Monday, December 7, 2020

Christmas At Home

"Now I look forward to our Christmases at home, and enjoy our parties. On Christmas night I have a dinner party of eight or ten. I like Verona to spend Christmas with her family, but she leaves everything superbly ready. As there's all the rest of the year to be original, I serve a classic English Christmas dinner, which is a delicious meal if you do it right. I can get a natural, healthy, free-range turkey (so different from those intensively mass-produced things one finds throughout the year). I use a Normandy stuffing: half crumbled chestnuts, the other half a mixture of diced apples, celery, leek and a few breadcrumbs, the whole bound with beaten egg; a little sausage meat at the other end. I infuse the milk for bread sauce in advance, leaving it for some hours with onions and cloves, bayleaf and nutmeg, salt and pepper, so only the bread crumbs have to be added near the time. Gravy I prepare in advance too from the giblets. We use Majestic potatoes for roasting, for Reg's special sprouts, lightly cooked so they are fresh and firm. The rum butter and brandy sauce I have also made in advance, to accompany Verena's delectable pudding, rich and dark, but light. She is always toasted in her absence over the Christmas pudding. Oddly enough we use for the pudding, an old wartime recipe of my mother's - we know its wartime because it includes the historic phrase, "Raisins are not included, as there is no issue of them this year."  We use them, but apart from that, I see no reason to try another recipe. Then the Stilton with our own celery; then dessert - fruit in the olive-world corbeille we brought from Venice, nuts in the little baskets I brought from Annency in my school days, sweets in the silver dishes my mother had on her dinner table in India and on the pink dyed damask tablecloth a centre piece of silver jewry work on pale pink satin, which she brought home with her and somehow hung on to through all the years of packing and unpacking trunks. So all my life is there. With a light fresh first course - this year melon balls and chicory and prawns in sour cream, Ralph offers vodka, we have champagne in the hall by the fire before dinner. With the main course and the Stilton he serves Beychevelle - but alas, alas we have now finished the Beychevelle!"

from Home is My Garden - December
by Dorothy Hammond Innes

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