Christmas dinner success!

About six weeks ago, I wrote on this blog: “There are times when I like to tell myself that I could’ve been a chef.”

As I sit here writing this post, cowering from the apocalyptic wasteland that is my kitchen after I’ve spent a full day cooking in it, I feel the restaurant industry should be very glad I’ve never bothered to try.

But in my house, the bigger the mess, the better the food – and the carnage I’m trying so hard to avoid is merely proof that yesterday’s Christmas dinner was a huge success.

We were forced to make a few last-minute changes to the Christmas dinner plan, as originally outlined here. Tesco, which had no sage or duck fat and delivered us chipolatas on the 23rd that had just two and a half hours left on their used-by date, was responsible for several. I, who stupidly thought it’d be possible to buy samphire months and months out of season, am responsible for the rest.

The revised menu with pictures is below:




Christmas canapes - Smoked Salmon, Ham and Porcini, Brown Shrimp

Cold Canapé of Smoked Salmon, Salmon Roe, Horseradish Butter

Warm Toasted Cold Canapé of Brown Shrimp, Samphire White Cabbage a la Fergus Henderson*

Cold Canapé of Cep a Salpicon of Porcini Mushrooms, Lean Ham, Shallot Butter, Paprika

Louis Chaurey Champagne


Roast Turkey with all the Trimmings

Roast Christmas Turkey

I roasted the turkey very simply following the instructions on the Copas website. The only change I made was to stick clementines up it, instead of an apple.

 5kg Copas Bronze Turkey, Duck Goose Fat Roast Potatoes, Honey-Roast Parsnips, Glazed Carrots, Chestnut and Pancetta-tossed Sprouts, [Shop bought] Pigs in Blankets, [Shop bought] Sage and Onion Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Bread Sauce, Gravy

Tesco Finest Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2010


Christmas Pudding

Delia Smith Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding, pre-whisky flambé

 Home-made Christmas Pudding, Brandy Cream

Tesco Finest Sauternes, 2009



Christmas Cheese - Brie, Blacksticks, Goat's, Cranberry Stilton, Applewood Smoked Cheddar

Dad’s selection

Blacksticks Blue, Cranberry and Stilton, Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Goat’s Cheese, Brie w/ Onion Chutney, Manchester Relish and Quince Jelly

Tesco Finest Vintage Port, 1994


I was really pleased with the meal from start to finish. All the canapés were good, the Copas turkey was beautiful and my wife’s Christmas pudding was a million miles better than any version I’d had before. Other highlights were the faultless roasties, the bread sauce, and the cranberry sauce, which was a real knockout.

I loved the cheeseboard my dad put together and along with a glass of port – which blew me away actually; I would never have expected such quality from a supermarket bottle – it provided a fitting end to the day.

The only things I’d like to have done differently are the wine and the stuffing. The wine was perfectly serviceable, but aside from the port, wasn’t in the same league as the food. And the stuffing was rubbish; Tesco’s finest my arse! If ever there was a ringing endorsement for making your own, this was it. Next year if I can’t get any sage, I’ll make sure I’ve got a back-up plan.

I hope you all had as enjoyable a Christmas dinner as I did and are looking forward to days of leftovers. I can’t wait to fry up that Christmas pudding in some goose fat!

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the foodie gifts my family gave me this year:

Global Flexible Boning Knife, 16cm

Le Creuset Stoneware Pie Dish, Volcanic, 24cm

Le Creuset Cast Iron Satin Black Interior Omelette Pan, Volcanic, 20cm


*Thanks to Xanthe Clay (@XantheClay) for suggesting this alternative to the samphire recipe which got me out of trouble at the eleventh hour.

Posted on December 26, 2011, in Home Cooking and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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