Christmas 2009 – how was yours?

Christmas lunch. First course: parmesan custard with anchovy toast, recipe from Café Anglais, executed by my niece, Charlotte.

There was a time when my mother, Fay, good Jewish mother that she is, would insist on cooking every morsel of Christmas fare.

Finally we managed to persuade her we were old enough to take over.

Now we share the cooking.

My sister, Geraldine, cooked the goose reared by wise animal welfare expert, Sheepdrove Organic Farm, which has a shop in Bristol.

From top left clockwise:  the goose, then green bean, cranberry sauce, roast potato, roast parsnips, roast carrots, roast sweet potato, apple sauce and bread sauce.

It sounds bloody grand and it was. A local Big Issue vendor ate nothing on Christmas day, he told me today.

Juliette, eldest niece, cooked all of vegetables including her own concoction, green beans with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mint and a little sugar.

I made the tiramisu. None of my books had a recipe but luckily I found Tiramisu Heaven.

Mine did not look like Tiramisu Heaven pic above.

Mine looked splodgy – see below.

Yet it was delicious, if both bread-puddingy and way-creamy. I used less sugar than recipe (3oz instead of 4oz/ 1/2 cup) and brioche instead of ladyfingers. Lots of strong coffee.

I made the tiramisu late-at-night and last-minute. After carefully separating eggs, I made fatal mistake and did to egg whites what should have been done to yolks.

My mum does not use eggs at all. How sensible is that? Just 8oz mascarpone +brandy +  coffee-soaked ladyfingers, sprinkling each creamy-layer with cocoa powder, and topping with rest of coffee-soaked cake.

Geraldine provided an extra treat: mince pies with homemade pastry.

She homemade the mincemeat too: you assemble the fruit and suet, and warm. “Dead simple,” says mincemeat-demystifier, Delia Smith.

This feast was manageable thanks to six of us cooking. I made my dish in advance while others cooked on Christmas day. So division of labour was not equal.

How did you manage Christmas?

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4 responses to “Christmas 2009 – how was yours?

  1. After a number of years of eschewing turkey in favour of biryani, chicken and confit, we returned to the traditional Christmas dinner. We bought our bird from our local butcher. It was good but I fear I may have overcooked it slightly and the gravy was a bit burnt. It was served with chestnut stuffing balls, chipolatas wrapped in bacon, roast potatoes, parmesan parsnips (courtesy of St Delia) and brussel sprouts. The homemade pudding was perfect, with cream from our Riverford vegetable box. We were to have had smoked salmon for starters but didn’t think we could manage so we saved it until Boxing Day.

    The trouble I find with Christmas dinner is it takes so long to prepare that by the time I sit down to eat it I’ve lost my appetite. I much prefer the leftovers – turkey sandwiches and turkey soup in particular.

    We had goose once. It was expensive and I seem to remember it taking a long time to cook. I enjoyed it on the day but the best bit was the fat that kept us in delicious roast potatoes for months.


    • Hi Gai, thanks for that. It was interesting hearing the different ways to do dinner from confitto trad turkey.

      I like the reference to St Delia – she probably does deserves canonisation despite dissing organic food.

      Thanks for Riverford shout-out. Organic cream from a veg box – love it.

      Thanks too for mentioning goose fat – you are right, makes wicked roast potatoes. (That’s what Juliette used, too).


  2. Geraldine Winkler

    The meal was delicious and convivial, and making your mince well worth it. Delia has crept back up in my notchery. I still use her recipes from the Evening Standard in the’70s. (I was extremely young..).

    It was lovely to see the next generation taking up the utensils.

    The tira pictures made me laugh. Perhaps we should have called it tira mi giu (appropriate, eh?) but it did taste good.


  3. Mi scusi, Geraldina, ma il mio italiano non è “good enough.”

    What does “tira mi giu” mean?

    Grazie, Elisabetta


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