A creamy cauliflower soup with almond balls and almond dukkah, a delicious vegetarian starter for the Christmas lunch or dinner.
In case you haven’t yet started thinking about what you will cook for Christmas, now would be the time to start doing it. 🙂 Many of my friends already know what they will cook, especially the traditionalists like my mother-in-law, who tend to cook the same meal each Christmas, but there are still some who still don’t have a clue and keep asking around: “And what will do cook for Christmas this year, cause I still have no idea?”.
Like I’ve mentioned above, what my mother-in-law is concerned, we have the same each Christmas day for lunch: goose with bread dumplings, Brussels sprouts in white sauce and green bean salad. The only thing changing from time to time is the dessert. Last year we had one of my favorite desserts: layers of raspberries, cream and homemade meringue, sometimes she makes an equally delicious dessert with cream, cherries and caramelized almonds or sometimes, her husband would make one of his famous yogurt bowls with lots of cream on top. So whipped cream rules! 🙂
We used to spend Christmas Eve at her house as well, but since Bruno was born eight years ago, we changed the tradition and now we always celebrate Christmas Eve at our place and Christmas Day at their house. And you might have guessed already, I ALWAYS change my Christmas Eve dinner. Although I thoroughly enjoy my mother-in-law’s usual Christmas lunch, I cannot even imagine making the same thing every year.
Last year we had a delicious Turkish inspired dinner with lots and lots of small dishes on the table. It was really really great, but at the end of the day (and a few more times in between) I swore I will never make myself so much trouble with the Christmas dinner again. I started one day in advance and spent the whole of the 24th of December in the kitchen. By the time we went to the church I was exhausted… So this year the motto is “less is more”. I decided to cook things that can be made in advance and then reheated, things like soup, sarmale – Romanian cabbage rolls and a dessert that has to be made a day in advance as well. So on the actual day, I will only have to bake a bread (or buy one…), decorate the dessert and reheat the rest of the meal. Great!!
To make things easier for other people as well, I decided to make a series concerning Christmas dinner or lunch, including some ideas for things that do not require you to spend so much time in the kitchen and allow you more time to enjoy with your family. They are not the things mentioned above though, with the exception of the dessert. The reason I am not cooking that for Christmas myself is that I have already cooked that twice for the blog and it’s really not me to eat the same thing so often in such a short period of time. 🙂 But they are delicious things, easy to make and yet impressive, so you can be sure that your family and guests will be satisfied.
The proposed menu includes today’s Cauliflower Soup with Almond Balls and Almond Dukkah, an Oven Slow-Cooked Leg of Turkey with Brussels Sprouts with Oranges and oven potatoes. As a vegetarian alternative to the turkey leg I chose an amazing Porcini Risotto Savoy Cabbage “Cake”, which can be served with a nice salad. And for the sweet part: my favorite dessert ever the Yogurt Bomb with Berries. On top of that a delicious Caramelized Walnut Cake.
The soup, the dukkah, the dessert and the cake can be made a day in advance, the turkey leg needs about 4 hours in the oven, but the actual work involved is under 15 minutes. The only things that need to be made shortly before dinner are the sprouts and the potatoes and if you choose to go vegetarian, the risotto cake as well. Although to tell you the truth, when I made the risotto cake for us, we had leftovers which I reheated the next day in the oven, they were just as delicious as the day before… But even if you want to eat that immediately, it will still not take longer than 2 hours to prepare all the veggies and the risotto, and I think 2 hours for a Christmas dinner is fair enough.
Source for the dukkah: Orient Express by Silvena Rowe.
Other Christmas starter ideas: