Now today is Christmas Eve, which as Bel pointed out is the bigger day here in Germany. So even though I was spending the day all alone with my cat I just had to make a huge meal. I love cooking. For one thing, you get to eat what you make in the end. And the whole process is thrilling: deciding what dishes you’ll make, in particular which ones might fit together in a nice meal; what to accompany them with, side-dish and wine; shopping for the ingredients (my least favourite part really); preparing the stuff, with the whole orchestra of spices and knives; arranging all nicely when serving (not very good at it); and eating.
Now, although there are some pretty fascinating cookbooks around, I must admit the most convenient is still teh interwebz. Because you can find any recipe involving anything you wish to eat, with pictures, variations (notably in difficulty), comments by people who tried the stuff, and all. Thus I had little trouble composing a festive yet easy meal for today.
So what was on offer in casa el tranquilo today?
Snacks, basically for during the day whilst cooking. These were: my mum’s German Christmas cookies, snowballs, a Stollen, the finest turron (recommended by Seville’s very own azahar), the breathtaking Kashmir chilli chocolate from Leysieffer‘s, and sweet oranges in syrup.
Starter: smoked salmon with prawns, horseradish cream & lime vinaigrette. Turned out even tastier than I expected! What you see near the plate is a glass of Champagne, which is what accompanied the whole meal. Being born and bred in the delightful Cité-Lumière Reims, this means I am a spoiled brat and need the real stuff — today, a Fallet-Prévostat, happy and drinkable , from the little village Avize in the heart of the Champagne region.
Main course: orange osso bucco. For some reason I have had a ridiculous passion for osso bucco since I was a lad, so this was an easy decision. Now why would I pick the orange variant instead of a regular one? Honestly, because that’s the first recipe I found and it was appealing. Insincerely, because orange is a typical Christmas taste, and furthermore I wanted the recipe to be a bit fruitier than the regular one, with a hint of sweet bitterness for completeness.
Sweet: soufflé glacé au gewürtztraminer. Look how clueless I can be at times: only when I took it out of the freezer did I realise that I had prepared some ice cream. Also, having failed to mix the ingredients properly, it turned out as ice cream with a layer of wine sorbet, which is nice too but not quite as nice as it should (the cream layer is way better). Still, all in all a very tasty dessert.
And my cat had a Christmas meal too: tuna! Miaou.
What to add? Music was provided by Jeanne Cherhal, French singer I have just discovered a week ago (actually a few months months ago, then forgotten, and rediscovered now). And the after dinner coffee is of the Turkish (or Greek) kind, which, curiously enough, tends to remind me of my grandmother, like the scent of myrtle. Go figure.