The Dunces had a nice Christmas at home this year, featuring lots of cooking considering there were just two of us (not counting the cat who did not partake of any of our holiday cookery).
We started with a sweet breakfast of sticky rolls. These were cinnamon rolls, made from a slightly sweet dough, then loaded with a maple syrup and pecan sauce, and baked until a lot of the sugary sauce escaped from the springform pan (whoops!) and filled the house with the smell of burning sugar (and loads of smoke for a short time). Fortunately the rolls didn't suffer, and the self-cleaning oven did its job on the charred mess.
We coasted through the day on additional sticky rolls and assorted snacks before the main Christmas dinner, which contained exactly zero items I would have even considered tasting at a younger age (but which turned out to be fantastic):
Strudel thingys: For this dish we boiled and mashed a couple of sweet potatoes (choosing carefully to get orange sweet potatoes instead of various incredibly-starchy white-fleshed root vegetables that are also called "sweet potatoes" around here). To this we added some sliced leeks (cooked in butter), roasted red peppers (from a jar; we did not roast them. This time) and chopped feta cheese and pecans (one of two ingredients in the whole meal a younger Dunce would have considered eating). After mixing these, we rolled them up in sheets of filo dough (they looked a lot like burritos at this stage), topped them with poppy seeds, then popped them in the freezer to solidify. After a couple hours of freezing we baked them. Mmmmmmmmm.
We also had some roasted vegetables: parsnips and butternut squash, cut into longish strips. A little bit of oil, some sea salt, and a bunch of thyme, and a long while in the oven made them roastily delicious.
And then it was the brussels sprouts. I'd eaten these guys only once or twice before, and I think I had a perfect record of retching to date (each instance of brussels sprout eating also included at least one instance of retching). So I may have been a little bit hesitant, but Opal Dunce was somewhat insistent upon this British Christmas standard. Imagine my surprise when they were really wonderful (pan-browned in butter with slices of garlic and pine nuts).
And for dessert, we had a HOME-MADE cheesecake (topped with raspberries, the other ingredient a younger me would have eaten). This was Opal's first home-made cheesecake (although I helped with the mixing, Opal should be given full credit for this one), and perhaps brought us some stress as the process was not entirely smooth. It was meant to be baked at 180 (C), and we are sure that the oven was set to 180 at least at the beginning of the first baking phase. But somehow (perhaps by an accidental brushing against the temperature dial, perhaps by a ghost, perhaps kitty-sabotage) the cooking commenced at 130 instead. So it really didn't solidify until we rectified the error (after two baking cycles had been completed). As it turns out, cooking a cheesecake at 130 for the designated time, followed by 180 for (nearly) the designated time, was a reasonable success. So after a shortened cooling period (supposed to be 8 hours, but we didn't want to stay up until 4am waiting for dessert), we tucked in. Yum, yum.
Today, Boxing Day, will safely be a day of leftovers. But tasty, tasty leftovers. And of course the servants can have their holiday as well now.