yule tide

Christmas in Belgium

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Philippe and Brigitte De Naeyer are the owners of the Pottenbrug restaurant in Antwerp. During Christmas the restaurant will be closed for three days because the family would like to enjoy the yule tide season simply with their five children and grandchildren. Two in five lives abroad, so not surprisingly Brigitte and Philippe’s most joyous celebration of the year is Christmas. – ” I enjoy the Christmas season especially the hustle-bustle and that as everyone wants to make itselves useful.- says Brigitte. “One of my son decorates the Christmas tree, the other one does the garden, the girls help with the cooking, the grandchildren assist in the preparation of the menu board. By the way about the decoration we usually decide at the end of November: last year the gold was our fav this year we voted for the traditional red and green’s combination.

I like the best the Christmas morning. I wake up with a smile on my face. I jump out of my bed and run to the fireplace, throw pine branches into the fire so by the time my children arrive the air has already been filled with fine fragrance. After a liquid lunch we dress the table together. The dinner is our treatment, to exchange gifts for the great regret of my grandchildren comes only after the dessert.

This year’s menu will be: Foie gras in pastry, rolled in serrano ham, French fish soup with saffron, Mallard, with wild mushroom and goat cheese flavored potato souffle, date cake with cinnamon flavoured ice cream.

Recipes: Foie gras with serrano ham in filo pastry

Ingredients: for 4 servings, lollo bionda or rosso lettuce, eight layers dough (the best is the thin Turkish pastry called filo pastry) 1 egg, sesame seeds, 8 slices of Spanish serrano ham, 4 slices of duck liver, one bottle of red onion marmalade

for the dressing: sherry wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon mustard, 1 tablespoon oil, 2 tablespoons oil, pepper, salt, curry

Prepare the sauce: Mix the sherry and mustard with oil, add a pinch of sugar. Preheat oven to 180 degrees, lubricate the filo pastry with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Place pastry in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange the washed salad on plates. Remove the dough from the oven, place onto plate the first layer, 1 slice of ham, 1 dose of ducks, and the onion chutney, place the second dough layer on it, add ham, liver, onion, and so on.  Sprinkle the top of the dough with the sherry sauce.

French fish soup with saffron 1 lobster, 1 leek, 1 carrot, 1 teaspoon red paprika powder, 1 celery stem, saffron, parsley, fish soup broth, chicken soup stock, 1 dl white wine

Simmer the lobster in butter. Throw the chopped onion, celery stem, 1 carrot, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the paprika powder as well. Pour the chicken bouillon over lobster and cook for 15-20 minutes. When the vegetables are tender strain broth and keep only the crab meat and the vegetables, discard the fishbones and the hard parts of the lobster. Put vegetables back in the pot and pour the wine over soup. Boil soup again, flavour with the saffron. Offer with a fresh baguette or toast.

Mallard with wild mushrooms and goat cheese potatoe souffle: 2 mallards, 1 bottle of red wine, 1 bottle of Trappist beer, 1 tablespoon sugar, 750 g wild mushrooms, oil, pepper, salt, 1 onion, 2 carrots, thyme, basil, rosemary, 1 clove of garlic, butter, 1 liter of water

First, prepare the duck soup. Chop the onion and grate 3 cloves of garlic, fry them together with the diced carrots in the oil. Add the boned mallard (keep the flesh for later) pour in the red wine and the water, add the spices (bay leaf, thyme, rosemary) and cook/simmer on low heat for 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.

The goat cheese and potatoes soufflé: 200 g potatoes, 100 g goat cheese, 100 ml cream, 50 ml milk, 1 egg yolk, 1 egg white, nutmeg, salt and pepper

Prepare mashed potatoes (cook and mash) and then add butter, milk, and goat cheese. Add egg yolk whisk egg white until stiff. Add to purée. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with nutmeg. Place purée into soufflé tins and cook for 35-40 minutes in water bath (up to 180 degrees).

To finish the duck broth, filter soup and add a pinch of sugar and stir Trappist beer, plus add a bit of butter. Fry the duck breasts and thighs in its own grease or in butter on both sides for 5-6 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Place the duck breast slices in a deep bowl, add the in butter cooked wild mushroom (seasoned with pepper and salt and chopped parsley) and serve with in baking tin cooked goat cheese purée. Spanish red wine suits it the best.

Date cake Ingredients : 250 g dates, extra 8 pieces aside for garnish, 10 g flour, 200 g almonds, 140 g sugar, 1 package vanilla sugar, 4 egg whites, 250 gr of cinnamon-flavored ice cream

The cream filling: 1,5 dl cream, 1 tablespoon milk, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 pack vanilla sugar. The frosting: 4 slices of chocolate, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, 10 g butter, 3 tablespoons apricot jam

Add chopped-unpit dates into flour, mix with the ground almonds, vanilla sugar, and add the sugar as well. Grease the pan with butter, beat the egg whites until stiff, and add the flour with the dates to this mixture. Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes. Cut the cake in two when it is cool, and spread with apricot jam. Prepare the coating, melt bitter chocolate in a bowl, with 1 tablespoon hot water and butter over boiling water. Beat the cream. Coat the cake with the chocolate glazur, decorate it with halfed dates. Flavour vanilla ice cream with cinnamon. Serve cake with ice cream and cream on top. Catalan sparkling wine suits well.

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