Christmas Dinner 2008

Christmas Dinner this year was just the 2 of us. A Turkey would have been impractical, and neither of us are big fans. Goose was under consideration, but again deemed too big. So we had Gressingham Duck, cooked very simply using guidelines from Delia – roasted on a rack, with plenty of seasoning on the skin.

I retained some of the drained off fat, and used it to roast the potatoes, carrots and parsnips. In addition, there was the compulsory Sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and red cabbage (boiled and then sauteed in butter, red vinegar and sugar). There was no worries about not getting our 5 a day! The gravy was made from a stock made from the duck giblets, some red wine and cranberries. And finally, on the side was the cranberry sauce that I prepared on Christmas Eve.  Unbelievably, we forgot to do the sausages wrapped in bacon, and so ended up having them for supper on Boxing Day!

For pudding we had chocolate Souffle – the recipe comes from The Green & Blacks Unwrapped cookbook, the source of so many of my favourite recipes. It’s a simple recipe, as long as you don’t open the oven door mid cooking, then it should successfully rise.  The quantities quoted are to serve 6, but I managed to get 4 portions out of half the quantities – so I guess it depends on the size of your ramekins!


  • 100g (4oz) dark chocolate (min 60% cocoa)
  • 60g (2.5 oz) cocoa powder
  • 8 egg whites
  • 60g (2.5 oz) caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 190ºC / 375ºF / Gas Mark 5.

Melt the chocolate and butter using a basin over a saucepan of simmering water.

Put the cocoa into a saucepan, along with 150ml of cold water. Whisk to blend well, and heat until it boils. Boil for 10 seconds, and then add to the mixing basin of melted chocolate.

Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar, and whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy.  Add a quarter of the egg white to the chocolate mix, and gently fold in until completely mixed. Fold in the rest of the egg white, keeping it gentle to keep air in the mixture.

Prepare the ramekins by brushing the insides with melted butter. Fill each ramekin to the rim, and level off.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

You can also make a caramel sauce using caramel chocolate and thick cream, but I cheat and use Dulce De Leche Caramel Toffee from Merchant Gourmet.


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