Tuesday, 4 January 2011
Back to food
Well here we are, Tuesday 4th of January. Back to work, back to normality. No more presents to open, no more cooked breakfasts, no more walks by the sea, no more mountains to admire. Oh yes, these last two weeks have been jam packed with fun stuff. It might take me a while to go through it all! I hope you enjoy the ride, I’ve got quite a few photos I want to show you! Shall we do it in chronological order? Let’s start with a foodie post then!! Nothing much, but it will give me time to sort through my Normandy and Wales photos – oh yes, I told you, it was a brilliant Christmas and New Year break!!
So, food then. Let's just say the food at Christmas was simply brilliant. It was, really. Didn't do much myself actually, and it was nice for a change. When the only thing you have to worry about is what you'll be wearing, and where you should sit around the table , life is sweet.
Christmas lunch in France is not a set affair as it is in the UK. No definite menu that every single family follows. It's much more varied, which makes it all the more special. Obviously, you usually always have the same culprits when it comes to starters: foie gras, smoked salmon and/ or oysters. This year, it was foie gras and oysters. For those of us not so keen on the latter, there were large prawns from Madagascar which were practically the size of my forearm, I'm not even kidding. Although I don't have a photo to prove it. Instead, you'll just have to feast on those amazing seafood and fish displays taken at the market in Versailles on Christmas eve (someone remind me why I left this country?!).
This was followed by a parmentier of confit de canard. Basically, there couldn't be a roast bird or anything of the sort because my nan is having major teeth problems and needed something soft, that wouldn't need much chewing. So we had the most out-of-this world dish, made with shredded confit duck meat, shallots and potato mash. I could seriously eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is not a dish I'd had before and all I can say is that it's a real shame that it's not better known. It is truly amazing. But then of course, it requires quite a lot of work. Lucky I didn't have to do any ;-)
Oh and this, nibbles to start with. Yes, I am doing this in a slightly funny order! Anyway,can't take much credit for this either. Mum said she'd bring a little something soft for aperitif to help out. I helped too. A little. Ok, just a little bit. Alright, alright, all I did pretty much was the assembling. But you can tell I like things pretty and organised can't you? Mixes of bechamel sauce with gruyere cheese, onion chutney and cherry tomatoes, mushroom and blue cheese mix, all of which was enjoyed after spending 10min in the oven. Lushissimmo.
Finally, the pudding. Or shall I say, puddings. No heavy Christmas cake or pudding, no, we like to finish our Christmas meal on something slightly lighter (which shouldn't be too hard really!). So here we had a nice selection, some healthy and some not so healthy. I'd like to point out I stuck to the not-so-healthy variety. It was Christmas after all. And there's nothing in this world that tastes better than frozen pear and chestnut log. And stuffed dates (marzipan anyone?). And miniature chocolate and pistachio logs. Yeah yeah, there are lychees and grapes and clementines, but I just wasn't in the mood. I'm sure you understand.