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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!