What is your pefect Christmas Dinner?
Let’s keep it simple. My perfect Christmas Dinner is the one I do not have to organise myself or cook myself. However, this being a subject of the impossible, I do my best to keep it simple and easy and with no intricate Master Chef actions included.
This would be simple:
It is known as a Berner Platte (Bernese Platte) and is a mixture of smoked meat such as ham, bacon and sausage, served with boiled potato and a suitable vegetable of your choice. This would be the basics, but as it is Christmas I elaborate.
As a suitable vegetable I would say green beans, or cabbage. On the left a pork roast with red cabbage. We like red cabbage very much and I usually cook it slow with some chopped apples. It should have a shot of apple vineager added in the last 15 minutes to give it that slightly sour taste. You can also add normal cabbage or pointed cabbage which I very much like. On Boxing Day it has become a bit of tradition to do something like this for lunch. It is no bother to cook and this year I am serving it with dried green beans.
Why dried green beans and not frozen beans? That is quite simple. The dried beans are almost indestructable and have a best before date of almost a year. This means I can already buy them and keep them in the cupboard until I need them. I bought mine this week. As they are dried, you must soak them in water overnight before the day you need them. Then cook them in the pressure cooker for about an hour, or even more – you cannot overcook them. Drain them off when ready. Fry some chipped onion and garlic and add the beans. Mix together and you have the perfect veg to match your boiled ham. I have also already bought my ham. This is a so-called “quick” cooked ham in a sterilised sealed plastic, which is also valid for a couple of weeks, so what could possibly go wrong.
I chose a so-called “Schüfeli” which is shoulder of pork. As it is already cooked, all I have to do is leave it to simmer in hot water for about 1-2 hours. I cook the potatoes in the micro wave. Yes, cook in the microwave, and not just heat them up. A micro wave is very useful to cook certain vegetables. For potatoes all you have to do is peel them and cut them in suitable sizes and give them about 10 minutes in the micro, without adding any water, just sprinkle them with salt. Potatoes contain enough water without adding more to wash out the vitamines. I have been cooking potatoes in this way for at least 20 years and never had a problem. I would not advise cooking brussel sprouts in the micro wave. I tried it once and they resembled mini billiard balls when finished. They do not contain any liquid and just dry up.
My Bernerplatte (because it originates in the Kanton of Bern) meal is one of the easiest to cook that I know and one of my favourites because no kitchen stress. You can vary it with the veg, but the ham and potatoes are a firm part of it. I can start cooking in the morning around 9-10 a.m. and just leave it to cook until half an hour before eating, when I cut the ham and dish, sorry, plate it up.
On the evening of Christmas Eve it will be a starter of avocado-prawn in a self made cocktail sauce, filet of beef with herb butter, fried mini potatoes in their skin with rosemary (I fry everything in butter with no exception) and two veg, probably cauliflour and vichy carrots, although that is not definite. There is a discussion between me and Mr. Swiss about brussel sprouts or cauliflour. I am for the brussel sprouts. It will probably be a hot mixed berry sauce with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream as a desert.
Christmas Day is veal steaks with a morille cream sauce and noodles. We do not really do a desert, but will probably have some ice cream later on if we feel like it. Otherwise perhaps in the evening.
It might sound like stress, but it is all stuff I can do with no big rush, taking my time and after 50 years of cooking and housewife existence, you get used to it.Most of the shopping is already done, and the meat has been ordered at the butchers. Luckily I now only have to feed the mister and me and my No. 1 son. It used to be 9 people at the table, for many years: my four kids, mother-in-law and my parents from London, as well as me and Mr. Swiss.