Yes again, it’s a crazy finish to get my plates together for the blog party, but it seems to be a regular occurrence now and if I not tearing in at the last minute, and quickly slipping off my coat and sneaking my dishes amongst all the early birds' offerings it almost seems wrong!
When the ever brilliant Stephanie set this month's blog party as 'holiday' I did wonder if that meant Thanksgiving or Christmas or any other holiday you fancied - am I the only one who celebrates Coco Chanel's birthday? But that's August 19th so she can't have possible had that particular 'holiday' in mind! It seems too early to be thinking festive (D would probably say December 24th is too soon to be in ‘that’ frame of mind) and I don’t really do Thanksgiving but I love a holiday so I’m sure I can conjure up something sparkly. I guess my fellow bloggers from across the pond will be doing the Thanksgiving thing in anticipation of the special feast next Thursday but apart from if our favourite Texan brings us in her fabulous pumpkin pies (hint, hint) I don’t indulge so I thought I’d think ahead to next month.
My first thought was a bit of smoked salmon, as so many of our festive meals have started with smoked salmon. And for the holiday twist I thought I’d cut the granary bread bases in a Christmas tree shape, however once topped with cream cheese, curls of pale rosy salmon and then chives, they lost their form a little. So I left a tiny unadorned tree to show they were indeed Christmas tree shaped under all that tastiness. It did cross my mind to try and cut the salmon into the tree shapes but honestly, that would have meant I was another week getting this posted and would have missed the evening all together!
Next I was determined that some beautiful rare beef fillets would form one of the holiday canapés and the wonderful sea salt and cracked black pepper Crips I bought from the Good Food show last week made the perfect vehicle. Crips are as it says on the packet ‘lovingly baked’ in the oven so are more like crackers than crisps and considerably lower in fat, but more importantly taste really good.
These salt and pepper Crips I topped with a little feisty horseradish cream, stacked with the slices of the rare just seared at the edges beef and then dolloped with a little fresh pesto. Well, maybe the pesto wasn’t as fresh as it should have been and delicious as it was didn’t make me feel too hot later, but let’s not dwell on that slight error!
It didn’t seem right to not do something with turkey but I can’t really get my head around turkey pieces. Yes if you put some effort into a turkey, buy a good one, brine it à la Nigella and carefully lift up the skin from the flesh and stuff full of yummy goodies you can end up with a dish to be proud of. But let’s be honest, so many turkeys are sadly bred for quantity and not for quality and turkey breasts, I think they exist solely to bulk out the egg whites for the ‘body is my temple’ types. So some happy, organic chicken got stuffed with soft cheese and chopped jewels of cranberries to make these hot nibbles spiked with the diamond cocktail sticks to keep them under control.
Okay that’s the savoury corner dealt with, next the sweet treats. I have never really got Christmas pudding but I thought I might be able to scale them right down to make quintessential festive bites with balls of warm Christmas pudding, anointed with icing and topped with a little more sparkly gems of dried cranberries. And I thought they were the nicest Christmas pudding I’d tasted.
And for the drink I was inspired by the Olive festive drink clementine fizz and decided to continue with the theme by dipping some clementine segments in the deepest darkest Valrhona chocolate.
So that’s my first throws of holiday contemplations. I picked up a wonderfully sparkly mat to set of the diamond studded martini glass I made for my birthday celebrations. I spotted this bit of silver loveliness in an elaborate table display in John Lewis but I couldn’t find them for sale. There were stacks of gold ones but the only silver I could find was in the display, so the elegant table setting got slightly rearranged – sorry John Lewis, but it’s gone to a grateful home. And I am hoping if the inimitable Coco Chanel helping me celebrate a holiday tonight, she would approve of the glamorous styling.
Happy holidays everyone - whichever holiday you want to celebrate! And see how the other earlier partygoers make the occasion here when posted...