As I write there is a huge grin on my face. I am remembering the lead-up to Christmases past, and those excited telephone calls from my mum at home in Franche-Comté. ‘Don’t forget to bring the Christmas pudding,’ Maman Blanc would say (though in French, naturellement).
She need never have worried. Always I prepared our pudding months in advance of Christmas Day. A crumbly, perfectly matured pudding, enriched with fine cognac (should you wish to make it, please see my Christmas recipes on this site). I recall boarding Eurostar, laden with gifts, and then my mum at the door, waiting to greet me with the words: ‘The pudding – have you remembered it?’
Outside there was a snow drift, but inside we were all cosy and warm as we enjoyed a spectacular feast. Christmas pudding was served after the bûche de Noël. I’d upturn the gently steamed pudding on a platter, crown it with holly leaves and berries, douse it in cognac, set it alight and then carefully carry it to my family at the table. A dramatic, little triumph which always brought cheers and applause. (Though one year I almost set chez Blanc ablaze with the wild flames of my glowing pudding!)
I am raising a glass to our beloved Maman Blanc, and to you …
The tastes of the festive season are all about those celebratory moments and comfort food cravings.
Here you will find recipes for those occasions and I urge you to look at my Christmas recipes.
These include glazed ham with piccalilli, as well as the perfect roast turkey and cranberry sauce, and favourite trimmings such as roast potatoes, braised red cabbage and celeriac purée.
If you fancy an alternative to turkey, how about roast goose or beef Wellington? Those recipes are here, too.
For dessert, may I suggest the iced coffee parfait, the bûche Noël or the reverse chocolate crumble.
Meanwhile there are many comforting dishes: onion soup, shellfish chowder, coq au vin; or wholesome, creamy fish pie and a curry made with leftover turkey; as well as poached winter fruits in spiced wine, roasted pineapple, bread and butter pudding and riz au lait (yes, rice pudding).
Here are some of the exciting things coming up in my world
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