As some will know, this year was my first attempt at cooking the Christmas lunch in its entirety. I think it went fairly well. Everything was ready together, on time and most components tasted pretty good. The turkey was ever-so-slightly over cooked which was disappointing considering the number of methods I studied prior to tackling the bird. First I looked at Delia whose total cooking time would have been around 5 hours for a bird of the size I had. Thank goodness I didn't follow her method as my poor turkey would have been frazzled. I followed a very similar method (a blast of heat at the start, then cover with a foil tent and lower the temperature for the remaining cooking time) but still my turkey was ready an hour before it should have been. I think my mother's oven is far hotter than it should be! It didn't matter though. The bird had an extended resting period, which no doubt did it good. What was delicious was the juice that resulted from sitting the turkey on a bed of onion, leek, carrot and celery and adding around half a bottle of white wine to the roasting tray. Yum.My first ever attempt at Christmas lunch!
The Christmas pudding that I made back in November was (even if I say so myself) a triumph. Served with a generous dollop of brandy butter it was delicious. So much better than even the best shop-bought versions, it had a wonderful flavour without being too terribly heavy. Divine.
Before I head off to Scotland, I would like to share a quick recipe with you. This is, I think, the best mushroom soup I know. I am unable to describe how scrumptious it is but I do urge you to try it. The mustard and Worcestershire sauce are, I would suggest, vital components. Miss them out at your peril!
The Best Mushroom Soup (serves 4)
1/2 lb mushrooms, wiped, trimmed and chopped (any kind - a mixture is nice, but regular mushies are fine too)
1/2 pint white roux sauce made with 1oz butter, 1oz flour and 1/2 pint milk
1/2 pint chicken stock
1 medium onion or 3 shallots - peeled and finely chopped
clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard (or other French mustard - not grainy)
Dash of Worcester sauce
Pinch of mace
1. Melt butter and saute onion and garlic till transparent, without browning
2. Add mushrooms and saute for a further 5-10 mins over a gentle heat.
3. Remove from pan and prepare the roux sauce. Mix the hot stock into the sauce before returning the mushrooms and onions to the pan.
4. Season with salt and pepper, mustard, mace and Worcester sauce. Bring to boil and simmer gently for around 15 minutes stirring occasionally to ensure mushrooms do not stick to pan.
5. Cool slightly and then blitz in liquidiser or using a stab mixer. Return to pan and taste - adjust seasoning if needed. I often add more mustard and Worcester sauce - the flavour it great with the mushrooms.
6. If wished, stir in 1\4 pint double cream, a handful of chopped parsley and a few sauteed mushrooms.