Merry Christmas all!!
This year marked the first year I have spent Christmas in the UK after my mum and sister moved back to the U.K. I didn’t really know what to expect considering I’ve spent the majority of my Christmases in the Middle East, boozy brunching on Christmas day in the sun.
However, I will say my first cold Christmas ended up being a super cosy few days that really does encapsulate the spirit of the festive period. We did nothing but eat good food, drink wine and sit by the warm fireplace as the tree twinkled, playing monopoly (we found it in the loft- it’s practically vintage) and watching TV. The sun even came out- which for England at this time of year is a rare occurrence.
My mum, sister and I decided to have cheese to start (if you can’t tell already we LOVE cheese). Taking inspiration from Twisted Food on Facebook, we decided to recreate a camembert ‘snowflake’. Essentially, it is pastry that is assembled with bits of crispy bacon and cranberry sauce with a whole camembert in the middle, shaped into a snowflake, sprinkled with rosemary and cooked in the oven. THIS WAS DELICIOUS. Crispy salty bacon goes so well with the oozy camembert and sweet cranberry. We also decided to make some extra pastry sticks with the remaining pastry (had to be done). I am having a dinner party for New Year’s Eve as a sort of sophisticated pre-drinks, and I think I will have to whip this one out again– (there you go! for the people attending, a sample of what you can expect haha).
For our main, we then went for salmon en-croute. I have always wanted to make it, and while my mum felt incredibly lazy, I was up for the task. Using spinach, shallots, parsley, lemon juice – and zest – creme fraiche all cooked in butter, we created the tasty filling, which was placed on top of the salmon fillets and covered with a layer of pastry. We also served this with creamy mash potatoes, adding milk butter and creme fraiche – (calorie counters, you may want to leave this page). I’ve mentioned this already, but my sister Rebecca is not a fan of seafood so she made her own dinner, which was a juicy pork chop crusted with sage and served with apple and shallot butter – I must admit this made me slightly jealous. Nonetheless, the salmon was definitely the right choice and the sauce filled in the buttery pastry was super yummy! It didn’t even take that long so for all you salmon lovers out there, this one is for you.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a traditional roast with all the trimmings, am I right? Surprisingly, I’ve never really had a traditional Christmas roast, as my mum is Italian and we’ve usually headed out in the past so I was definitely excited. Taking inspiration from my friend Laura, we decided to pimp up our Brussel sprouts. Using bacon, shallots and balsamic vinegar, it turned a mundane dish (in my opinion) to a real contender and while I’ve never been a fan of plain ones, these were the shi*.We also had crispy potatoes (not as crispy as I would have liked sadly), roasted parsnips, carrots, potato rosti’s as well as a turkey with pork, onion and sage stuffing. This was all served with some flavourful gravy – concocted with juices from the meat to make it extra moreish. We had this with some bottles of prosecco and to finish it all off… a black forest cheesecake! We also realised how much we were into Monopoly and it turns out the more you drink, the more competitive you get. We got the turkey pretty exact, remaining juicy and tender, which meant all the sides were the perfect accompaniment. No matter how much we ate, it’s safe to say, we have a lot of leftovers. Which brings me to…
Today we decided to go for the classic boxing day dish: bubble & squeak!. Again, never really had the chance to use leftovers to make any boxing day dishes so this was fun. We took all our vegetables, diced them up and mixed them with an egg. Forming them into patties, we shallow fried them in olive oil and topped them with cranberry sauce, turkey slices, stuffing and a drizzle of gravy. Great use to get rid of leftovers and makes a filling meal. I don’t always enjoy eating the same thing twice so it was a nice way to recreate a Christmas roast.
After feeling content with all my food and reminiscing about the last few days, I am currently sitting on my sofa in a fluffy robe watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix.
Christmas time is bliss.