Mistletoe and wine and all of the rest, but one thing I do not do, is cook on Christmas Day! This started many years ago, when we lived in Brussels ( and for all of the Brexiteers, an amazing place to live, and we lived there for 13 years).
But back to my non-cooking on Christmas Day. I actually don’t think I have ever cooked a ” Traditional” Christmas dinner, I did once cook a turkey, but it was Cajun Style. Cajun Turkey is delicious, it is deep fried, and do not throw your hands up in horror, the boiling vat of oil, seals the turkey inside and out and then it cooks very quickly. Another time I had a suckling pig, poor little thing, my oven was not big enough so it meant cutting it in half, stuffed it’s mouth with an apple, nose pressed against the glass door, with tears running down its face !
But, why do I not cook on Christmas Day? Well whilst living in Brussels, we always had a Christmas Eve party, inviting , other waifs and strays and their houseguests, hence, I cooked and cooked for this event and so the last thing I wanted to do, was to cook again!
For Christmas Eve, I cooked my version of the Chilean speciality, Nuesto Chupe de Centolla. ( see Are you a Risk Taker November 23 for the recipe) and I have to say it was a success. I didn’t have crab meat, but substituted it with scallops, and salmon. I think that is allowed to use what seafood you can find.
And so Christmas Day started out as being Left Overs, but that was a bit boring, hence we thought outside of the Christmas Dinner box, and our dinner morphed into a seafood feast. Lobster, giant shrimp, small brown shrimp, cold poached salmon, smoked salmon, , salmon pâté, salmon mousse, , shrimp in Panko breadcrumbs , crispy calamari and Oysters! It still took effort to assemble, but not at all time consuming and all could help out. And so the tradition has continued, though this year was slightly different as we were home alone ( well not quite alone) but we decided to go out.
After stockings and presents along with the obligatory Bucks Fizz, Himself did Oysters Rockefeller and to save time we used frozen oysters, and they worked very well, just think how long it would have taken to shuck 30 oysters!
Such a wonderful adventure. Himself and willowy brunette decided to walk, a mere 4 miles and me I took a cab, and they beat me there! We went to The Ned, in the city, not far from St. Paul’s Cathedral.
I had been warned that The Ned, did the most amazing buffet on a Sunday and Wow, they repeated it for Christmas Day. Normally I abhor buffets, but somehow this was different because they gave each diner a three hour window and so no one arrived at the same time although we must have all had a reservation. I booked a good couple of months ahead of time and our time was 6.15 , it suited us just fine.
The buffet was in fact amazing, ranging from cold meats and salads, to lobsters, shrimp, smoked salmon, grav lax, to hams, turkey roast beef and of course turkey. Then there was the dessert table, which had an assortment of cheeses including a huge Stilton and Mont d’Or ( one of my favourites ) and of course sweet stuff, strudels, mince pies and the most wonderful little cakes on sticks. I ended up eating one of these just convince a gentleman that they were safe to eat, he was dubious but as he said, he didn’t like to try things that were different! ( Not sure why he had come here)!
The three of us had Lobster, Shrimp, more Shrimp, Lobster, more Lobster, more Shrimp. Not for us the fillers of salads, not for us the roast potatoes and roast meats, just the Lobsters and Shrimps, and oh yes forgot the Oysters! So Lobsters, Shrimp and Oysters!
Apart from the food, there was a very good band, playing Glen Miller type of music ( and with a good singer to boot) and it was the most wonderful place to people watch, bling every which way, enough sparkle to decorate many Christmas trees, the scimpiest of dresses worn with vertiginous heels, trip traping across the floor ( a bit Billy goat gruffish) boys and girls getting engaged, mums and dads busy taking their photos, oh what fun it was !
A fun evening and look forward to going again !