I am bored bored bored - I am a Border Collie; I am Carole Borderman, to quote Gavin and Stacey - of people fretting about Christmas lunch. The ingredients, the veggie option, how to cook it, when to cook it, what to drink, when to drink it.... Ack - it's a ROAST DINNER with cranberry sauce. Get over it.
In our house we don't exactly follow tradition. For one thing, Christmas is generally spent with a set of parents so MCD and I don't get a Christmas Day of our own. So what do we do? We disregard entirely the birth of baby Jesus (I mean really...) and have our Christmas Day the weekend before. And when I say Christmas Day, it's got everything. Champagne, crackers, presents, loud christmas music, a huge meal, chocolate, films (Shaun of the Dead is a must), MCD slumped on the sofa with a cocked paper hat on (he is very insistent. 'It is tradition' he cries when I demur. Last year he ended up wearing 4 in his pissed yet doggedly persistent state. There is photographic evidence), me in a pinny drifting floatily round in a haze of breakfast Baileys and elevenses Champagne. And because it's not actually Christmas Day (you poor sad schmucks - what does tradition get you but endless repeats and the Guns of sodding Navarone) the telly is still brilliant. And because it's not actually Christmas Day, we get another Christmas Day a week later. With more food and wine and presents. Clever, no?
(I sincerely love Christmas and I am not ashamed to admit, I love the presents. As a kid, I used to save - save - some presents for Boxing Day to make the festivities stretch further; my sister used to rail against my self-control, declaring me unnatural. On Boxing Day I would smugly and slowly open my remaining gifts in front of her. savouring the sound of her jealous weeping. I might even have saved one till tea-time. This is just another way of spreading the joy of Christmas.)
Aaanyway... because there's only two of us, we now forego the traditional turkey. I did it one year, then we went to the parents-in-law for Christmas proper and came home 4 days later to find the time in the fridge had improved its sorry carcass not at all and the whole thing went in the bin. I look for restaurant-style dishes that indicate we are in for a sumptuous feast. Venison with fig tarts, last year's beef with stewed oxtail stuffed in a marrowbone with a marrow risotto and roast root vegetables and so on. This year, my fatted friends, we have goose. I can make a cassoulet the next day out of the leftovers.
Starter is to be a foie gras and chestnut veloute, courtesy of Pascal Aussignac of Club Gascon. It should also include lobster, but given I am allergic, you can forget that. Then roast goose with Nigella's panettone and Italian sausage stuffing, roast potatoes, maple-roast parsnips, shredded cavolo nero, cranberry sauce and gravy. And then - because what else can you do with it - panettone pudding, made with a bottle of dessert wine in the custard. Hardly Elizabeth David's omelette and a glass of Champagne but, then, we like to feast and know about it afterwards as we roll like weebles back into the lounge.
I shall post photos of my gorgeous dining room when I've laid the table for lunch, but before MCD gets his sweaty mitts on the shiny crackers.