We spend every Christmas with Nigella. We have done so every year since 2004 when this book was published. This year, like every year, I made so many recipes from “Feast” for our Christmas feast, there was no point in listing them all in the title. This is what we enjoyed for Christmas dinner. The recipes for those dishes listed below without astericks were found elsewhere. But as you can see, the majority of our dishes were from “Feast.”
As luck would have it, all of the dishes I used from “Feast” are posted on the Interweb elsewhere, mostly on the the Food Network site, but also Epicurious and Nigella’s own website. Click through on the name of the dish to see the recipe for yourself.
Our Christmas Dinner:
- Roast Onion Soup
- Fully Festive Ham*
- Perfect Roast Potatoes*
- Maple-Roast Parsnips*
- Brussel Sprouts with Chestnuts, Pancetta and Parsley (though made slight alterations from Nigella’s recipe because I didn’t include chestnuts)*
- Green Bean and Lemon Casserole*
- Baby carrots with Honey
- Homemade Brioche
- Bûche de Noël*
- Christmas Pudding
It was delicious. Here is a picture. I would like to say that I paused for a moment during the Christmas hoopla to take a picture of what it all looked like, but in the spirit of Christmas honesty, I have to tell you that I recreated the plate with leftovers this morning. I couldn’t include any baby carrots and brioche because we ate it all, but this is some of what remained of the main event (minus the soup and the desserts).
For the same reason, we have no dialogue from the Christmas meal. I can faithfully report that there were a lot of utterings along the lines of, “Yum!” or “This is delicious!” or “Please can I have some more?” (unlike Oliver’s workhouse, we said yes.)
I can’t be enthusiastic enough about how good the Fully Festive Ham is. My mother-in-law loves it so much she asks for whenever she’s here. It’s a great one to do on Christmas day (or any other busy day, really) because you bang it in a pot with apple juice, cranberry juice, onions, cinnamon sticks and all spice berries and cook it for four hours while you get on with other business of the day.
Nigella works wonders with the vegetable side dishes. In fact, two of them, the parsnips and the green beans, I also make for our Thanksgiving feast. They are all easy enough to do while you’ve got a dozen other dishes on the go, but all very tasty in their own right.
For the Grand Finale, we have Bûche de Noël*. Doing a Christmas Yule log can be a little tricky, given that it’s a flourless chocolate cake and then you have to roll it up and ice it. But Nigella’s directions are very helpful to make it turn out correctly. To aid in my sanity, I always make this on Christmas Eve afternoon, because there’s no way I’m going to be able to accomplish this on Christmas day. We ate it all. Many people had second pieces. Yum. My dastardly husband finished it all under the cover of darkness the night before last, so all I can offer of you is a nice picture of the empty holly plate that I put it on every year.
I put some leftover chocolate coins on there just to make it interesting.
Finally, just because I can, I want to talk about our Flaming Christmas Pudding. I did not make the one from “Feast” because our lovely neighbours, who own the fantastic restaurant Magdalen, gave us one that they made instead. Go eat at Magdalen. It’s as good– if not better– as its glowing reviews.
The last time I had Christmas pudding, in 2001, it was far from a huge success. That year, I think I took one bite and stopped there. But this was utterly fantastic. Here’s a gratuitous picture of it in all of its flaming glory, taken by my mother.
I hope all of your holidays were good ones.