What do you have to eat on Christmas Eve? In some German families, sausages with potato salad are a tradition. Or carp with potato salad. When I was a child, there was a lot of excitement at first because we children were not allowed in the living room because the tree had been decorated by our parents and was supposed to be a surprise (it looked the same every year). Then came the giving of the presents, followed by a 3-course meal, a sinful gluttony. Because at 11 pm we all staggered into Christmas mass, drowsy and our bellies full. That was the “family tradition” for many years. Today I experience it quite differently. Let me describe how we will probably celebrate Christmas Eve.
Why probably? Since time immemorial, we have had guests on Christmas Eve, either our own family or friends, who also don’t always (want to) celebrate with the random relatives or don’t have any relatives left. This year the party is at our house. Sherry, port, “bubbles” or whatever sets the starting point is taken in my flat.
For the starter, we then wander over to my neighbours on the same level. There will probably be lamb’s lettuce with wild herbs and small fine delicacies: for example, with chèvre chaud and walnuts or fine fillet strips of Taunus venison and roasted sunflower seeds. This will most likely be accompanied by a Riesling from Eberbach Monastery, preferably one from the Gehrn or Baiken sites.
Now comes the main course, for which we stroll up to the first floor. And now “probably” takes on a special note. We “older ones” never say “no” to a good piece of meat. But there are also “younger ones” who have developed a completely different taste. My daughter came up with the kind suggestion that we could celebrate a vegetarian Christmas menu again. Whaaat??? No meat on Christmas Eve? Where did we parents go wrong?
When my daughter decided to go largely vegetarian 4 years ago, we decided to take a chance on a vegetarian Christmas. The succulent nut roast wasn’t that bad1. And sweet potato puree (with a drizzled thread of truffle oil on top) is something I treat myself to on other days too. Since the two “kids” (mine and my friend’s on the 1st floor, both over 25 years old…) are good friends and are currently considering vegetarian recipes, my friend and I have already exchanged some thoughts on a possible “meat course”. For example, I have in mind a poulet basquaise2 that immediately triggers Pavlovian reactions in me when I think of it. By the way, Aurélie Bastian‘s website French Cooking by is highly recommended if you want to try out more French recipes. I’m curious to see which suggestions come to fruition.
Dessert will be at my place again, so we’ll all make the pilgrimage back to my flat. Perhaps there will be Siebeck’s lemon cream from 1997, but made”delicious”. Today I know that with more than half a dozen citrus fruits, 75 grams of sugar are simply not enough to make it edible.
For the cream for 4 persons you need 2 lemons, 6 limes, 2 tbsp. cornflour, 2 eggs (L), 275 gr. sugar. The preparation is simple: patiently whisk the egg yolks and sugar until a cream is formed. Pour in the cornflour and whisk it in too. Then add the warmed lemon and lime juice. Now heat the whole cream and let it boil once, take it off the stove and let it cool down a bit. Then stir in the stiffly beaten egg whites and fill the cream into serving dishes. Let it cool for a few hours.
And as the crowning highlight of the evening, for the past 6 years we have developed the custom of sipping my rich Swedish Christmas punch3 until deep into the night. And it’s accompanied by Stollen and a mix of Christmas cookies.
I’m looking forward to the party. Whatever we eat, it will be a merry Christmas. I wish you the same.
Original text: HFI
English translation: BCO