Chien Nivôse 2022
Misletoe and Whine
Winter Webs

I remember the days when I used to go out and get pissed on Christmas Eve and it would be Mum who got all moany and upset.
Now I live with my brother! Miserable git.

Fortunately Kurt's temper improved by Christmas morning after overcoming his jealousy at having to stay at home with the kid while I went out partying.
There were some early snow and early freezes this year - good for riming spider webs, not so good for Kirklees College cookery courses :(
Then as usual I kicked off the festive season using a chicken carcass to make a deep, rich, dark, chicken stock for the gravy - so we don't have to rely on whatever meagre juices cook off the goose on the day. Or days 🙂 And with the chicken flesh I made my usual Tom Khaa Kai. This year I discovered the notable enhancement of adding a few spoonfuls of Thai red curry paste to spice up the soup.
Tom Yum! Oh no wait, that's a different soup.

Bit of a fowl-up this year; what with all the human, pangolin and bird flu going around we had trouble finding fresh geese. So we ended up with two smaller frozen ones.
It all worked out though. We just had two Christmas dinners that couldn't be beat. The second on the day after boxing day.

As for the rest: Merry Season Everyone!

Sausages in Candied Bacon with Mulled Cranberry Ketchup
starter meat
Seemed like an ideal, no-brainer Christmas starter for Philistines.

Just follow Chef Nick's easy instructions, right?
Good job I had a practice run - 20 minutes at Gas Mark 2 my arse!
And do you think your guests will be satisfied with 2 fucking chipolatas with their pint of Sharp's Cornish amber ale?
Great British Chefs? Incompetent British Muppets more like!

Serves 4 2

Begin by making the ketchup, as this can be done in advance and will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.

Add the cranberries and butter to a saucepan over a high heat, then cook, stirring regularly, until the cranberries are popping and hissing. Add the grated ginger, sugar and port and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, orange juice and zest. Use a wooden spoon to gently mash the cranberries and break them up, adding a splash of water if they begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. Gently cook for 10-15 minutes until they form a thick sauce, then pick out and discard the star anise. Taste and add more sugar if desired.

Use a hand blender or potato masher to break down the cranberries further, then allow to cool. Store in the fridge until needed.

For the sausages, preheat an oven to 150°C/gas mark 2 LOL, no! Try 190-170°C/Gas 5-4. Pour the sugar in a bowl with a generous pinch of black pepper. Add the bacon, tossing well to coat. Wrap each piece of bacon around a sausage, stretching lightly and covering it as much as possible.

Place the bacon-wrapped sausages on a baking tray and drizzle with oil and cook for 20 minutes, LOL, no! Try 30 minutes. Minimum. leaving them for a few extra minutes if needed until the bacon has crisped up. Serve on a platter with the ketchup on the side, with a glass of Sharp's Doom Bar.
LOL no!.
You'll need to bake your pigs for about 30 minutes at Gas Mark 5-4.
After which they'll go down well with the sausage-eaters.

Fried Christmas Pudding
breakfast snack veg
Once again we find ourselves with a glut of Christmas pudding to finish up. Nothing wrong with the pudding - it's just hard to eat much after you've just gobbled up an entire flock of geese. So I re-discovered 2017's fried pudding with blue cheese. Surprisingly good.

Here are some other ideas for getting rid of your excess pudding:
The commentators at this Guardian article on using up Christmas leftovers write that Leftover pudding makes lovely mini trifles - a little pudding in a shot glass, topped up with crème fraîche with some orange zest stirred through., that As for leftover Christmas pudding - fry it in butter and eat it with cream. It's an old Dublin thing, it's delicious. and Ottolenghi suggests that breaking up and heating Christmas pudding in a pan with brandy. Grate your dying satsumas and add the zest. At the end, add peeled slices of the not-too-desiccated insides. Serve with whipped cream sharpened with sour cream..

Jamie Bastard Oliver gobs up an ice cream sundae:
Fry pudding until crisping. Once your pudding is warm and slightly crispy and the sauce has heated up, divide half of your pudding between your four glasses or bowls. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the pudding, drizzle over your hot cranberry sauce, and a good sprinkling of toasted flaked almonds. Divide the remaining Christmas pud between your glasses and layer again with ice cream, cranberry sauce and flaked almonds. Finish the sundae off by grating over a bit of nice dark chocolate and dig in before the ice cream melts.

Another Guardian suggestion for Christmas pudding crème brulées. And in this Guardian article chef Jesse Dunford Wood says I like to make Christmas pudding vodka. Simply add your puddings to half a bottle of vodka, leave to infuse for a day or so, strain and enjoy.

Finally the Spruce Eats offers these suggestions:
  • Christmas Pudding Ice Cream with vanilla or ginger! ice cream.
  • Christmas Pudding Trifle.
  • Christmas Pudding Tipsy Laird. Like trifle, but with whisky.
  • Christmas Pudding Full English Breakfast !
Hmm, full English breakfast you say. Would that include melted blue cheese?

Fry the pudding until it begins to crisp up around the edges. You probably won't need to add any fat - your pudding is likely full of lard, but throw in a little butter otherwise. Flip it around and crumble or chop in some gooey blue cheese. Allow the cheese to melt nicely, then serve.
Strangely delicious.
You can also fry up some bacon with the pudding, which also goes surprisingly well. So maybe sausages, eggs and beans would too?

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