Children - Sugar mice and chocolate coins from their stockings.
I most emphatically do not provide a special breakfast on Christmas Day. None of that Buck's Fizz, Christmas muffins, smoked salmon and scrambled egg nonsense for us. We will be having a large and bounteous lunch. Christmas is a time for feasting but not at every meal. Breakfast can be forgotten.
Starter - Nothing. I've never seen the need for a starter with Christmas lunch. It isn't as if anyone is likely to go hungry after all.
Stuffing made from the goose liver, sausagemeat, apples, sage, onion and calvados
Potatoes and parsnips roasted in goose fat
Carrots and peas
No sprouts ever
Quince sauce. You didn't think Christmas lunch was going to be quince-free did you?
Meringues and cream
We have been having a goose for Christmas lunch for about 8 years now. Goose is the traditional Christmas bird in this country. Turkey is a modern interloper and a pretty dull one at that.
As my elder son says 'goose is good'. Goose is a dark meat, rich and fatty, a little like duck but not at all like chicken or turkey. Although a prepared goose looks huge a lot of its bulk is in fact empty space and large bones. This goose is 12 lbs but there won't be much leftover from feeding five of us. I anticipate one extra meal from the leftovers plus lots of stock from the carcase and plenty of gorgeous fat for roasting potatoes.
This goose comes from Goodman's Geese. C collected it this morning despite the fact he was supposed to be at work. I am terrified of driving in snow and ice, my car isn't really up to it either. The farm isn't too far away but the journey includes a steep downhill stretch approaching a bridge over the River Severn and a steep uphill stretch the other side. I didn't fancy ending up in the Severn. There are also narrow, winding country lanes to negotiate.
Supper (for those who want it.)
Pickled shallots (not mine)
Bread and cheese biscuits/crackers
No salads or vegetables. This is not the time for a nutritionally balanced meal.
Leftover pud, meringues, mince pies, chocolate etc
Christmas cake. I hope you aren't waiting for me to show you my Christmas cake all iced and lovely. I don't marzipan or ice the cake. We like it plain -if you can call something as rich and boozy as Christmas cake plain.
Cold goose does not really provide the sandwich possibilities that turkey does so there will be some cooked ham. I have a large joint of ham which I will be boiling tomorrow then glazing with marmalade, nailing with cloves and baking. We will have this cold throughout the Christmas period.
Christmas Eve is My Big Cooking Day. I've made a list and I've checked it twice.
1. Make stuffing
2. Make stock with the goose giblets. For the gravy.
3. Defrost some quince purée. For the quince sauce which is in fact just quince purée.
4. Boil and bake the ham
5. Make quick flaky pastry for sausage rolls.
6. Make sausage rolls.
7. Make meringues
8. Make some lunch for the children and I. Bread and cheese probably.
9. Cook something for tea. Chickpea curry possibly.
10. If time, peel the potatoes.
Fortunately there is nothing I like better than a day in the kitchen especially if I have something good to listen to. And I do. Look what arrived today (see my previous post).
I will probably be posting some pictures of our Christmas feast either on Christmas evening or on Boxing Day. Our Christmas will be pretty quiet (good) so I'll have plenty of time and I do love sitting down with my laptop to compose a new post :o)
In the meantime I will leave you with my favourite Christmas poem and my best wishes to all my readers known and unknown for a merry, peaceful and stress-free Christmas.
Merry Christmas :o)
Christmas by John Betjeman
The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.
The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.
Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.
And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.
And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.
And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?
And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,
No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.