Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas lunch delivered chilled to your home on Christmas Eve or cooked and served by chef and waiting staff on Christmas Day

"Over here! You've got the wrong house!". Ho ho ho - the neighbours of the people we cook for on Christmas Day always have a sense of humour when we arrive, wherever it is!









View from kitchen door at the house we were cooking at on Christmas Day -
still very heavy frost at midday which never lifted!






It never seems like Christmas to me till the first lines of Once in Royal from Kings College. When I was young it would be on while I boxed up my homemade sweets for friends & family. This year I heard it on the way up the M5 back from delivering Christmas lunches in Bristol, on the way to more drops in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds before ending in Kidderminster to cook and serve a dinner party - quite the busiest ever Christmas Eve. The frost on the hills was so heavy it was almost like snow.

This year I had expanded the menu to make it a bit easier for people.
Game pie - more about this later - was served with celariac remoulade and homemade elderberry chutney from Delia at Dove Cottage who makes it from elderberries picked around the fields of Broadway. These are actually ones I made in November - the pace was so fast on Christmas eve there was little time for photos.

Smoked trout from Donnington trout farm. You can read more about those here.




Local pheasant (lots of pheasant shoots in the Cotswolds!).

Having run out of bacon I wrapped them in parma ham which I had while roasting - saves it from drying out - and stuffed them with 1/4 orange, 1/4 onion and some thyme. Once cooked I let them rest before de-boning and sat the parma ham underneath the pheasant breast & leg.










Turkey


We were walking with dinosaurs (top left) on Christmas Day itself - we cooked for a variety of ages from the 1 year old (top right) to grandparents. Deliveries (above) were made before cooking for a dinner party on Christmas Eve.

For the turkey I de-boned it to make a ballottine as last year. This makes the presentation much better. It was roasted on top of a potato trivet as ever with lemon, thyme, and this year I added cinnamon and crushed cardamon seeds. All the flavour of these infuses the turkey as it cooked. Once it had a bit of colour on it I added white wine to the roasting tin too - even more flavour, and also moisture.




The party we were cooking on Christmas Day had asked for cauliflower cheese rather than our roasted brussell sprouts so that's what we did. I was about to boil the cauliflower when I changed my mind and roasted it instead, like I did for the cauliflower in Cotswold Way ale sauce. Then once cooked topped it with cheese sauce & cheese and placed it back in the oven. Cooked like this you keep in all the flavour of the cauliflower rather than boiling it into the water which invariably you throw away. And glazed chantenay carrots (hiding underneath the turkey in pic above) replaced the creamed leeks and onions which we served for the delivery meals with the honey roast parsnips silver served.

As I had some cranberries left from making the pumpkin and cranberry bread rolls I put some in the stuffing for the turkey leg.






Parsnip and leek crumble for an all vegetarian delivery (there is something else than nut roast!). Roast celery, artichokes & white wine sauce in there too.









Getting Christmas pudding lit and into the room is always a bit of a rush. Never get a good photo (evidence below)......

Egg free chocolate brownie for the children (as one allergic to eggs) with homemade egg free ice cream.







Later on, after our own Christmas lunch (did actually stop - thanks to Gill and her mother), it was back to work to clear up and get ready for another busy day the next day (Boxing Day) and then onwards ever onwards to January 3rd.

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