It is probably a bad sign that my first blog entry for 2011 is two weeks into the new year and about last year. Oh well. Christmas anticipation was not usually a part of my life, and 2010 will always be special for me in that it was the first year that I meditated on Jesus’ birth, planned for Christmas and found ways to make it special for myself and Husband.
Our plan was always to have a special Christmas Day of our own even though for 2010 and 2011 at least we spent and will spend the 25th with our respective families. We wanted to start our own traditions now, so that our children will always have our family traditions to embrace and enjoy, not just the ones that their grandparents started.
It’s a short story in some ways – December 19 was one of the most special days of the year for me and easily one of my favourite ones of our married life. It was quiet, peaceful, tasty, fun, sacred and surprising. We began the day with a Christmas brunch of breakfast casserole (an ode to America) and pear and almond meal tarts.
Everything for the day was easy to prepare, and I think the sorts of food that our children could help us prepare as well. Husband took care of our afternoon spread of appetizers – our homage to Europe.
We finished off the night with a roast dinner (photo at the very top). This was the meal I put the most amount of thought into. I picked lamb because we want to connect Christmas and Easter for our kids from the very beginning. We want them to understand that these aren’t two separate occasions, one that has lots of fun things, the other just a weekend. The idea – for now, who really knows in the long run – is to have a roasted leg of lamb twice a year, on Christmas Day and on Easter.
With the lamb, which was amazing, we had mashed potatoes, roast sweet potatoes and roasted green beans.
- Roast Leg of Lamb I did most of what was suggested in the comments section of this recipe – added balsamic vinegar to the marinade, roasted it at slightly lower temperatures, and if I had a rack on which to put the meat in the pan, I would have done that as well. I took the drippings and used it as a gravy.
- Roasted Green Beans I followed the recipe pretty much to a T. Confections of a Foodie Bride is one of my all-time favourite food blogs.
- Mashed potatoes I wish I had followed a recipe because I wasn’t thrilled by how these turned out, a bit too gluey in texture (I added butter, cream and salt), and it’s possible that I didn’t pay enough attention to what kind of potatoes they were as well.
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes chop, coat in olive oil and salt and sprinkle chopped rosemary over the top. Bake until cooked at a medium high temperature.
- Pear and Almond Meal Tarts my mother made these for Christmas brunch a few years ago, and it was out of a cook book by this New Zealand woman, and I can’t find it now. This recipe is kind of from memory and also a bit from this recipe online. Preheat oven to a medium heat, roll out some puff pastry and cut into circles (I used an upside down saucer). Mix almond meal with apple juice – I apologize for the lack of specific quantities, I just estimated based on the puff pastry that I had. You want the mixture to be firm but also a bit damp. Spread on the puff pastry leaving a centimeter or a bit more of edge all the way around. Slice the pears finely and arrange in a fan on top of the almond meal. Melt honey on the stove and brush on the pears. Put in the oven to bake. It’s done when the puff pastry is cooked and the pears are golden. Melt a bit of apricot jam on the stove and brush on the pears to finish.