Holiday Feasts

Christmas Eve Dinner

Aperitif

Sparkling white wine or champagne

Champagne flute

1 strawberry and 1 tsp of juice in bottom of flute

Then fill glass with champagne or sparkling white wine

Note, to get juice puree a few strawberries like 6 or so or if you use frozen strawberries then warm them up to defrost and use the juice from this.

 

Fennel/Carrot Soup

Two Fennel bulbs washed

Two pounds of carrot peeled, tops and bottoms cut off

1 medium sweet white onion

1 medium red onion

1 sweet pepper, red or yellow or orange

Pepper

Lemon herb

Olive oil

3 litres of chicken broth

½ cup of white wine

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.  Then in a big pan I put fennel bulbs in but first cut them into large chunks.  Then I cut up and add the carrot into large chunks as well, then add the garlic remove the skin and throw them into the mix, peel the skins off the onion remove first later then cut into chunks and throw into mixer then pepper the mixer, cut the pepper up into chunks removing all seeds and its top, add some lemon herb about 1 tbsp.  Pour some oil over the lot, about 3 tbsp. and mix it all up, put into oven and bake for an hour.

Duck

While that is in the oven I start to get the ducks ready.  The ducks need to cook at 350 F.  I have two ovens so this works easily for me if only one oven you must wait for the baking of the soup vegetables to be done before being able to put in your duck.

I must do three ducks for our gang.  So first I peel and cut up potatoes into chunks, put in a bowl after you have enough potatoes for the number of people, I do 1 large per person or 2 small per person so we have about 9 large potatoes or 18 small potatoes.  After peeled and washed, then I peel a large red onion, add to bowl, 1 baking onion peeled and de-seeded, I cut it into chunks add to mixture, then add 1 tbsp. apple mustard and 1 tbsp. of Dijon mustard, add about 3 tbsp. of olive oil, 2 tsp of sweet and savoury herb, pepper and salt, mix well and put on the bottom of roasting pan.  The ducks will go on top of the potatoes.

Now you take the duck remove any giblets from inside, wash the duck and place onto of the potatoes, put 1 ½ tbsp. of apple mustard on top of the bird, plus 1 tbsp. of Dijon mustard on top of the bird, peel a cooking apple and remove seeds, cut into chunks and place inside the bird, with a knife spread the mustard all over the bird, pepper and sprinkle some sweet and savoury herb over it.  Pour a half of cup of white wine over the duck making sure some of the wine sits in the neck area. Now it is ready to be cooked.  My birds weigh between 4 lbs to 6 lbs.  Roast for 2 to 3 hours for a 4 to 6 lb bird.  Check it as because of the potatoes it could need a bit more time.  The bird should read 175 F on a meat thermometer.

 

Finishing Soup

At this point, you can go back to finishing making the soup.  After taking the cook vegetables out of the oven, place them all into a big pot, then add 3 litres of chicken broth and ½ cup of white wine to the vegetables, bring to a boil on the stove top, turn down and simmer until the vegetables are soft and tender.  Stir it to make sure it doesn’t overcook or burn.  Once vegetables are soft and tender, then use a blender stick and puree the mixture up.  If the broth has all vaporised then you can add more broth to the mixture, also depending on how thick you like your soup you can add more broth to make it runnier.  In other words, make the soup thickness to your liking always taste and add in small amounts so to not dilute the flavour of the soup.

Bread for the Soup

I would recommend making a homemade herb bread to go with the soup.

