Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas Feasting (part 1 - canapes)


I hope everyone has recovered from yesterday? Not too much stress or over-indulgence or travelling ridiculous distances?

I had a lovely day yesterday! I took full advantage of it just being us & Urchin at home, and the snowy weather, to make a Christmas dinner as I felt it should be done. We're not usually at home for Christmas, so I have never had an excuse to decorate. This year I bought a wreath for the door, decorated a tree (a small juniper that Paul is contemplating bonsai-ing) and hung mistletoe from the light fittings.


One of the things I really like about Christmas in this country is how deeply you feel the roots of the celebration. I can understand Christians getting upset about losing "the reason for the season", but the early church co-opted the existing winter solstice festivals, and many of the traditional Christmas trappings in the UK are definitely pre-Christian.


Mistletoe, holly, ivy, mulled cider and a table groaning under the weight of roasted meats - these things have absolutely nothing to do with a child being born in a stable in Bethlehem, probably in spring, and everything to do with the frozen darkness of midwinter in Europe. And I think it is fab.


So as well as enjoying the faintly twee aspects of Christmas: cups of cocoa adorned with candy canes; carol singers coming through the neighbourhood; brandy and cinnamon in everything, I was also planning my menu.

We'd decided to have the main meal in the evening, but with some champagne and fortifying canapes during the day. A couple of weeks ago I was at Borough Market, and bought some gorgeous little Scottish oatcake canape cases, which I filled with a cauliflower puree and topped with salmon roe. This was a nod to a New Year's Eve dinner that I made for Paul about 6 years ago, which stood out as the best New Year's either of us has ever had. I also bought a jar of baby figs marinated in brandy, and wrapped a fig and a lump of stilton in proscuitto and baked them until the cheese softened and the ham began to crisp. We had a bottle of Moet. I opened my presents (Paul's sadly haven't arrived yet). It was the perfect start to Christmas.






5 comments:

Simona said...

Nice decorations! And I like both canapes. Especially interesting is the pairing of prosciutto, Stilton and baby figs.

mscrankypants said...

Happy Christmas! The mention of the pickled pears took my fancy. And I'm glad Miss Urchin's fur coat is keeping her warm in your frosty weather.

Debinhawaii said...

Great photos. Looks like a delicious start to the festivities. ;-)

Foodycat said...

Simona - I'd normally do proscuitto, gorgonzola and fig, but Stilton is so much a part of Christmas in England that I had to use it!

Cranky - the pickled pears are delicious! I need to dig out the recipe I used.

Deb - thanks!

Rachel said...

I like the decorating part of Christmas the best. Your mistletoe wreath is just lovely.

I like to go around and light little candles everywhere to counteract the darkest time of the year and put out bowls of Christmas ornaments to make things festive. Your feast looks terribly scrumptious. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to your family!

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