With Mother and Mother-in-law, multiple friends and other relatives all overseas for Christmas this year, Monsieur Poisson and I knew we were in for a quiet affair. While Ms Physio came over for lunch and Mistress joined us for dinner, it still only took the headcount for each meal to a grand total of three. You would assume that I would keep things simple, with only so few people to entertain, but this is Christmas we’re talking about here and I’m not sure I am ever capable of keeping things simple when it comes to cooking for others.
Because Christmas was never celebrated in my family as a child, I’m a bit freeform when it comes to ‘Christmas’ food. I have yet to serve a whole roast bird, as I rarely have many people to feed, but I do usually roast a few cuts of chicken instead. This year I decided to make a rolled chicken roast. Had I ever made one before? No. Did I know for how long or at what temperature to roast it? Er, no. And did I even know how to tie a rolled roast? Um, again, no. But, as with most things these days, the internet is the beholder of the answers to many a mysterious question!
The chicken was paired with many roast vegetables (I almost ran out of room in my baking dish), a couple of salads, some bread rolls and a few slices of deli-bought ham. Dessert was profiteroles made from a trusty packet mix (I know – tsk, tsk! – I have yet to attempt making them from scratch), but not quite following the packet instructions, served filled with vanilla ice-cream and a drizzling of a cream-free chocolate sauce (for those times when I want chocolate sauce when there is no cream to hand). Ms Physio unfortunately missed out on these as I didn’t remember them until after I had served dinner. (PS. Thank you again for your gift – I was very much covered in glitter after opening it!)
Christmas dinner consisted of reheated leftovers from lunch which, thankfully, Mistress didn’t mind. Some of the excess cooking ingredients from Christmas Day then made it into our pizza dinner on Boxing Day, but more about that in a post to follow.
I hope you had a wonderful time sharing food, conversation, laughter and good times with whomever you chose to share Christmas. It was the very first Christmas for this here humble blog. It was also Monsieur Poisson and my first Christmas together as husband and wife, so it was definitely a special time for us.
Rolled Chicken Roast with Chorizo and Pine Nuts (makes approx 9 pieces to serve 3 adults)
- 3 large chicken thigh fillets
- 1 chorizo sausage (not the dried type)
- ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs (I process leftover bread crusts and keep them in a container in the freezer for when needed)
- ¼ onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
- butcher’s/cotton string
- Remove the chorizo sausage from its casing and place in a medium sized bowl. To this, add the breadcrumbs, onion and pine nuts (if using). Feel free to add any fresh or dried herbs and mash the lot together with a fork until evenly combined. Set aside.
- Lay chicken thigh fillets on a chopping board with the smooth-side (the side where the skin was) down. Trim any straggly bits of meat so that you have relatively flat fillets – you may find that you have to butterfly open thicker parts of the fillets. Flatten the fillets with a meat mallet or the back or a meat cleaver until fairly uniform in thickness.
- Lay down a large sheet of plastic wrap and arrange the fillets smooth-side down, overlapping slightly into a rectangular shape. Arrange the chorizo stuffing lengthways on top of the chicken fillets, leaving about a 1 inch margin from one of the longer sides.
- Using the plastic wrap, roll up fillets to enclose the stuffing into a log shape and twist both ends of the plastic wrap like a bonbon to seal. (Note that the plastic wrap should NOT be rolled into the chicken log itself.) Wrap in a double layer of foil and place in the freezer to firm up for easier handling (anywhere from 1-2 hours).
- Take chicken roll from freezer and remove layers of wrap. Tie up chicken with string as per guidance in this video. If not roasting straight away, rewrap in plastic wrap and foil before placing in the fridge.
- To roast, preheat oven to 200°C. Bring chicken roll to room temperature and brush surface with a little oil before roasting for 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and rest 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil, before untying and slicing into thick pieces to serve.
I roasted pumpkin and carrot pieces alongside the chicken for the same amount of time, corn for around 30 minutes, zucchini pieces for around 20 minutes and asparagus for around 10 minutes. All vegetables were tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper prior to cooking. The cooking times given for the chicken and vegetables are all approximate as they were quite forgiving to being slightly overcooked or kept warm in the oven whilst covered with a layer of foil.
My Potato Salad
- Chat potatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
- hard boiled eggs, sliced
- frozen peas
- bacon, roughly chopped
- seeded mustard
Mix together cooked potato, egg slices, cooked peas and cooked bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly with mayonnaise and mustard to taste. Chill prior to serving. Amounts of ingredients required will depend on how many people you are feeding and personal tastes.
Cheat’s Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce (makes about 25 profiteroles)
- 1 pack of ‘White Wings’ profiterole packet mix (you only need the pastry mix, not the custard mix nor the chocolate chips)
- 2 eggs
- 165mL water
For the chocolate sauce:
- 125mL water
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 60g unsalted butter
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 150g dark chocolate, chopped
- Mix together profiterole ingredients (can be done by hand) until well combined. Preheat oven 220°C and line a baking tray. Shape rounds of batter using a two-spoon method, or pipe 25 profiteroles of about 1 inch in diameter 1 inch apart on the tray.
- Bake for 15 minutes before reducing heat to 190°C and baking a further 20 minutes. Remove tray from oven and let profiteroles sit for 10 minutes before splitting in half with a knife to release any steam.
- Prepare chocolate sauce by stirring water, cocoa powder, butter and brown sugar together in a small saucepan over low heat until combined and just starting to boil. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate pieces until melted, smooth and glossy.
- To serve, fill profiteroles with small scoops of vanilla ice-cream and arrange on a plate. Spoon over as much chocolate sauce as desired and enjoy!
merry Christmas, happy cooking, happy sharing & happy eating!