1 tbsp of active yeast

2 cups of warm water

2 tbsp of sugar

¼ cup of olive oil

A dash of sea salt

2 tbsp of basil and oregano

1 tsp of garlic powder and onion powder

½ cup of grated parmesan cheese

4 cups of white flour and 2 cups of whole wheat

In a bowl mix the yeast with the warm water let it sit for 5 mins, then add sugar, olive oil, dash of sea salt, oregano, basil, garlic powder and onion powder mix well, then add the grated cheese, then add the 4 cups of white flour and finally add the 2 cups of whole wheat flour.  Knead for about 8 to 10 mins.  If dough is not forming into a ball because it is too wet then add a bit more of flour, if it is because it is too dry and slowly add a dash of water until the dough makes a nice ball shape.  Divide dough in half, spray two bread pans then put the dough into each pan, cover with hot towel and place in a warm place, I use my top oven, if cooking in the bottom oven then I don’t add any extra heat but if I am not using the bottom oven then I warm the top oven to about 150 and let the bread dough sit there for about an hour.  It should double in size.  Then remove it from oven, remove the towel, and warm up the oven to 350 once it is ready put bread into the oven and bake for 35 mins.  Remove loaves from the oven, remove them from the pans and let them cool on the wire racks for about 15 mins before slicing into them.  Serve with butter and with the soup.

 

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Since the soup is a vegetable soup I serve the dinner with a simple salad.

I serve a nice red wine with duck that is a bit strong so it will accompany the duck well.

For dessert, I did apple pie, blueberry pie and pumpkin pie.  For the apple, I made bird’s eye custard and for the blueberry and pumpkin, I did whipping cream.  You can find my recipe for the apple and pumpkin pie in the blog called Thanksgiving Feast.  For the blueberry, I cheated and bought it from the store.

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I also offer a nice almond herb tea for after dinner.

Before dinner, I offer cheese and crackers, salami and crackers plus eggnog from the store but you mix in whip cream that has been whipped and some good rum and sprinkle it with nutmeg.

 

New Year’s Eve Dinner

Lamb rib chops when picking your chops make sure they are meaty.  They usually have eight bones in them.  For our family of 3 boys, 2 parents and 3 girlfriends we do 3 to 4 packages of ribs

Get out big roasting pan to sit and marinade the ribs in

Pepper and salt ribs both sides

Then mix marinade together

1 1/3 cups of olive oil

7 garlic cloves chopped

5 tbsp. of Dijon mustard

2 tbsp of thyme, 1 tbsp of oregano, 2 tbsp of rosemary

12 tbsp of lemon

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Mix well and spread over the ribs on both sides saving some for vegs.

Then cut up carrots, onions, peppers, put into a bowl and pour the remainder of marinade over vegs mix well.

Let ribs rest with marinade for 4 hrs or more

Pre-heat oven to 400

In another bowl wash and cut up your potatoes leaving the skins on them, cut them how you like triangles or sticks or cubes, put into a bowl (for my group I do 8 plus 3 extra large potatoes).

Mix together

1 cup of water, 1 cup of olive oil, 2 tbsp of garlic powder, 1 tbsp of oregano, 9 tbsp of lemon, 2 tbsp of paprika, pepper, salt and throw 3 tbsp of whole wheat flour on the potatoes then pour mixture over the potatoes. Mix well and let them marinade for 4 hours stirring from time to time.

When you are ready to cook, start with potatoes cook for 40 mins middle of the oven take out after 40 mins and stir, then return to oven and cook another 40 mins cooking them in the mixture that they were resting in. Return the potatoes to the oven and add the roasting pan with lamb ribs and put the vegs around the lamb ribs make sure to leave the ribs in the marinade and make sure you scrape all the marinade the vegs were in onto the vegs bake for 15 mins, then remove from oven and stir the vegs and flip the ribs over.  Bake for another 15 mins.  Make sure during this time to check the potatoes if they are done then you can put them into microwave covered or if you are like me into the other oven to keep warm.  However, depending on the thickness of the potatoes and number of potatoes, I like mine to be thick then they usually can stay in while the ribs and vegs are cooking.  Remove ribs and potatoes after the second 15 mins and slice the ribs between the bone.  Then let them rest for 10 to 15 mins, during this time depending on the vegs they might need to stay in the oven cooking.  When ready remove and I put it all on a big serving dish, potatoes, then ribs and finally vegs.  I scrape up the sauce in the pan but first remove the excess oil and use the sauce for the meat as a juice, it can be used over the vegs as well if people want a bit stronger taste.

