Mum invited Hannah and her entire family over for dinner on Christmas Eve. We had a brilliant evening eating good food and playing silly games. After a day of fetching the goose and finishing off neglected Christmas shopping it really got us in festive spirit... to the extent that Dad did a recital of the Bird in the Guilded Cage in a throw back to his days as a choir boy.
As a present Hannah brought over some fondant fancies covered in edible glitter and psychodelic icing. They look utterly stunning and fit in well with our wallpaper! They are a huge speciality of Hannah's and I can't wait for her to bring another batch over.
When we collected the goose earlier in the day we asked whether they had any venison fillet and were delighted when a gigantic piece of dark, tender meat appeared. I decided to make a venison carpaccio starter with a roquette salad dressed with juniper oli, black chocolate and parmesan. Later on in proceedings after a glass or two of champagne I decided it might be a good idea to add a dollop of Mum's 2004 vintage damson jam to the mix!
Whilst the venison was chilling in the freezer to firm up, I whizzed up loads of juniper berries with black pepper, salt, olive oil and a sprinkling of dried chilli. Mum always holds us back with chilli because it makes Dad sneeze! Having made a very fragrant oil I tried it out on Suz and Mum. Mum said it was too gritty and Suz added some lemon. So I sieved the liquid and held it back for later.
Slicing the venison was a very therepeutic experience. There's something very soothing about taking a really sharp knife and slicing through super tender flesh. I tried my hardest to slice it as thin as possible and then layered the meat on top of the salad leaves before dressing them with the fragrant oil, parmesan scrapings, dark chocolate shavings and damson jam.
We served the venison with the delicious curry paste bread that Hannah brought with her and popped a few bowls of extra chocolate and parmesan on the table in case people wanted more. I was delighted to see 11 clean plates as well as people helping themselves to extra toppings! It made a great alternative to smoked salmon and was actually quite economical.
A delicious salad Nicoise followed the venison which made for a great alternative to turkey or ham. We were so relieved that it allowed all to breathe a sigh anticipation for the goose and turkey later in the week.
Suz slaved for hours over some delicious cinamon and white chocolate pannacottas. They turned out perfectly and looked fab. Well done little Sis.
What a brilliant Christmas Eve. Great to catch up with Hannaa and the Miles gang.
Check out Hannah's brilliant blog here.