Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas for two

I've just got back from spending Christmas in Timaru with Nana, so I guess the thing to do now is type up an account of how many Edmonds recipes I managed to squeeze into Christmas Day.

I'd planned a plate of nibbles to have while we were opening presents, and including ckicken liver pâté (p192) and cheese straws (p192). I made the pâté on Sunday evening. It's a fairly simple process of cooking onion in butter, then the chicken livers, and blitzing it all up in the food processor. Add some brandy, sage and more butter - after that it's just a matter of adjusting the seasoning to taste, spooning it into a bowl and pouring melted clarified butter over the top.

I'm not really clear on the purpose of the clarified butter. I assumed this would make a similar gelatinous topping to the ones you get on bought pâté, but actually it set hard and buttery, and had to be scraped off before serving. I guess it's for sealing off the pâté?

One thing I will say about this recipe: it makes heaps. I made the full recipe, because I couldn't get a smaller package of chicken livers at the supermarket - this filled one medium-sized bowl, then a smaller one as well. What am I going to do with all that pâté? 

On Christmas Eve, I whipped up a batch of cheese straws, which are made from a simple flour, baking powder and egg dough with cheese and spices for flavour. I rolled it out and cut it into sticks, baked them for 12 minutes and they were ready.

Both the pâté and the cheese straws looked good on my nibble platter, but I have to admit, with only the two of us, there was plenty left over.

For our Christmas lunch, I'd planned a simple meal of ham, new potatoes and salad. Where's the Edmonds in that? It's in the sauces. The salad was a fairly simple smoked chicken, baby spinach, cucumber and blueberry combination, to which I chose to add avocado dressing (p183).

The dressing is made by blending together avocado, lime juice, oil and sugar, then adding seasoning. I couldn't be bothered digging out Mum's food processor, so I decided to try it by hand. The result was not wonderful - I'd definitely use a processor if I were making this again. The avocado was lumpy and the oil did not blend well, so the dressing looked kind of split and unappealing on the salad. It tasted good, though, and that's what matters.

To go with the ham, I made a cumberland sauce (p185). It's based on redcurrant jelly, which turns to liquid as you heat it. When it's hot, you add finely chopped onion, lemon and orange juice, port, and blanched shredded orange rind.

I didn't know what shredded orange rind was the first time I came across it in a marmalade recipe, and I'm none the wiser now. I cut a few strips of rind and made an attempt to tear them up. This was not at all successful, so I just cut it into little pieces instead, and blanched them by pouring boiled water over them in a sieve.

There's nothing in the cumberland sauce recipe that tells you when it's ready. I'd hoped it would thicken up a bit, but there was no sign of that. I assumed it was supposed to be served hot, but the recipe held no clues to that one either. It was a delicious tangy sauce to have with our ham, even though it was a but runny. It's firmed up again in the fridge overnight, so I'll be able to sample it cold and decide which is best.

Nana and I took our lunch outside to enjoy the sunshine while we ate. It was a simple meal, but a very successful way to feed the two of us for Christmas. Neither of us became overfull, and we still had room for dessert later - trifle and fruit salad supplied by Nana, along with some meringues I'd made a few days back when I found myself with a leftover egg white.

Though there were only two of us this year, Nana and I had a lovely Christmas. I hope you all did as well. 

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