there were mocktails for the kids - our friends selected a wide variety of fruit and juices (sparkling and non) that they could use to compose their cocktails in special, glowy glasses. the adults took a more traditional route - crisp gin & tonics, followed by a glass of champagne during the queen's speech and then a nice amarone with dinner.
we didn't sit down to a proper starter thanks to the vast array of nibbles i made, but oysters were a must if we were going to go all out. they were small, but fresh and tasting of the very sea itself. that is until i put a spoonful of finely chopped shallots bathed in astringent red wine vinegar and a crumbling of posh "feinschmecker" bacon on top.
even the non-oyster lovers enjoyed the bacon-topped deliciousness. the kids did too.
after all of the heavy christmas food, i decided a big, abundant salad had to be on the menu. pickley antipasto served as dressing.
1 package of baby spinach leaves
1 carton cherry tomatoes
6-7 slices of serrano ham (cut in half and rolled up to look pretty)
150 grams posh bacon, diced and fried until crispy
100 grams smoked almonds, chopped and toasted together with the bacon at the very end
handful of green beans, cut bite-sized and lightly steamed
a selection of various pickled or preserved in oil antipasti - artichokes, roasted peppers, olives (green and black), pepperoncini, sun-dried tomatoes, capers if you have them.
pile it all on a big plate, using the spinach leaves as a bed and arranging it prettily. i used a bit of the herbed olive oil from the artichokes as dressing and tossed on the bacon and almonds on top for crunch.
here's one more shot after i remembered to put the black olives (sabin's favorites) on top.
i served the big salad with a lovely beef roast. we have the best butcher in denmark in a nearby little town (where there is little else, other than this charming butcher) and so i trusted them. it came marinated and even tho' i was chatting away and overcooked it a bit, it was still delicious. my advice is buy the very best you can possibly afford and then it will cover for any mistakes you may make in the preparation.
simple roasted root vegetables and an herbed creme fraiche dressing instead of heavy gravy accompanied the roast. all i did was peel and slice beets, parsnips, carrots and a few potatoes and drizzle with olive oil and a bit of herbed salt and bake for 45 minutes or so. i stirred some of the same herbed salt into the creme fraiche.
after we'd all had one serving of the food, we decided to set off a "table bomb" (bordbombe). usually, they have a few streamers of crepe paper and some small plastic trinkets inside. perhaps a few stars. this one was shaped like a champagne bottle and contained pulverized glitter, which ruined the remains of the salad much of the roasted vegetables. at least it was after we'd all had a good helping of it and we'd had loads of appetizers (more about those soon), so nobody went away hungry. in fact, we were so stuffed that we didn't eat our dessert crepes until breakfast the next day.
i guess we're showing our age a little bit because when the meal was over, it was still a couple of hours 'til midnight, so we changed out of our party clothes, put on sweatpants and played cards. then at midnight, we went out in the rain and watched the fireworks. same procedure as every year.