I would also serve this with a tossed salad and I would make a similar dressing 3 tbsp lemon, 1/3 cup olive oil, some pepper, some rosemary and oregano and garlic powder, 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard, mix well, taste with a piece of lettuce adjust spices if needed.  I put the dressing on the side as some like it well dressed others in our group like it lightly dressed.

Serve dinner with a nice bold strong red wine.

I end the meal with a chocolate cake that I would use then and the next day meal.

Chocolate Cake

You will need two square pans I think mine are 8×8, spray then pans with cooking spray so that the cake will not stick.

In a large bowl mix 1 ½ cup of white sugar, 1 cup of milk and 1 tbsp of white vinegar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp of vanilla, ½ cup of olive oil, mix well until everything is creamy, then add 1 cup of strongly brewed coffee our coffee has a hint of chocolate in it, creamy it all together, then add 1 cup of Dutch cocoa powder, 1tsp of each baking powder and baking soda and mix well, creaming them together then add 2 cups of white flour. Once well mixed, divide the batter between the two pans and bake on middle or top of oven at 350 for about 45 mins.  Remove when cooked, check cakes by using a toothpick and if the toothpick comes out clean then loosen the cakes and put onto a plate.  Then take a bread knife and cut each cake into twos making four layers.  Then make icing and ice the layers and with the remainder of the icing whip until it is thickened and when it looks more like whipping cream then cover the entire cake and serve with tea or coffee.

Icing

2 cups of whipping cream and 160z of half semi-sweet chocolate and the other half unsweetened chocolate, and 2 tbsp of corn syrup or 2 tbsp of white sugar.  Use a liter measuring cup and put the cream, the chocolate and the corn syrup in it and warm in microwave until the chocolate melts this takes about 4 mins, however, do it that is warming in small amounts like a min a time to stir the cream, chocolate and syrup to making sure it doesn’t burn the chocolate.  Once all melted and well mix together then cream it, just a bit.  Then let it cool down, cream a bit more before spreading on the layers after covering the layers and placing each layer on top of each other making a 4-story cake then take the remainder of the chocolate cream and cream it until it thickens like whipping cream only do this when the mixture is completely cool don’t do this when it is still hot.  Then spread the whipped mixture over the 4-story cake covering it all.

New Year’s Day Dinner

Again, I marinade the Pork loin ribs, eight bones and they are usually much bigger than the lamb ribs so I only need 1 package for 5 of us or two packs if the girlfriends are joining us.

Marinade

First pepper and salt the ribs then mix together

3 garlic cloves chopped

2 tbsp of mustard

1/3 cup of olive oil

3 tbsp of lemon

3 tbsp a mixture of thyme and fennel and sweet and savoury spices

Mix well and pour over the ribs both sides, let rest for 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 425

When you are ready to put in the oven I put in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 mins then turn down to 350 and back for another 25 mins remove from oven slice into chops and let rest for 10 to 20 mins while you prepare the remainder of the meal.

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Mashed Potatoes

Get a pot with boiling water and add your sweet potatoes and potatoes to it cook until they are all soft.  I do 1 sweet potatoes plus 7 medium or small potatoes.  Once soft drain and then mash the potatoes together, then add 1 cup of cream and add 225 grams of Boursin cheese I use garlic and fine herbs, plus add some pepper. Mash and mix together once all combine get an oven casserole pan, spray with cooking oil, put all potatoes mixture in pan and bake potatoes.  Add some butter about 4 tbsp to the mixture, preheat oven to 350, and bake until warm and butter melts, 30 mins.

Vegs and Salad

I serve with beans that I fry in a butter with a sprinkling of thyme.  I fry for about 5 to 8 mins as I want the beans to be cooked but crispy.  I also make a salad using last nights dressing.

I finish the meal with last night’s cake.

 

 

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