Friday, 28 December 2012

A Réveillon Recap, Christmas Lunch and Some Forced Boxing Day Shopping

Réveillon is what many French people do to celebrate Christmas Eve.  As a child, my paternal grandparents would host and we would eat a big buffet dinner, which included tourtière, stay up until midnight and open all of our gifts.  It was a strange idea to me to find out that many in England go out on Christmas Eve as mine was always so family orientated.  It never even crossed my mind that anything would even be open!    So, as it was our first Christmas together in our house in England, I wanted to retain this tradition.  The two of us stayed in, ate a buffet made for 20 and watched many a Christmas television special.  Though opening gifts was put off until morning- not my idea!

My favourite meal is buffet.  And I didn't disappoint myself.  Ours included tourtière, homemade fried rice, honey glazed ham, Caesar salad, a veggie tray, and some olives and nuts thrown in for good measure. 

The veggies, nuts and olives are pretty self explanatory but the fried rice is something my mom has made at most of our Christmas Eve celebrations, so this recipe comes from her.  I've tried it a few times.  It's never worked out, always dry, hard bits of rice in it, Mmm.  So Christmas Eve, when I'd mixed everything according to the recipe I called my ma to ask if it should look so dry: Did you add the water from the mushrooms? she asked.  Yes.  Well apparently that was good.  A half an hour later when it was still really dry and uncooked, I called her back: Well, how much water did you put it in? Just the water from the mushrooms.  Well apparently that was not good.  Her recipe calls for 2 cups of water.  That part is not written down on my recipe.  Happy to report it was salvageable and all turned out great.  The recipe is at the end of this post.

The tourtière is also my mother's recipe.  I asked her if I could share it because sometimes people can be pretty reluctant to share a family recipe or something they created themselves.  Not me though, wouldn't bode well for a food blog anyhow.  And she's good with it too.  She figures she won't go making a mint with her secret recipe and don't you go doing that either - not without cutting her a slice of the pie (see what I did there??!) Anyway, it also appears at the end of the post.

Christmas day was quiet and relaxed.  We opened gifts (yep, a new camera for me and a Kobo for the fella), ate a lovely breakfast, and went for a walk with the pups in the woods.  I put a turkey crown in the oven at about noon and we ate at around 4pm (only an hour behind schedule) with the husband and the father-in-law.  I tried to stick to a few traditional pieces for the side dishes; roast potatoes, mash, roast parsnips and carrots, sprouts, pigs in blankets and stuffing.  I'd love to share a homemade stuffing recipe (plan early for next year?) but my easy to please other half insisted on Paxo brand stuffing.  Sigh.

We used our wedding china, which made me get a little Monica Geller on everyone's ass and turn into crazy plate lady.  When plates got passed around the table, I watched with a squinted eye and hunched, très tense, shoulders and let out a "CAREFUL!" to which the husband just responded to with a glare coupled with raised eyebrows.  Oh, yeah, I'M the clumsy one.  

I also tried Christmas pudding.  When we were out doomsday prepping Christmas food shopping, the puddings were on sale and when I asked the husband if I should just make my own he shouted down from one end of the aisle that I would have had to start months ago.  Oh.  Right.  I tried to tell him Gino D'Acampo made one in the microwave on TV last week but he wasn't having it.  Well Tesco's Finest for a quid will do then.  And it did.   Maybe one day there will be a post about my very own Christmas pud - though don't hold your breath.

Boxing Day was going to involve eating a lot of leftovers, watching films and just general laziness.  Instead, it involved getting dressed, going running (so much food guilt!) entertaining and going shopping.  My hard selling tactic of bringing our last little pup to a friend of ours on Christmas Eve for a lookey loo worked and they were coming over for a "visit" which I was sure meant that they would be leaving with her.  This turned out wonderfully-we know she has gone to a great home and we can all go for walks together sometime!  Once they had left, and since I had been running earlier, I made myself a giant plate of leftovers and settled in to watch a little Turner and Hooch (so fitting).  I was going back for my second helping when the fridge light went out.  There was no whirring sound.  Nothing.   Our fridge had given in.  It was also probably a sign to STOP EATING!  It was 4:30pm.  By 5:30pm we were back home, with a new fridge and having not been deterred by the events, I was tucking into my meat pie and watching the rest of Turner and Hooch on a plus 1 channel.  It was probably the salesman's easiest sell of the day.  I like it - the fridge part is on top and the freezer on the bottom.  My old lady back is thankful for that.

So there ya have it.  Christmas 2012.  Done.

Fried Rice
1.5 cups of white rice 
1 cup of chopped celery
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
1 package of onion soup mix
1 can of mushrooms (and the water)
2 tbsp of soy sauce
4 tbsp oil

Mix everything together and cook, covered for about an hour at 180 degrees Celsius.  Check it and stir about half way through cooking. 


1.5 pounds of mince (can be a mixture of beef, pork and veal - I used beef and pork)
1 finely chopped onion
1/2 cup of water
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
 ready-made shortcrust pastry

Place all of the ingredients in a large saucepan.  While stirring, bring the mixture up to a boil.  Simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes.  Continue to stir while the mixture simmers.  While the meat cools, prepare pie tins.  

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough so it is slightly larger than the pie plate.  Carefully place the dough over the pie plate and trim to leave about a half inch of overhang.  Fill the pie with meat and prepare a topper.  For a decorative vent, cut with a cookie cutter before laying the top crust on the pie.  Use a fork to crimp and form a seal. 

The pies can be frozen (for about a month) until ready to be baked in the oven - about 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown at 190 degrees Celsius.

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