Here is the table laid out by my mother in law for a belated Christmas lunch. Some of the family members were busy with prior commitments, so the Christmas dinner had to be kept pending by 2 days this Christmas this year. But of course, no Christmas is complete without a family get together so the opportunity for a belated Christmas lunch was an excuse to continue on with the season’s festivities! 🙂
Isn’t the table looking gorgeous?? My in laws are particular about presentation and there always has to be a colour theme going. For this Christmas lunch, my mother in law chose white / silver and blue. She has a big presentation collection for other special meals too. The tiny cruet set (salt and pepper glass pots) are something I have been hunting around for here in France a long while, and somehow never been successful to have a set like hers. She says her is a Christophle set, and though I don’t want something as expensive, I’d be happy with any glass set, but I wish to have a miniature set just like hers!
Being French, of course, a lot of attention and detail is given into the courses and choice of foods. An aperitif of various choices were served, and the following 3 choices formed the appetisers too : grilled bread topped with fish roe, and some others with cheese; a really delectable appetiser that was edible spoons filled with onion jam and topped with foie gras. The onion jam is no ordinary supermarket jam, it’s ‘artisanal’, and the taste explodes in the mouth especially coupled with the foie gras. The third choice is a pamplemousse (grapefruit) with skewers stuck around it containing cherry tomatoes and bits of jambon.
Don’t they all look fantastic? I hope someday I can be even half the lovely hostess that my mother in law is! Sadly, I didn’t take a photo of the main course. I hope my words can do justice to what it was, despite the absence of a photo. The main meal was a very traditional meal, it is the Magret de Canard, a special and superior form of duck breast meat, which has plenty of fat around the meat. (It is actually the same duck that is reared for foie gras). The duck breast is seared in the pan and cooked in it’s own fat that gives the meat a heavenly flavour. The meat should be seared for only 10 mins and then should be allowed to rest for 20 mins or even more before it is served. (It is important for the meat to relax). My Mother in law cooked the meat along with it’s accompaniments, almonds and chestnuts.
For desserts, here is a slight variation to the traditional Yule Log. This one is not made with chocolate but with sponge cake filled with the cream of chestnuts. Yummy, very!! The other dessert prepared is also a very traditional French dessert : Strawberry Charlotte.
As usual, the meals at my inlaws satisfies my appetite both for beauty and presentation, and my hunger of the meal itself. The relaxed conversation that follows allows us to unwind and savour every moment spent in the company of family. French meals can be quite long, so the lunch that started at 12.30pm, can end at after 4pm with the last sips of espresso and chocolates that follow. Thinking about my Indian family, such a long winded meal would be unthought of. Meals would have to be perfunctory to make way for the siesta to follow in the afternoon! 🙂