Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Eve

The tree has been decorated (complete with wooden lobster), presents wrapped, and enough food bought to survive a six month siege. Christmas can begin. The kitchen still smells faintly of mulled wine, which was scented with ginger cordial, and the sitting room smells of pine needles and spicy from the Christmas tree decorations studded with cloves.

My sister is making a chocolate log, and because we don't have an electric whisk everyone has had to have a go with the hand whisk, trying to get the mixture to leave its elusive 'ribbon' that shows that it is thick enough. Once the sponge has been cooked it will be rolled up with whipped cream and jam and then smothered in chocolate fudge icing.

As well as a the chocolate log there's a pavlova baking in the Aga. This isn't excessive, you understand, the pavlova is for the non-Christmas pudding eaters and the chocolate log is for afternoon tea.

My family nearly always has fish pie on Christmas Eve, before the excesses of the next day. This one was made from cod and salmon poached in milk with a few bay leaves and pieces of leek and carrot, then the milk used in a white sauce, made more exciting with Worcestershire sauce, a tiny bit of mustard and seasoning. Instead of mashed potatoes it just had breadcrumbs on top, and we ate it with new potatoes and peas. A calming meal before the festive madness begins tomorrow.

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