Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our Christmas dinner

Wink had bought me a seasonal cookbook, Elizabeth David's Christmas. Compiled by Jill Norman, ED's longstanding editor, from articles and recipes for a book which never reached fruition in this great author's lifetime. As with all her books it makes a very good read as well as having lots of good recipes.

We had decided to have a capon this Christmas as there were only two of us (aaah!) so we bought a chapon de Loué weighing 1.6kg as suggested in the recipe and not the big bruiser one normally expects.

As suggested I prepared tomatoes with rice and walnut stuffing which cooked in the oven during the last 30 minutes roasting time.

The other vegetables were
brussels sprouts enhanced with chestnuts, and roasted parnsips. A little wine stirred in the roasting pan made a light gravy for our Christmas meal.

Whilst roasting the bird we had our aperitif:
Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett 2002
Lovely elegant wine with a touch of lime on the nose and just off-dry. Good minerality, medium-bodied, refreshing completed by a long finish.

And with our meal we delved into the past with a mature Burgundy:
Faiveley Nuits St Georges Premier Cru, Clos de la Maréchale 1991
Good red in colour with brown rim. Aged blackberries on the nose with a touch of vegetal, this wine belied its age still being robust in body and flavour - chaptalised in what not a great Burgundy vintage. However the wine went well with the capon as none of the accompaniments were too strong in flavour. We enjoyed this little gem from the Webber's Wine Bar cellar - and we still have a bottle left!

The wines

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008

It was great to be back at Chalet Balaena where the snow was deep and crisp and even - a positive start to the ski season.

Chalet Balaena

Chalet Balaena with the mountain towering behind...

... and the chapel in the old village, just down the road from us.

While Wink took her new tenant, Will, to show him the slopes I warmed up with a few gentle skis at Outalay

before pausing for a vin chaud!

The next day was Christmas Eve so we went down to the market in Grand Bornand to buy vegetables,

ham and saucisson (I'm not sure about that one in the middle),

as well as gazing at the seasonal specialities of foie gras, snails and Grand Bornand smoked salmon.

As always the cheery M. Bozon jnr looked after us.

To Champion supermarket, where we appreciated their best wishes for the season.

We enjoyed the cornucopia of shellfish

and bid farewell to this fine lobster.

To complete our trip to Thones we visited the Christmas market

where we were warmed by the 'ritual burning of the pallet'

before enjoying a vin chaud, warmed above this unusual log fire. Using a hollowed green log, the fire consumes it slowly throughout the day.

Cheerily served - everyone is imbued with the Christmas spirit.

Back home, we decorated the Christmas tree and strewed presents around it.

Christmas Day and the forecast was promising after a cloudy start.

We set off for the slopes and, having arrived at the top,

fortified ourselves with a hot chocolate and rum!

We skied and snowboarded till lunchtime which we enjoyed up high with Will and Hazel.

Boxing Day was even brighter and we set off again to enjoy the snow, sun and blue skies

as well as great views

with Wink in front of Pointe Percée

and me!

We rounded off our morning with lunch at La Taverne with a bottle of Apremont, the essential mountain frites, endives au gratin

and the company of Yvonne and Juliette as well as Phil.