So, it’s that time of year again. I made a conscious decision this year to spend the 25 and 26 December at home, alone if need be, just kicking back and not worrying about anything. not worry about getting up at a certain time, not worrying about just wearing boxers (assuming I could be bothered to put them on) not worrying about smoking too much or drinking too much or eating too much…you catch my drift?
I decided that whilst I wanted to indulge in good food and drink, I didn’t want to be a slave to the kitchen so I was prepared to see if a tasty meal could be conjured up with a ‘supermarket ready meal’ base. Oh decisions, decisions, what to have on Christmas day?! Being a devout atheist I turned my nose up at ‘tradition’ and opted for a French, free range Guinea Fowl with pork, caramelised apple and tarragon stuffing, Waitrose kindly sorted me out with that! It also had a couple of slices of unsmoked streaky bacon on to stop it drying out. Cooking time 1hrs 20mins with 15 mins ‘standing’ time
So, that was the hassle of the main dish sorted. Accompaniments would be Red Cabbage and Roast Potatoes. The cabbage was simply shredded and simmered in red wine and apple juice with a handful of dried cranberries for 15 minutes.
The roast potatoes were a more elaborate affair.
I picked 6 nice looking spuds from the garden and boiled them in lightly salted water for 15mins, then plunged them in cold water, drained and set aside. I then crushed 4 cloves of garlic, some rosemary, chili and salt together in a mortar and added it to a large frying pan in which I’d heated 5 tablespoons of cannachilli oil, after a minute I then added the potatoes and the juice of half a lemon and tossed and turned until the skins slightly darkened, then I tipped the pans contents into an oven tray added some ground pepper and salt and popped them in the oven, top shelf (gas mark 6), for 30 minutes.
I made gravy by boiling the juices from the Guinea Fowl together with half a glass of red wine, a dollop of ketchup and after simmering for 10mins I strained it and thickened it with a little plain flour.
The end result was delicious.
With a little planning all the dishes were ready together and served on hot plates. The wine was a more than tasty 2004 Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon. very flavoursome and went well with the bird.
I then retired to start this blog while the main course digested itself. The next course was a much desired EPOISSES Appellation d’origine BERTHAUT cheese washed down with a bottle of Cockburns LBV 2000 Port… yum yum
As you can see, even though I had left the cheese out for around 36hrs, it was still a little firm in the middle; it was however gloriously tasty, the skins dark colour comes from the ‘washing’ it gets in brandy!
Again, time out was called and the blog updated before returning for dessert, Christmas Pudding!!
The pudding was patiently steamed for just over an hour before being turned upside down, doused in a generous splash of Cannabrandy and set alight, served with a glass of Calvert’s Limited Release 2005 Sauvignon Blanc. sadly this just confirmed my already stubborn opinion, the French don’t seem to do Sauvignon Blanc the way the Kiwi’s manage it. the Calvert was just tooo ‘soft’ for my liking.
I then called it a day with a strong espresso and a few pieces of Turkish Delight.
Boy do I feel stuffed! Who cares about the calories, it’s back to the gym in January. For all those worried about friends who choose to spend the 25 December alone, don’t worry too much, we’re not all sitting at home feeling miserable, we’re just taking time out to recharge our batteries, the only way we know how :)
The musical accompaniment to the whole affair was provided by The Symphonic Jean Michel Jarre a 2 CD set of Jean Michel Jarre’s work performed by the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, thankfully my neighbours were either out or approved as I had the volume turned up quite high ;-) Seek out the album, as a taster here is the gorgeous Chronologie 1