Merry Christmas! My Christmas Feast for 2014

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christmas lunch

Merry Christmas everyone!

It is a rare occasion for us to celebrate Christmas in Zurich, a rather welcome change as it has given me the opportunity to cook on Christmas Day, something which might prompt fear and dread in most people but has instead filled me with glee as the Christmas season started to approach.

Kugelhopf

And so I went all out on Christmas Day, starting with Rachel Khoo’s Kugelhopf with Prunes & Armagnac at breakfast. Well, actually, I made it the day before, knowing that it would keep perfectly fine overnight and actually taste much better for it. I adore this recipe and felt that it would make for a fitting start to a new Christmas tradition.

For Christmas lunch, I armed myself with a collection of recipes from Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson, a cookbook writer who always instills me with quiet confidence when attempting new recipes.

Most of the preparation started on Christmas Eve when I prepared the brine for the turkey, giving it a good 24 hours in the solution to ensure a juice and succulent roast the next day. And the Spiced and Superjuicy Roast Turkey turned out just as the name of the recipe suggested. My only difficulty was sourcing allspice berries in Zurich, which seemed to be non-existent, so I simply omitted it from the recipe. Despite using a smaller turkey than stipulated in Nigella’s recipe (mine was 2.5 kg) and using a fairly small stock pot for the brine, I found that I needed about 6 litres of water to cover the turkey, so I proceeded to make the brine as per the quantities in the recipe, i.e. for a 5.5 kg (12 lb) turkey.

turkey

The Redder Than Red Cranberry Sauce took mere minutes to make and gave me an opportunity to break open a bottle of Röteli, a local Swiss cherry liqueur. As warned in the recipe, the sauce does thicken significantly upon cooling, so keep that in mind during the cooking process.

cranberry sauce

As there were only a few of us for Christmas lunch, I kept the side dishes to just a tray of roast potatoes and an obligatory, but popular, serve of Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts, Pancetta and Parsley. I can’t imagine a Christmas meal without chestnuts, and they seem to be such a perfect match with Brussels sprouts (or at least make the latter more palatable).

brussels sprouts

And finally, the pièce de résistance was a Yule Log for dessert, a tender chocolate roulade slathered in chocolate frosting to make it resemble a tree log. A Yule Log is something I used to only admire from the shopfront of fancy pâtisserie shops at Christmas, never once thinking that I would ever attempt it at home. But having been in possession of a Swiss roll tin for some time which had never really served its intended purpose, I felt determined to give it a try this year. I made the cake on Christmas Eve in between cooking dinner, making the Kugelhopf, distracting the little one, wrapping Christmas presents and trying to fix a water leak from our Christmas tree stand. Despite my husband’s assertion that my Yule Log resembled a brown cactus more than a tree log, I was pretty pleased with the end result. Surprisingly, the cake is flourless, making it a great gluten-free option. But unlike most gluten-free cakes which can taste a bit dense and healthy, this roulade is moist and tender. I’m pretty chuffed with my first attempt at a fancy cake, so much that I’m definitely making this again next Christmas.

Yule Log 1

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas this year with your families and loved ones. Thank you so much for your continued support here on ELB, and I look forward to sharing more recipes and photos in 2015. Wishing you all a good start to the New Year!

8 Comments

  1. Millie | Add A Little 26 December 2014

    Looks delicious! I hope you had a wonderful day!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 27 December 2014

      Thanks, Millie! I hope you had a lovely Christmas also this year 🙂

      Reply
  2. Paula 27 December 2014

    As I arrive a little late I’ll say you that about… and a happy new year!!!
    I hope you have a perfect 2015, and that we both will be around here to see it 😛

    The pan with the reindeer is so cute!!!!! Amazing!!! 😀

    Every year I think about buying the Nigella Christmas, and then, nothing, I’m so fickle!!!
    With that technique, turkey turns great, so I can imagine your lunch, delicious!!

    The log is perfect, and once you start, you can stop!! I repeat every year for Christmas eve and day, changing the flavours!! Is so funny to make, and it looks so cute without being really hard to make!!! But, shhh, we won’t recognize that, right??

    Have a nice end of year, I hope you celebrate a nice New year’s eve, even if you stay in Zurich, Thanh!!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 27 December 2014

      I hope you had a lovely Christmas, too!

      I highly recommend Nigella Christmas. I use it a lot at Christmas time, but it’s also great at other times of the year too, especially if you need recipes for entertaining lots of people. I wanted to cook a traditional Christmas lunch this year but without too much stress, and with Nigella, you usually can’t go wrong 😉

      I’m pretty pleased with the Yule Log. As you have mentioned, it looks so cute and fancy, yet it’s so easy to make. I will definitely make it again next year and might also experiment with different flavours, although chocolate is always a winner!

      Wishing you a great start to 2015 and look forward to chatting with you more 🙂 xx

      Reply
  3. Vickie 28 December 2014

    looks like a delicious meal – hope you had a wonderful Christmas 🙂

    Reply
  4. Sarah 5 February 2015

    The roast potatoes look so delicious. Could you maybe tell me how I can make them? Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 5 February 2015

      I always parboil my potatoes first before roasting so they are soft and fluffy on the inside. While they are parboiling (about 5 minutes in salted water), I put a large baking tray in the oven at 220°C with some duck fat or plain olive oil to heat up. Once I drain the potatoes, they go straight into the baking tray and turned so that all sides are covered in the hot fat. And then I roast them until they are lovely and golden. I think, once you eat roast potatoes cooked this way, it’s hard to make them any other way!

      Nigella also has a recipe for similar roast potatoes where she has the additional step of coating the potatoes in semolina before adding the potatoes to the hot fat. The semolina is meant to add extra crunch to the roast potatoes. The semolina works well but I find the potatoes to be just as crunchy without.

      Reply

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