The Christmas tree is proudly standing in our living room; cards are on their way, decoration done… What more do I need to do, one could think. Ah, and then comes the main thing: Christmas dinner! With my family arriving after a 12 hour drive from Belgium on Christmas day, us just back from a night in Carcassonne’s loveliest lush hotel after marvelous breakfast (one has to spoil oneself sometimes), it starts to dawn on me, how on earth will I be able to serve a luscious Christmas dinner the way I would like it (perfect that is) and decorate the table… coming home round 12 midday (count 2 veggies for the party!). Ready for some free recipes?
So I thought let’s go for a luscious old- fashioned farmer style Christmas dinner, that requires no kitchen chemistry. Well that was the original idea. A meal popped up immediately, easy to make, some dishes could even be prepared ahead.
But then I felt quite grumpy, the meal still had to be festive! So searching on the Internet, I gradually started changing every small item on my menu, into something more “festive” and yep, I can live with it now. I promise to make pictures of every dish, it might give you some ideas for New year’s eve dinner!
Of course everything will be homemade. For starters I chose a nice plate filled with:
- A filled egg (boil hard eggs per person, cut them in half, take out the yolk and mix it with mayo, paprika and a tiny bit of fine tasting mustard, pipe it in the white of the egg, sprinkle it with cayenne pepper and decorate with a tiny stalk of parsil)
- A bruschetta with mozzarella and grilled asparagus (Sprinkle a slice per person of sour bread with good olive oil, grill it, rub each slice with garlic, sprinkle with rough salt; cut a paprika and simmer it in olive oil till soft, grill asparagus. Then put paprika and mozzarella on top of each slice, add asparagus, a touch of olive oil and black pepper, cold or warm, they’re delicious!)
- A big mushroom filled with “Boursin” cheese of your choice (I like the nutty, figgy one).
- “Arancini “with cherries (Buy a pot of cherries boiled in their very own sweet sauce, heat it up, add some cornstarch/ French maizena to bind the sauce and off you go). Arancino is a street snack, little fried balls of meatloaf on a wooden cocktail stick, the snack is named after oranges/arancia, as the meatballs’ shape resemble them. I always make my meatloaf this way: Take 500grs beef mince meat, mix thoroughly with pepper and salt, a decent dash of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, a tablespoon of good hot mustard, a bit of cayenne pepper, some paprika, three finely chopped onions, 5 crushed cloves of garlic, a handful of Provencal herbs, one beef bouillon cube pulverized, an egg, loads of “chapelure”/bread crumbs till you have a firm mix to start making your desired shape.
- French fries’ snack (I’m Belgian what did you think!) Mix chives with mayo, put a spoon of this mixture in a tiny glass, boil thick cut potato fries, once cooled down, coat them with breadcrumbs/”chapelure” and Parmesan cheese, dump each potato chip in flour, a beaten egg and “chapelure”/breadcrumbs and fry!). I’ll present 2 or 3 in one glass (you could roll them up in a paper fry sack if you want to.
No soup this year but a small warm snack in between:
- A small lovely little casserole oven dish per person, filled with penne mixed with Parmesan cheese and some strong Provençal tomato sauce (if you don’t want to make it yourself, the Panzani sauce is delicious) and loads of decorative Parmesan shavings on top, garnished with some oregano branches. Prepare the penne ahead in muffin trays, put them in the oven near serving time and you’ll get little nests which you can put on a plate without a little casserole.
Ah and then the main, all based on good old farmer’s food but with a modern touch (my husband is already moaning I’ll ruin his old fashioned Brussels’ sprouts!). So imagine a decorative plate filled with:
- Some homemade red cabbage put in half a scooped out apple and heated up in the oven.
- A tiny cup filled with Brussels sprouts served with pecans and ginger honey sauce.
- Two different beautifully oven piped purees: one sweet potatoes puree made with brown sugar, cinnamon and red cayenne pepper and one classic puree mixed with spinach, the red and green is omnipresent. I normally make my base for puree fresh the moment itself: boil potatoes, once boiled eliminate the water, add a good amount of salt and pepper, a good dash of milk, a big lump of butter and mash, add an egg mash well, taste and add salt or pepper to your taste!
- A classic meat beef stew (see one of my previous blog posts for the recipe:http://woohoocuties.com/recipe-witches-stew-alias-belgian-stoofvlees/) and for the veggies a Seitan (veggie alternative) one.
Dessert, just imagine:
- a slice of traditional bread pudding (can be served cold)
- a filled glass with rice pudding (boil milk, vanilla sugar or vanilla stick and 100 gr of sugar, add 200 grs of rice, don’t forget to add the real saffron and let it simmer for a good 30 minutes till the rice is soft, add some sugar to taste and serve cold or warm)
- 1 scoop of delicious ice cream
The next morning will start with a real English bread and butter pudding (I would serve this warm). There, that is how I’ll feast Christmas this year. A bit less Christmassy traditional but ever so traditional dishes from my country!
The “stoofvlees”/ meat stew, meatballs, red cabbage and purees can be made ahead and frozen. I always buy my sprouts in tins (they taste twice as nice). The penne is easily made the day itself just before serving if you use a “Panzani” sauce (otherwise make the sauce ahead and freeze!). Bread pudding and rice pudding are easily to be prepared a day ahead.
Then again some things have to be done the moment itself of course!
I’m off to prepare my shopping list. Curious for your Christmas dinner recipes,