Christmas is coming and I'm thinking about everything I want to cook and eat!
This is really my favorite time of year, mainly because I'm allowed the pleasure of unmercifully (over)eating without feeling a drop of guilt. Who cares about how those jeans fit when there's a sumptuous glazed ham in front of me! Or a calorific slice of Christmas fruitcake prepared with all the love in the world! I would be crazy to say, "no, thanks- I'm not eating that much these days", words, which by the way, are truly, truly offensive at my house.
I am fortunate enough to have a job that allows me two whole weeks off around the holidays- and believe me, those two weeks are filled with pies, cakes, cookies, chutneys, hearty soups, roasts and casseroles. I usuallys start cooking early in the morning, just after that post-breakfast espresso. The Christmas music comes out, I tie on my red and green teddy bear Christmas apron and I could care less if it's not dark enough- those tree lights have to be on!
Sometimes I can spend a whole day baking classic Christmas treats (stollen with dried fruits and almond paste, muffins with cranberries, gingerbread, dense fruitcakes and my favorite- butter cookies to hang in the tree. I also love allowing myself an entire day to make a rib-sticking midweek feast. It doesn't have to be a difficult feast. Perhaps just a casserole of Le Puy lentils served with some spicy sausages and a lemony endive salad. And for dessert, a simple apple clafoutis which I'll serve with dollops of freshly whipped cream. Oooh and let's not forget the joy of making all sorts of preserves! Who wouldn't feel blissfully happy after a whole day of making jams and chutneys? The smell alone is enough to send me into Christmassy bliss, but oh the joy of seeing those beautiful jars smiling back at me!
So what's brewing in this greedy head of mine right around now, you ask? Well, here are my plans, which are by no means definite.
Sunday, 13th of December: Cookie baking day with Kirstie. I'm thinking of white chocolate and cranberry cookies, gingerbread cookies and spritz dipped in pure chocolate- sprinkled with red, white and green confetti, of course.
Wednesday, 16th of December: I'll be making some Christmas fudge to take for the kids at school today. They have become my culinary guinea pigs and they don't mind one bit! I'm sure, as usual, my efforts will be much appreciated. By the way, sometime this week I'll be making a sweet treat for Kirstie's school Christmas lunch. I think she'll ask for those white chocolate and cranberry cookies again.
Friday, 18th December: Goodbye work! Two weeks to cook and eat like my life depended on it! I hope lots of friends will be dropping by next week to marvel at all my lovingly made Christmas treats! But tonight I'm planning on starting the vacation in style. Off to the French restaurant for a sumptuous meal complete with carefully chosen wines!
Saturday, 19th December: Breakfast will definitely include Nigella's gingerbred muffins. I love their spicy aroma. So festive! I'll probably want to visit my favorite foreign foods market in the afternoon to load up on Christmas treats such as egg nog (Borden baby!), marrons glacés, fancy mustards and baking essentials. Maybe Santa will remember that Mauviel copper bowl today! Oh, and I shouldn't forget to order our Christmas meats. Dinner will be for two tonight. Perhaps something delicious from our butcher in Hilversum served with a nice bottle of one of the wines I bought back from France.
Sunday, 20th December: Today I'll be making the Christmas fruitcake! Is it any wonder that my favorite is Nigella's chocolate fruitcake? Easy and so yummy! We'll probably head to Amsterdam later that evening for our very eccentric family Christmas portrait (taken in a booth!!) and some holiday cheer. Dinner will be the ultimate Dutch street food- thick fries with a heavenly glob of mayo!
Monday, 21st of December: I'm planning on meeting two friends for lunch in the city so we can exchange presents.
Tuesday, 22nd of December: Hmmm... I think today would be a good day to attempt a Bûche de Noël and since I'll probably be in a French mood, why not also bake a pain d' epices? If anyone visits tomorrow, they better not be on a diet!
Wednesday, 23rd of December: Time to bake my stollen! I'll be serving them on Christmas eve and for breakfast on Christmas day!
Thursday, 24th December: My traditional Christmas eve meal has always been bagels (I make them myself), smoked salmon and assorted salads. But first, must remember to visit the butcher and pick up my Christmas meats! I'm not really sure what we'll be having this year, but I'm thinking of something other than ham or turkey. Maybe a goose? Duck? Perhaps a boeuf bourguignon?
And that's as far as I'm going to plan! I'll keep you posted as I go!