This post is not what it was supposed to be. For our Christmas Supper Club rather than Secret Santa we decided that we should all make something homemade. I have a shed full of jams and marmalades but with it being Christmas I felt the need for something a little more festive, a little more Christmasy. The inspiration came from Laura over at Hungry and Frozen. Well I would always be inspired by homemade ice cream, as what is not to love, but this was so much more. Crimson hued cranberry curd swirled through to add a fruity tartness, not only sounded delicious but it all looked so wonderfully festive. I thought my dilemma on what to make for Christmas Supper Club was solved. Alas, there would appear to be a drought on cranberries in Auckland, frozen or fresh, despite Christmas fast approaching and them being so synonymous with the festive season. If there is anytime stores should have an abundance of cranberries it should surely be now.
So what to do? Homemade vanilla extract crossed my mind, but I left that a little late. Limoncello...a batch brewing but not quite enough for 6 bottles. Herbed salt was an option too but what won out was a bit of a twist on the cranberry curd....if cranberries would work then why not raspberry? The thought of swirling it through some vanilla ice cream won the day.
So last week the Supper Clubbers all rocked up to a veritable Christmas feast. To kick off the festivities a champagne cocktail and a festive goat cheese log. It's almost Christmas so bubbly was the only way to go. Simple and elegant; just pop a sugar cube in a glass and add 5 drops of angostura bitters, top with bubbly and add a sliver or 2 of orange zest. I foresee a few encore performances for this cocktail over the holidays, light and a little aromatic with the bitters and orange zest.
For our entree Christmas Salmon with a Cranberry and Almond crust. Ever so light, and a wonderfully crunchy topping flecked with crimson cranberries. And then the main event, Duck Breast with a Red Wine and Cherry Sauce with some minted peas. The duck perfectly pink and the sauce rich and tart. Duck and cherries really are a match made in heaven. On the side and Asparagus and Gruyere Tart which can only be described as sublime. Crumbly, cheesy pastry topped with a rich mascarpone, cream and egg yolk mixture, and then my favourite spring green asparagus to top it all off. Not a single crumb was left.
Of course no Supper Club or Christmas feast would be complete without dessert. Dessert was light, sweet Crunchy Meringues with a Summer Berry Salad and Cointreau Sauce. The crunch coming from walnuts and cornflakes, yes cornflakes! The cointreau sauce creamy with that hint of orange perfect over the fresh Summer berries.
Christmas Supper Club means gifts and this year we decided on homemade gifts and what a treat it turned out to be. A screen printed Supper Club tea towel (pic up above), tapenade, date chutney, strawberry jam, chilli jam, strawberry sauce and my contribution raspberry curd. So far the chilli jam has basted chicken nibbles and become a fantastic Thai dipping sauce for some prawn and coconut rice paper rolls. This weekend the plan is for the strawberry jam to become part of of some mini tart tatins and the date chutney will make friends with some cheese. The tapenade is perfect for a few crostini and thinking the strawberry sauce the perfect topping for an ice cream sundae.
|Supper Club loot|
Makes 6 small jars for gifts, with a little left over for the chef
500g / 1.2 lbs raspberries, fresh or frozen
225g / 1/2 lb granulated sugar
60g / 2oz unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
Pinch of salt
Place the berries and two tablespoons of water in a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the fruit is very soft. Remove from the heat and push the berry mixture through a sieve in to a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with an inch or two of water.
Add the sugar, butter and eggs. Place the saucepan over the lowest possible heat and whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Keep it on a low simmer and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the curd thickens. It will thicken a little more once it cools. Make sure you don't let it boil, as it will curdle. If you see even a sign of bubbles whip it off the heat and dunk in a ice bath and stir like crazy!
Pour the curd in to hot, sterilised jars, label and store in the fridge. Serve on toasted crumpets with a cuppa.
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