Christmas Eve – With The Perfect Dram
Being the animal that I am, I hate leaving things to the last minute, so all the presents will be wrapped well in advance, food purchased and prepared etc etc (I am such a bore). Like many families the chore of writing Christmas cards, selecting, purchasing and wrapping presents always falls to me, so I usually try to have all gifts bought by lst December. The decorations and tree will go up on the first Saturday of December, and then the house will really have a sense of Christmas.
For the first time Jim and I will be having Christmas dinner, not in our home, but with friends in Crieff. So the intention is on Christmas morning to visit our three gorgeous granddaughters (and their mums and dads), do the Santa thing and then head off up to Crieff for a day of fine dining with the Caskies (I am really looking forward to it, but Jim has threatened me if I go in the kitchen and try to start cooking, he will abandon me). So as most of Christmas day is taken care of I have decided to do something special for us.
Once all the flurry of the usual domestic issues are sorted and it is time for us to sit and relax I am planning to make a special simplistic, virtually effortless supper for us. I will have all the Christmas smelling candles on, twinkly lights on the tree and a selection of festive music (starting with Andrea Bocelli)
I don’t plan to make anything too heavy, but thought a really nice cheese board with some fresh fruit accompanied by a selection of nuts, night hit the mark. As this is Christmas Eve, and even though I am not really a Whisky drinker, I will be joining my Whisky Boy, Jim and savouring a few drams. There is such a vast range of Malts to choose from and one that I may really like, may not be Jim’s preference, but believe me I am safe in the knowledge that he truly believes there is no such thing as a bad Malt. So I have had my thinking cap on to what would be the ideal Malt. It has been really tough, as there are not many that he does not like, but I have come up with three that may suit us both:
Isle of Jura Superstition
Yamazaki Single Malt 18 Year Old
Caol Ila 14 Year Old, The McGibbons Provenance Bottling
The cheeses I am looking at are a good quality brie (at room temperature), a strong Stilton, a Smoked cheese and of course a fine piece of Scottish Cheddar. My preference has always been to serve ripe pear with cheese, but will probably also have a few strawberries and grapes to accompany.
I have also found a recipe in this months Good Food magazine that I am planning to use for Walnut & Raisin Oatcakes:
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp milk
175g/6 oz soft butter
100/4oz caster sugar
300gm/10oz rolled oats
140g/5oz wholemeal flour
50g/2oz raisins, roughly chopped
50g/2oz walnuts, finly chopped
oil for greasing
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Dissolve the baking powder in the milk. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then mix in the oats, flour, raisins, walnuts and milk to make a stiff dough. Tip the dough onto lightly floured surface and roll out until about 1cm thick. Cut into circles with a 5 cm pastry cutter and place on an oiled baking sheet, then bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden. Leave to cool, then serve with cheese. (these can be baked up to 2 days in advance – guess what I will be doing)
The above recipe will make about 40 oatcakes.
So there you have it my rather adult, relaxed plans for Christmas Eve. As Christmas day for many is a very stressful, busy day, quite often catering for everyone else’s needs, why not schedule a little quality time and enjoy the “Spirit” of the Festive Season.
I would like to wish you all a Very Merry stress free Christmas.
Jacqueline ( A Whisky Boy Wife)