shit out of your potatoes won't do your roasties any harm - it might even improve them!
- An out-of-date gingerbread house kit is fun to build, but not to eat.
- A meat thermometer is all very well but you really can't beat piercing your bird and watching her juices run the old-fashioned way.
- Even a very restricted cheeseboard can be too much cheese.
- It may be possible to have enough bacon.
- The perfect Christmas goose stuffing.
A very merry Krampus to one and all!
Makes 2 small jam jars
You'll find a number of minor variations on traditional lemon curd recipes.
This one from Nigel Slater
replaces one of the more usual whole eggs with just the yolk.
I found his curd a little tart, so you might reduce the number of lemons (or increase the amount of sugar).
which claiming to be consequently smoother and richer, substitutes five yolks for the 4 whole eggs.
Delia Smith offers a bizarre recipe
thickened with cornflour.
I used to respect the damn woman. What on earth happened?
- zest and juice of 4 unwaxed lemons
- 200g sugar
- 100g butter
- 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk
Put the lemon zest and juice, the sugar and the butter, cut into cubes, into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water,
making sure that the bottom of the basin doesn't touch the water. Stir with a whisk from time to time until the butter has melted.
Mix the eggs and egg yolk lightly with a fork, then stir into the lemon mixture. Let the curd cook, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes,
until it is thick and custard-like. It should feel heavy on the whisk.
Remove from the heat and stir occasionally as it cools. Pour into spotlessly clean jars and seal.
It will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.