Christmas preparations

I keep thinking there's too much space in the fridge, but that's because the ham is in the oven and the goose crown is still in the freezer.

I've got the Ginger / Wasabi salmon on Day 2. The ham is lightly wrapped in foil, on a bed of fresh bay leaves, coriander and mustard seed, and allspice berries, in a Gas Mark 4 oven. It should come out around 7:30, which gives me plenty of time to decide what to glaze / crust it with.

We went to Beanies this morning and bought several sackfuls of veg, also to Fresh Asia in Broomhill to get some interesting things for the Japanese Experiment on Christmas Eve.

My thoughts so far are:

Tonight – venison liver, parsnip rosti, redcurrant jelly, cauliflower
Tuesday – main meal out at lunchtime in town, which could be anything. If we're hungry when we come home, individual baked baby camemberts with crusty ground hazelnut topping and bread and pear wedges to dunk.
Wednesday – last minute supermarket shopping, main meal in the evening of cured salmon, braised belly pork, miso-marinated grilled chicken, fresh pickled vegetables, carrot and sesame salad, cold green tea noodles, possibly some hand-rolled sushi, maybe some steamed aubergine with peanut sauce. There are some Sekrit Treats to go with this, and some bizarre pickled substances I bought this morning.
Thursday – roast goose, roast potatoes, parsnips, baby baby sprouts, braised red cabbage and chestnuts, cornbread sage dressing, gravy, ginger sauce, pickled pears – Christmas pudding
Friday – Ham, pork pie, salad, cheese, fruit, Christmas cake
Saturday – something fresh and spicy, maybe a set of veggie curries
Sunday – I have a joint of spiced cured beef, I may do something with that
After that we're into leftovers. 

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Advertisements

Planning Ahead

Now I've gone back to work, I'm finding it diffcult to guarantee enough energy to cook properly in the evenings. Plus it's COLD, and we want the sort of food that takes ages and ages. And we're poor. So I've been cooking several stews or similar over the weekend, that can just be finished off and reheated. Today I've made:

  • red cabbage in red wine, with onions, bacon, goose dripping, thyme, bay and lots of pepper – to be finished with vacuum packed chestnuts and to eat with gammon steaks and baked potato if we're really hungry
  • beef braised with fresh ginger, star anise, slices of mandarin orange, lots of carrots, beef stock and sake

I've got something with celeriac and blue cheese in the pipeline, but that will have to be last minute. There's a curry sauce and veg waiting to be stir-fried with some chicken. Which makes four huge meals and puts me ahead of the game. In the past few weeks we've had:

  • goose legs cooked in fat with garlic and thyme in the slow-cooker, fished out and flashroasted
  • venison liver braised with bacon and lots of red onion in stock and redcurrant jelly
  • soft tortillas stuffed with beans, or veg, or chilli, coated with spicy tomato sauce, topped with cheese and baked
  • giant suet herb dumplings cooked in thin veg soup

The larger Christmas meats are beginning to show up now, especially in freezers, and I'm thinking about how to do those and then portion them up.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Christmas Dinner 2007

Found some goose breast crowns in LIDL, weighing about a kilo each, for £8. The instructions were to roast at 200 (Gas Mark 6) for an hour, and that worked really well. I was using a single small oven this year, and that let me roast the potatoes underneath and the celery stuffing on the bottom.

Two of them gave off about a pint of good quality fat, and we carved off two whole breasts from each one, one breast per person. That was a large portion of solid meat, and there was a spare breast for slices if seconds were required.

The German meat stall at the Sheffield Christmas Market sold sealed longlife bags of shredded red cabbage cooked in apple juice, I microwaved one of them as a veg.

Dad did his oriental braised sprouts, and carrots with soy sauce and star anise. There were some steamed new potatoes, as well as the roasties.

Plain gravy made in the goose roasting tin, with some Chardonnay left over from Christmas Eve supper.

EDIT: Whoops, forgot, apple butter sauce with cloves as well

Bottle of Quinze President with main course.

