Christmas is about family and friends around one table, and a meal that will simmer in their minds for the year to come. Dishes, specifically for this occasion, should be hearty and flavoursome, depicting the Christmas spirit. The occasion, the table and the meal should say ‘Merry Christmas’.
Christmas lunch is one of the most stressful meals of the year but with adequate preparation it can be hassle-free.
Let me help you…
Spicy egg nog sets the tone when handed to guests on their arrival. It’s usually served to toast one’s health; and that’s what we all need for the coming year.
Sticking to tradition, I like turkey. It’s juicy and delicious if cooked correctly. Should you browse through Larousse Gastronomique - the world’s most famous culinary reference book – you’ll see turkey described as “a farmyard bird raised for its delicate flesh”. A rich, pungent and textured stuffing completes and complements roast turkey. I promise, your guests will be back next year!
A pickled or smoked hind quarter or shoulder of pork, commonly known as Christmas Ham, can be boiled or baked. The final touch is to stud the ham with cloves, and garnish with pineapple rings and cherries. Oh so pretty!
Christmas pudding is a must. Make it… buy it… but ensure it’s on your menu.
A simple, silky-textured brandy sauce will add zing to your rich dessert.
After the feast, coffee with shortbread is the perfect final touch. Shortbread, known by many to have originated in Scotland, is traditionally made in a round shape and cut from the centre in wedges. This symbolises the sun, a relic of the ancient New Year cake.
I explore as much as there is to know about an ingredient before cooking it. This, in my opinion, adds interest and depth to the product and the “relationship” with the components results in a superior culinary creation.
With these tips and the festive-season spirit, I’m confident your Christmas lunch will be memorable.
May the love and camaraderie generated during the next few weeks overflow into 2009 and beyond.
Take these recipes and try them.
Post your comments and food-related questions below.
I look forward to hearing from you.