Christmas is Here, Best Time of Year and Semi Fredo!

My French Christmas Tree with an assortment of red and gold decorations collected on our travels

Yes Christmas is here, but I can guarantee that I have NEVER cooked roast Turkey, with all the trimmings. WHAT !! I really find Turkey quiet boring, usually dry, compensated by smothering in gravy, ( and I’m not over fond of run of the mill gravy),along with overcooked Brussels Sprouts, Ugh! Not for me.

No , absolutely not for me. My first Christmas dinner as a wife, I bought a suckling pig, not counting that even though he was a skinny little thing, he was still too big for my oven. Consequently we cut him in half and there he was, little piglet nose pressed up against the glass door, apple in mouth and tears ( juices) running down his face.

In subsequent years, all the time we lived overseas,(30 years) we had a Christmas Eve party ( for all waifs and strays, like us), which meant that I was not about the start all over again the very next day. And so it came about that we had a very different Christmas Day menu, one in which I did not have to spend the whole day in the kitchen. In Texas, Gulf coast shrimp, they call them shrimp,but large, fat and juicy, crawfish, oysters , all the wonders of the Texan gulf coast. One exception to the Turkey was Cajun Turkey. At first thought, it was “ Oh My God”! But deep fried Turkey, the boiling fat seals, the Turkey inside and out, it cooks fairly quickly and is succulent. A word of caution, only cook on a boiler in the garden! ( not much good for a central London Flat !)

This year, as Nickinlaw is allergic to shellfish an amendment to menu was required, hence along with the foods that we love, Parma ham, Serrano ham, Fois Gras and Salmon en croute were added to our menu.

For the real grown ups we had oysters, shrimp, scallops with lardons, potted shrimp, some toasted bread, black bread, wasabi mayonnaise, Carolina reaper sauce ( read very hot sauce) and beurre blanc sauce to go with the salmon en croute.

For dessert, no Christmas pudding as only Himself is a fan, but an alternative mince pie/ tart, nut Semi Fredo and Chocolate crunch.

  • For the Semi Fredo enough for at least 8
  • 4 large eggs separated
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 500 mls double or whipping cream
  • 125 grms skinned hazelnuts/ pistachios
  • Some runny honey
  • Grease a loaf tin and line with cling film
  • Put the nuts into a dry frying pan, heat and toss so that become toasted, leave to cool and then chop, but not too finely
  • Put the egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and whisk until thick and creamy
  • With a clean whisk and a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff
  • In another bowl, whisk the cream until stiff
  • Carefully combine the three whisked ingredients using a metal spoon, and then add most of the nuts.
  • Carefully pour into the prepared loaf tin, cover the top with more cling film and freeze for about 6 hours.

To serve carefully in mould, drizzle over some honey and some nuts, if you have remembered to save some ( I didn’t.).

A really nice simple dessert, quick to make. I bought a spring form loaf pan, which actually proved useless for cake making, it leaked, but lined with cling film for the semi Fredo, it worked and therefore was very simple to unmould . ( note the British version of “To Unmould”)

Watch this space for Chocolate Crunch and the Mince Pie Tart.

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