For us Christmas actually started in earnest on Friday with our neighbours coming around for the evening. They’re vegetarians which gives us an opportunity to cook some non-meat treats.
We had felafel, little chick pea fritters with tzatziki, a Greek yoghurt and cucumber dip / dressing. Hummus, without the tahini as I hate that. Three bean salad which is just red kidney beans, black-eyed beans and chickpeas in a honey, mustard, vinegar and oil dressing. Winter green mixed leaves salad. A three cheese quiche, halved hard boiled eggs with the yolks mixed with salad cream, mayo and mustard and a sort of puff-pastry pizza with cheeses, onion and tomatoes. Finally one of my favourites, Stilton mousse.
This was followed with a very traditional trifle, then cheeses and biscuits and then to Christmas cake. Maybe we over-did things slightly because we didn’t manage half of the main course and didn’t manage to get beyond the trifle!
The Stilton mousse was a disaster – it didn’t set. I blame the vegetarian agar agar instead of gelatine which I’m used to using. At least it didn’t go to waste, as you’ll see.
Christmas eve we just ate leftovers so no cooking, which was as well as we had a busy afternoon. For the last few years we’ve enjoyed a turkey from our good friend Grannie Annie (on the forums) but she’s retired from the poultry business and we’ve not found a local supplier yet. So it was a supermarket sweep around 6 of them.
Our main aim was to find a turkey reduced, free range of course. I say ‘of course’ as we only eat ethically raised food. That’s why we only buy British pork and bacon, Danish welfare standards have been exposed on the TV as frankly awful. As for the EU enforcement of it’s own regulations on caging for chickens.. total disgrace.
Happily, we got a free-range bronze turkey crown nearly half price. That’s more than enough for the two of us and the cats. Plus a British pork joint at half price, a load of wholemeal loaves for 19p and a few other bargain bits including a lot of broccoli for next to nothing.
I removed the florets, blanched and froze most of them. The stalks were chopped and cooked in a vegetable stock and then we added the failed Stilton mousse. It’s made a wonderful soup. Well I wasn’t going to waste 8oz of cheese and half a pint of cream!
If we hadn’t found a bargain turkey then we’d have either had a roast chicken or possibly leg of lamb, both sitting in the freezer. For us this will be quite an expensive meal – over £4.00 a head! As you can imagine from someone who wrote a book called Low Cost Living we are pretty frugal. Our average meal costs less than £3.00 for both of us.
Anyway, time to start cooking our Christmas dinner – we like to eat late so no leaping up at 5am to cook the turkey for us!