Here's another instalment of our Christmas Day dinner. Cooking for a family where one is very picky and another is only just four and not a very adventurous eater (yet, if he shows any interest in food at all, that is and isn't distracted by presents and company) can be tricky at the best of times - even more so on occasions like Christmas when you just want to be all understanding and accommodating and make sure everybody is happy. My teenage daughter is more or less a vegetarian, although she will have the occasional pork coming from a farmer round the corner from my parents' which ensures gentle, organic farming - if someone told me that he kills his animal by caressing them, I would believe them. The other thing she will eat is fillet from those lovely people at the Borough Market who sell wild beef - their cattle is out roaming the beautiful English countryside with no more than a barn as a shelter, they only live off what they graze on and get no additional feed, so there is obviously no danger of the meat being laden with artificial fatteners or antibiotics like most of the meat you buy these days. But I digress.
Our second course on Christmas Eve was vegetarian to please the eldest and something that I prepared the day before (always a bonus). "Verrines" have become very fashionable last year (for some very beautiful concoctions, check Bea's blog La Tartine Gourmande) and I finally succumbed to the trend by making my own... the very first one. I wanted some Christmassy flavours here and settled on layers of blue cheese & mascarpone and stewed apple & chestnut, topped with caramelised pecan nuts with a hint of cayenne pepper. This may not be the most clever verrine ever, but a perfect starter for vegetarians and fussy eaters alike - what's not to like about cheese, apple and nuts?