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Christmas dinner musings

By December 21, 2015

It's that time of year again when I end months of indecision and finally choose my menu for xmas day. Those of you who follow the blog may have noticed I don't really enjoy the traditional fare of dry turkey, boiled to death sprouts and roast spuds like bullets. I'm also not the worlds biggest fan of christmas cake or pudding and please do not bother offering me a mince pie. It doesn't matter how much booze you pour into those cakes it's not going to make them any more appetising, especially with all that dried fruit and candied peel in it.

My other half and I do have our little traditions that we've established since we moved to the land of clogs and christmas becomes more of a feast day, a day in which we enjoy good food, fine wines and maybe each others company! We've combined traditions of what his family does food wise and what mine does, so an interesting Anglo-Irish mix. It all begins with a nice fry up on christmas eve which was a tradition from my family, this year with a not so traditional boudin noir from burgundy in place of the usual clonakilty black and white puddings, but definitely with my home cured bacon. Then possibly off to listen to some jazz at one of our favourite bars De Twee Spieghels which always has a nice vibe on christmas eve.

The next morning is always smoked salmon with soda bread, this year it will be home smoked, naturally, and then a toast to absent friends with some nibbles and a glass of fizz.

The first course will always be a posh version of prawn cocktail, with either langoustines, crayfish or lobster, depending on what's available in the fishmongers.

Main course wise I sometimes like to mix things up a little, maybe venison with a black pudding crust or last years sous vide cote de boeuf which was finished on my trusty green egg. This year I'm planning on wild goose. 
Hang on, I hear you saying it's not exactly mixing it up, goose being very traditional fare. There is a reason I plumped for this. 

It harks back to our first christmas here in the Netherlands where I bought a goose and on the very day I wanted to cook it the oven went on strike. Only the oven didn't give notice of said strike, so whilst it gave the impression it was actually doing something, I only found out about halfway through the cooking, that it wasn't. 

The oven in question was one of those miniscule combi ovens that are placed at eye level (for Dutch sized people, not Irish leprechaun sized people). These ovens fit almost nothing into them and don't work very well at the best of times. So that christmas we had some really nice sauteed veg!

So this is the reason I'm giving goose a go, as when cooked well it is a delicious bird and you can save the fat from the cooking to use again and again to cook other dishes. I keep a pot of dripping in my fridge from various roasts, to use time and time again. This year I actually have fully functioning ovens, yes that's ovens plural! It was the one thing I insisted on when I was designing a new kitchen when we bought our house. Also they are at Irish person height, same for all the work surfaces, I had to battle with the company that built the kitchen to get what I wanted. I got there in the end!

For the cheese course I'll have to pop into L'Amuse in Amsterdam to see if they have any Colston Basset Stilton, some Montgomery's cheddar and Ardrahan and Dessert is looking will be a brandy Meringue bombe.

All that's left for me to do is to wish you all a very merry christmas, may your christmas dinners be cooked and have a great new year.

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