Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas Day

For the past 3 years or so Gavin and I have spent Christmas alone in Sheffield. We would go out for lunch, get sozzled, stumble home and watch trashy Christmas TV. This year we couldn't really justify such extravagance and we decided to do dinner at home. Gavin worked Christmas Eve until 9pm and is at work now, so we weren't really up for travelling anywhere for Christmas, as one of us would have had to stay sober, which is not really an option! 

We invited my parents and my brother on the proviso that they wouldn't require the traditional Christmas dinner. I had long since decided that we were having steak and chips; thankfully my family were happy with that option.

Our day started with smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and a toasted bagel, all washed down with Bucks Fizz, one tradition I will always stick to! As for dinner, I wanted an easy day of it so the starter needed to be one that I could prepare ahead. Given my latest discovery of oven-dried tomatoes I went for Messy Mezze, just on a larger scale!  All was prepared well in advance so I just needed to plate it all up when everyone arrived.

Steak and chips was pretty straight forward too. I chopped potatoes into chips and par-boiled them for 5 minutes, drained coated in oil and seasoned and roasted at 180C or so for about 30-40 minutes. I'm not too sure of the timings as I just checked them every 5 minutes and when I thought they were nearly there, I started the steaks.

These steaks were from Coppice House Farm and they were enormous, so I heated up 2 frying pans as well as my char-grill pan  Even then I only managed to cook 4 at once. Mum likes hers medium, so I cooked hers for 4 minutes each side, everyone else's for 2 minutes each side. It all got pretty smoky in there! 

After a decent break we then had dessert; mince pies, clotted cream and ice cream. This was Gav's course and he'd made the ice cream himself. It was delicious and very good for a first attempt. Mince pies were shop bought, mainly because we didn't have time to make our own and also because they worked out cheaper that way!

Then there was the cheese course. This is my favourite course of any meal! I served up some Rigottes de Condrieu Goats' Cheese and Brie de Meaux, (both of which are made from unpasteurised milk and from the Tesco Finest Range), some Long Clawson Mature Blue Stilton and some Wensleydale with cranberries. I don't normally go for cheese with fruit in it, but I thought the cranberries were fitting for Christmas. I prefer the smellier cheeses and both the goat's cheese and brie had been ponging my fridge out for a week or so.  Thankfully I had managed to restrain myself from scoffing the lot until the big day. I also served up my chicken liver pate, crackers and left overs from the starter.

All in all it was a pretty stress free day and as we had long breaks between courses it took us about 4-5 hours to finish. I also managed to pick up a few foodie gifts. I'd asked Gavin to get me Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson as it's packed full of recipes using odd bits of meat, such as Cold Lamb's Brain on Toast & Crispy Pig's Tails. It's a really nice, solid hard backed book. I'm not too sure how many of the recipes I'll be able to give a go (I haven't seen pig's tails for sale!), but I will try some for the sake of the blog if nothing else. My parents got me The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit which is something I've been after for a while, but hadn't mentioned to anyone, so I was well chuffed to unwrap it! It's basically a book of flavour combinations. You look up the main ingredient and it will tell you what flavours will go with it. My brother did well too; cheese, wine and fudge. Can't really go wrong can you?

Did anyone else go for something non-traditional for Christmas this year?  Whatever you did have, I'm sure you will have all stuffed yourself silly, which is one tradition we could never do without!


  1. When you get the chance try and pay a visit to Fergus Henderson's place in Smithfield. Last time I went we had half a pigs head - it was so good, even the trout was crispy. The recipe is in "Nose to tail".

    Never an easy thing to find the more unusual cuts of meat in Sheffield. Castle market is okay for heads and such like. I've never been able to find a decent butcher - I've been after trying lambs brains for ages, but you just can't find them.

    Maybe the local Satanical chapter could help?

  2. Yes, I would love to go to St John Restaurant. Unfortunately I do have a long list of places to go! I've given pigs cheeks a go... I'm no sure if I could face cooking half a head each! However, I have picked up some lambs hearts from the market today and am looking forward to giving them a go.