(photography courtesy of Cook Sister! who assisted me on the night)
And with some festive cheer we ring in the Christmas season... not without presenting you with a seasonal recipe!
It may have been a quiet December in terms of posted recipes on thepassionatecook, but only because for once in my life, I have been terribly organised... almost frighteningly so. I guess that's what you need when you bring up three children and are a full-time student at the same time! So I find myself the day before Christmas Eve (which is our "big day", for the kids at least, for the adults it's more like three big days in a row with a massive Christmas Day dinner and a Boxing Day lunch party) - and unlike all those years before, we do have a Christmas tree waiting patiently in the garage to be decorated by the "Christkind" tomorrow while we're at church, all the presents are wrapped and securely hidden somewhere on the premises and most of tomorrow evening's canape extravaganza is prepared as well. No shopping to do in the morning except pick up pre-ordered items at the fishmonger's and butcher's and that's it, we should be able to celebrate the day without tears and last-minute tantrums.
So I leave you to enjoy your days as much as I will, wishing you a very merry Christmas and some valuable time spent with your loved ones. Spoil them with some foie gras rolled in gingerbread crumbs, topped with spiced apple compote and a sliver of cranberry. I made these for a cocktail party I catered in November and they were the fastest-going fingerfood that night... if you like foie gras, try them, you won't be disappointed.
On another note, if you've been wondering what this month's WTSIM will bring, we've decided to have a special celebratory round where the hosts choose a past theme for each other and try out one of the recipes the participants have come up with. If you'd like to take part (and there is no obligation to) you can email me or leave a comment and I can choose a round for you as well! Details for this "waitertryout" over at spittoonextra!
So (and too lazy to care about accents and tremas), joyeux noel, feliz navidad and frohe Weihnachten to all of you loyal readers out there, as always, it's been a pleasure to have you 'round!
Foie gras truffles in gingerbread crumbs with spiced apple compote
400 g foie gras
100 ml sauternes (or other sweet wine)
1 handful dried cranberries (sliced, for decoration)
For the gingerbread crumbs:
(only a third of the mass will be needed for the truffles)
65 g honey
50 ml brown sugar
45 g vegetable oil
1 large egg
240 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
For the apple compote:
2 medium-sized apples (tart, eg Granny Smith)
1 cinnamon stick
1 handful cloves
1 vanilla pod
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp vanilla sugar
20 ml sauternes
First, make the gingerbread biscuits for the crumb coating.
Warm the honey and sugar in a pot on the stove, enough to combine to a smooth paste and dissolve the sugar completely – careful not to overheat it. Combine the flour, spices and baking powder, pour in the honey mixture and stir with a fork until well combined. Add the oil. Beat the egg with a fork and work into the dough. Now knead with your hands until you have a smooth dough. Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Pre-heat oven to 180 C (fan)
Using one tsp of mixture at a time, form balls between your lightly wet palms, then place on a baking tray, spaced out enough so the balls can flatten into biscuits about 4 cm in diametre. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, take out and leave to cool.
(These gingerbread biscuits can be prepared weeks in advance.)
Process into fine crumbs in a food mill. If using shortly after baking, let them cool out, then grind. As they will not be dry enough, place crumbs on a non-stick baking tray, place in the oven at 100 C and dry out for about 15 minutes.
For the foie gras truffles, completely devein and clean the goose livers (or use ready-made paté de foie gras). Mix with the sauternes until you have a homogenous mass, season with salt and pepper to your liking, then place in the fridge to firm up.
When ready to roll, cut out rough ball shapes using a melon baller or tea spoon, then roll gently between your hands to form even truffles. Roll in the breadcrumbs.
To prepare the apple compote, peel and core the apples, chop finely. Place the spices in tea filter. Put into a pot with the apples and the remaining ingredients. Cook until very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the spices, then mash the apples up some more. Leave to cool. To assemble, place the foie gras truffles, rolled in the gingerbread crumbs, on a serving tray. Top with about ½ tsp of apple compote, then top with a slice of cranberry.