Sunday, 30 December 2012

Host A French Style Festive Feast

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Welcome back lovely readers!  You have probably had one of the most amazing times of your life, feasting and celebrating with loved ones.  I love Christmas so much because I get to walk down the beautifully lit Champs Elysees and of course spend time with some of my favourite people.

Speaking of favourite people, I had so much fun baking with my two favourite girls over the Christmas holidays.  To ensure that there was something to delight the girls for dessert, my Christmas helpers Margot who is six and Pauline who is now three, helped me measure, mix and then finally bake these gorgeous chocolate cup cakes.

Cupcakes are incredibly popular and a fantastic treat food that also follow the rules of portion control.  You definitely cannot go wrong with these mini cup cakes.  They are a delight to make with the little ones too.  Just make sure that they keep their sticky fingers away from the bowl so that at least most of it does end up baked!

Part of hosting lovely Christmas lunches and dinners (like they do on the 24th of December in France) is the excitement in setting up the table.  I love the use of candles to create soft lighting but also these beautiful crystal glasses and ornaments to set the scene in such an elegant manner.

A glass of champagne (or two) is my favourite aperitif.  Served with appetizers such as these 'surprise' bites or amuse-bouche was a winning combination.  Each little pastry had either goats cheese, salmon, pesto, spinach or sundried tomato based fillings in them.  Truly delicious.

Seafood was featured on the 24th dinner but also for Christmas lunch.  These crevettes were incredibly delicious.  If you love seafood then your taste buds would have sung in joy over this gorgeous seafood bake made with prawns, scallops, mussels and white fish in a creamy béchamel sauce.  I simply must have this recipe!

What a surprise that lamb was chosen for both meals but duck has been a popular choice in previous years.  The first dish was a beautiful roast prepared using home grown rosemary.  Beautiful!  The second lamb meal that we ate for Christmas lunch was prepared with a pork, mushroom and fig stuffing.  It tasted incredible and was perfectly accompanied with rich and luxurious dauphinoise potatoes, quickly followed with a green salad for healthy measure.

I am horrified that we could eat more but of course we did.  A French meal is never complete without a cheese platter and plenty of wine.  The key to enjoying these calorie rich and yet gorgeously tasty meals is to stick to small portion sizes and resist extra helpings!

Dessert was ice cream laced in a vanilla and caramel flavour or wicked chocolate.  I wouldn't be surprised if it was the modern version of bûche de Noël.  

The homemade option was Cannelés de Bordeaux.  It is a little pastry like cake with a caramelised shell and a soft center.  It is prepared using flour, milk, butter and eggs and flavoured with rum and vanilla.

I must confess that I did have seconds and so am already looking forward to the weekly running club to work off any Christmas wobbles!  I had so much fun and am truly lucky to have experienced delicious and lovely French meals with some of my favourite people.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a lovely New Year!  Where did you spend Christmas lovely readers?

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