Have Yourself a Victorian Christmas!
It may seem very complicated and appear to be a lot of hard work, but planning a Victorian Christmas is not only a memorable experience, it is lots of fun too. The key to the whole plan is to start the activities early!
In prior years, when I was teaching cooking classes on this very theme, I would have to schedule the classes during the last two weeks of November. This meant having to decorate my entire kitchen and dining room long before December ever arrived — everything completely transformed in gold and glitter, including a cherub-studded tree. But then I had the entire month of December to enjoy the atmosphere I had created and the warmth of the Christmas season lingered so much longer.
But now onto the foods of a Victorian Christmas.
- A crock pot of simmering mulled wine (recipe p.189
Planning well ahead for Christmas dinner is always a good idea, since much of the last minute hard work can be eliminated.
- Consider a unique new stuffing recipe (Spinach and Pine Nuts or Apricot and Green Apples, p.125). Bake it in a large casserole apart from the turkey for a change. Be sure it is well covered with foil to keep it moist and do not over-bake it. This special treat can be made safely days ahead, frozen if desired and baked at serving time.
- A fabulous Sweet Potato dish (recipe p.89) or Potatoes Florentine (recipe p.86) makes a fresh change from the usual mashed potatoes. This year consider buying a big colourful squash – bake it until soft enough to scoop out as with a pumpkin. Fill the shell with either of these recipes. It makes a wonderful presentation. Rub some olive oil over the outer shell for a lovely polished finish and keep in a warm oven in readiness for its presentation!
- You might also want to consider the Cranberry Kumquat relish. It’s not cooked and it is fabulous! If preferred, you could substitute Christmas oranges (unpeeled) for kumquats.
- For the more adventurous, complete your Victorian feast with a Croquenbouch, a spectacular gala dessert and centre-piece. This is shaped in the form of a Christmas tree and is comprised of individual cream and custard filled puffs. The final touch is to twirl ribbons of caramel about the tree with gold ribbons and cherubs interlacing throughout for that extra Victorian pizzazz. If this all seems too grand, perhaps the pumpkin fans would like the Frangelica Bread Pudding (recipe p.165) or the Pumpkin Pralene Cheesecake (recipe p.149). But remember to prepare them early!
- Such a special dinner should always finish with wonderful, freshly-ground coffee together with lightened-up Cappuccino eggnog.
- Finally, if you have time, it’s fun to make your own unique Christmas crackers by cutting down paper rolls, wrapping them in beautiful foil Christmas paper and popping inside a lotto ticket and a Belgian chocolate. Tie the ends with gold and silver ribbons.
Remember to decorate early, plan ahead and delegate the cooking chores. Light the candles throughout the house and prepare to thoroughly enjoy a wonderful Christmas - Victorian style!