This Christmas has seen a lot of cooking, so I figured I should summarize these past wonderfully relaxed days to serve as a reminder on what to do next year.
Cooking for the holiday started early, with preparing some home made gifts for my friends. As I am a keen reader of Oliver Thring (blog) I noticed him making confit oranges dipped in chocolate and figured that would make the perfect gift. Recipe is from a book by Paul A Young, who I admittedly have never heard of before but whose cookery books I am now keen to check out.
While the confit was drying the next thing to prepare was the pork bellly for the dinner party over at H's where we were supposed to bring a dish each to share. Our household ended up bringing four... My favourite pork belly, Tuscan fennel rubbed pork; browned cabbage Swedish style; pumpkin pie (requires blogging about, awesome savoury dish that goes well with anything); apple crumble with home made vanilla ice cream; trifle mess (W's delicious combination of trifle and Eaton mess, must remember to blog that recipe)... Some serious juggling going on in the kitchen that day!
Other great things served up that evening, contributed by others, were South African bobotie, sticky toffee pudding, milk tart, pigs in blankets and bean salad. I will have to learn how to make the bobotie just like J does, it is glorious!
Christmas Eve started off with brussel sprouts and slabs of bacon from Ginger Pig at Greensmiths on Lower Marsh. Decided to do the brussel sprouts slightly different, with a bit more of freshness than lardons or pancetta and chestnuts would bring.
The bacon from Ginger Pig is amazing, no shrinkage, lovely colour
Originally uploaded by Manne.
Quartered the sprouts, fried them on medium heat with butter for a few minutes, seasoned with salt and pepper, whacked two handfuls of fresh coriander in the pan and then doused it all with the juice of one lemon. Delicious!
Right after brunch it was time to start on the roast gammon with blackened crackling. Following a Delia Smith recipe we scored the skin of the gammon and then smothered it with salt and treacle. In the oven for about two hours and out came the most amazing thing. It looked like a black yule log, but once the crispy crackling on the top was broken through the ham was moist and succulent. Tasted so nice with whole grain mustard from Halmstad in Sweden, courtesy of Scandi Kitchen.
While the gammon roasted in the oven I finished up the orange confit. After three days on my clothes drying rack they were dry and slightly crunchy, ready to be dipped in chocolate. Following Oliver Thring's advice I made sure the chocolate was at the right temperature, tempering it so as to not get any blooming on my gifts.
As the photo shows there was enough of the "Willie's Delectable Cacao" to also dip a few strawberries which disappeared more or less as quickly as I could dip them!
Throughout the day we grazed away on the treats on the Christmas table. Clear favourites were the crispy thin chocolate and nuts Noblesse. Sadly I could not find any figs and dades, and I wish I had had some more varieties of nuts on there. Will do better next year.
Ginger bread snap cookies go oh so well with a nice Stilton by the way...
Dinner on Christmas Eve was a selection of what I would consider to be typically Swedish delicacies. Three types of pickled herring, some smoked salmon, halved eggs with either prawns and mayo or caviar on top, dark rye bread with Präst cheese, meatballs and beet root salad, pressed ham, pate from Småland, crispbread from Peter's Yard, pickled beetroots and cucumber, browned cabbage, unsalted butter from Longman... And of course some of the gammon roast and crackling. Great stuff. Only thing missing was some smoked eel and I would have been in Christmas nirvana.
Christmas Day breakfast was simply snacking on the leftovers from last night's feast, along with some poached eggs where we tried out the technique of wrapping the eggs in cling film rather than poaching them in swirling water. Worked well, but trickier to get the yolk just right.
Monging out on the sofa in front of the TV commenced, while Ing got started on the beef roast. Soaked in port and whiskey for the past two days it smelled fantastic even before it went in the oven. Along with some roast vegetables, leading with a big heap of parsnips, the scene was set for stuffing ourselves properly. Again.
Simmering away on the stove was the mulled wine, filling the flat with the lovely scent of Christmas.
Boxing Day breakfast saw my favourite dish of the entire holiday: bubble and squeak made with the left over roast vegetables mashed with a potato masher, the rest of the gammon chopped up and added in. The trick with bubble and squeak is to no stir it too often. Let it sit on medium heat to burn a bit, just a little bit, to give it that nice toasted taste. While our bubble and squeak came out pink due to the beetroots, it tasted divine.
With a dollop of cream at the top it would look like Santa's hat...
Originally uploaded by Manne.
Today it is the 27th. We have been snacking on leftovers, cheese and treats the past two days, so tonight it is time for something different. I believe we will order in, a few large servings of shredded crispy chilli beef from Mama Chang's and serve it up with the last of the brussel sprouts made traditionally with lardons. And then it is almost time to go to France, to see what culinary delights we can find over there.
Burp. When does the gym open again?