Eschewing green ivy the H/N's headed straight to the Holly Berry for their decorative inspiration. Combined with the sunlight of a perfect summer's evening, the scene that met us as we walked in was one indeed of "good tidings and good cheer".
We were charged with providing an entree, and as it was to be a French theme, M prepared some chicken and mushroom voul-a-vent. But before this was served, we had a throwback from the past: Prawn Cocktails!
Preparing the prawn cocktails
A forest of Prawn Cocktails
MN actually made mayo from scratch which took the final thousand island sauce to a whole different level.
J bought some fresh plump oysters for those partial to that sort of thing at the table. And by the tone of that last sentence, you can correctly surmise that I am not. But they did look yummy.
K's mum, the lovely G, put together something called Smoked Salmon Crispy Wontons (I hope I got this right!) and they were very much worth seconds.
G putting the finishing touches on her take on wontons
The final product
Then it was time for M's voul-a-vents which went down a treat.
Ready for the oven
Dispensing with tradition again, we opened a few presents and then trundled off (yup, yet again!) to Casa Tackisimo (see last year's Christmas post) to beg the question why and to muddle over how much and the damage to the environment ... but I am no scrooge (ok maybe a little bit), and seen through the eyes of a child, the lights and fixtures were a magic Christmas wonderland. With the exception of the serial killer snowman ... Merry Axemas Everyone!!!
Come to Daddy!
Safely ensconced back at the house, we sat down to another bout of tummy stretching goodness, which were the mains for the evening.
MN cooked a Duck L'Orange.
He also served a Beef Wellington with a stunning layer of home made pate that MN made from scratch (which I guess is what qualifies this as a French dish in some way):
The duck was succulent and perfectly cooked, but the beef was out of this world!!
To accompany these 2 sterling dishes were some asparagus spears served with walnuts and goats cheese. J put this scrumptious salad together and she cooked the spears in the microwave! (J, your secret is NO longer safe with me!)
We also had a carrot salad with thyme and Champagne wine vinegar and a rocket and pear salad dressed in black truffle oil which moneybags MN drizzled a veritable fountain of. Me and J scored a few drips straight out of the bottle ... Heaven! I will beg to differ with M, as I would most certainly welcome a big bowl of pasta with just olive oil and shavings of truffle! MN also made a Pommes Dauphinois - simple but so effective!
To round off the evening, J made a Tarte Tartin ... and despite her worry that it was a little burnt (see the what it should have been and the after shot below), it was delicious! M also passed round his mini plum puddings and finally dinner was at an end.
We are so blessed to have such amazing friends and to be welcomed so generously into their families. Apparently we have now been sucked into the H/N blackhole! Cheers!!!
And on to the next one ...