Friday 1 January 2016
Happy New Year to one and all!
Someone once said to me early one January many years ago, “There’s nothing ever more ‘over’ than Christmas,” and I know exactly what he meant. We spend ages working up to it – partying, shopping, wrapping, decorating, writing cards and labels, preparing, cooking, partying again, and then suddenly on or about the second day of January, as we finish clearing up after New Year’s Eve and dismantle the tree, it’s all over with nothing left to remind us of it all but the next credit card statement, which is usually pretty painful.
Much as I love Christmas and everything associated with it, my favourite part is the actual ‘Christmas Dinner’ – not necessarily the main meal on Christmas Day, but on whichever day, the meal we share with loved ones seated at a table groaning under the weight of food, and it has to be traditional, i.e. turkey or goose, served with ham, stuffing, roast potatoes, and a selection of vegetables, and followed with Christmas Pudding and lashings of gloriously unctuous double cream.
And the food has to be on the table and not plated up in the kitchen with the heavily laden plates delivered to the table for consumption feebly excused by ‘The table’s not big enough’ or ‘Dad’s not very good at carving’. That’s not good enough – the table is always big enough (use smaller dinner plates if you have to as there’s always ‘seconds’) and if Dad can’t carve properly then he should learn, as that’s as much part of being a parent as changing nappies or reading bedtime stories.
Anyway, enough of my soapbox for now!
Just before Christmas we met up with some friends in a Paul Coffee Shop and had a gloriously luxurious snack with a coffee. We are all familiar (aren’t we?) with the classic French toasted cheese and ham sandwich, the Croque Monsieur, which if topped with a fried egg becomes a Croque Madame. Well this is a Vegetarian variant on that, but don’t be put off by the ‘V’ word.
With a bit of research it turns out to be not properly French at all but something created/invented/dreamed up in a French restaurant in, of all places, New York. Well, to hell with authenticity, this sandwich is lovely – all rich and creamy. With the recipe in place, I can enjoy this any time I choose, and now so can you!
Once again, Happy New Year