A Waitrose "richly fruited" christmas pudding, with cream or white sauce, and a tiny bottle of Royal Tokay wine.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Celery Stuffing

I meant to make cornbread dressing to go with the Christmas goose, but I didn’t have time to make the cornbread. So I riffed it:

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into small strips
  • some sunflower oil
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1 massive rib green celery, very leafy, chopped
  • 1 big onion, finely chopped
  • 3 slices crumbled stollen (to replace the cornbread sweetness)
  • 6 slices sourdough bread, lightly toasted and cut into rough cubes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp dried sage
  • About 2/3 pint well-seasoned chicken stock (2 coffee mugs)

Fry the bacon in the oil until brown and crisp. Scoop the bacon out, add the butter to the oil and fry the onion and celery, with the leaves, until soft and the onion is browning at the edges. Take off the heat, add the bacon and the dry ingredients. Stir well, tip into a baking dish. Sprinkle with half the stock, and bake on the bottom of the oven. This had an hour at gas mark 6, under the goose and potatoes. If it starts to toast and dry out too much, add the second mug of stock about half way through.

Great cold, too. It was very green, if the celery wasn’t leafy, or was blanched, I’d be tempted to bung in a bunch of roughly chopped parsley.

Good cold.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

 

Things to do with Goose

The Cuisine for December 1984 also had a retro-article on goose cookery, it's not worth writing out the recipes, they were fairly standard, but some of the ideas were a little bit different. And would do fine for duck too.

Liver – dredge with seasoned flour and cook in goose fat on a high heat, serving with a jammy sauce made with prunes soaked in Madeira, onions and tart apples, with a little marjoram at the end.

Casserole – with onions and mushrooms, finished off with double cream, french mustard and fresh parsley

Ragout with bacon, turnips, cloves, bay leaf – caramelising the turnips in goose fat and sugar before adding them

A very complex stuffing for goose, making a cornbread with crumbled Italian sausage in it, mixing that with dried orchard fruits and mushrooms. Served with chestnuts braised with celery and goose gravy until coated and caramelised, and honeyed yams. I wouldn't do all three of those, it would be far too sweet – and certainly I'd want a watercress salad on the side, or a raw cranberry relish, or something very tart and sharp.

 

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Boxing Day Soup

Waitrose do ready-trimmed veg and fruit at exorbitant prices, and one of the packs is a mix of butternut squash and sweet potato cubes. Just not having to cut and peel the squash is worth the extravagance. I'd made the gravy for the goose yesterday with goose fat, plain flour, the juice from the roasting tin, giblet stock, seasoning including allspice, some cooking port and a big dollop of redcurrant jelly.

Today I got a big pan, tipped in the gravy, topped it up with boiling water, and added 2 packs of orange veg. Simmered for a few hours, pureed it, leaving some lumps for interest's sake, tasted and added more allspice and some pepper. No extra salt, as when I served it I stirred tiny lumps of fresh creamy stilton into the bowl, so it went soft but not too melty. 

Just what we needed this evening, rich but subtle, almost bland but very moreish, gentle on the tummy and nicely filling without being fatty or sweet.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Ginger Sauce for Goose

I like bread sauce, John doesn't. And it doesn't really go with goose anyway (although it's divine with sprouts). One year I found a German idea, which was like bread sauce except made with gingernut biscuits instead of bread. And that's proved quite popular. Except this year I messed it up, and every rescue attempt took it further and further away from the original. It ended up quite interesting, though, worth making a note of to repeat as a thing in its own right, or at least using as a starting point for something better.

  • Most of a big tub of half fat creme fraiche
  • A finely chopped shallot
  • About half a pint of Chardonnay
  • About half a pack of gingernuts
  • Some powdered ginger, allspice, pepper and salt

Heat the cream, mix in the wine and shallots and cook slowly for an hour or so until the shallots don't taste raw and crunchy any more. Crumble in the biscuits. Taste and add the spices to suit. Keep warm until ready to serve the goose – any chunks of biscuit will dissolve if whisked, or you could leave the lumps in if you like.

Next time – cook the shallots better first! maybe in a bit of butter. A drier wine wouldn't hurt, it was a bit oversweet. Or just chicken stock.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend