The three girls who I refer to as "The Lunch Bunch" are dear friends and for the past almost 12 years, we've been getting together monthly for lunch -- at Linderhof! The December Lunch -- The Christmas Lunch -- is always special!
I take great pains with the table for this lunch it has to be perfect!
|The table -- a vision in red.|
Red is the theme. Red for the centerpiece, the runner, the napkins, and the bows on the presents!
|The runner was a birthday gift from friend Shirley Ann|
A white tablecloth grounds the table while touches of red abound!
|Plaid and Holly -- perfect Christmas dishes|
My Christmas China -- Royal Doulton Tartan, a Lenox Holiday salad plate, the Hotel silver, and a red linen Williams Sonoma napkin. Two gifts -- one wrapped in gold paper and tied with a red ribbon, and
|A wee chocolate fruitcake tied with a red ribbon and a label which identifies it as a chocolate fruitcake|
A companion gift of chocolate fruitcake also tied with a red ribbon.
|Minutes before the company arrives|
I always love it when the table is all set, the meal is done and I'm just awaiting the guests to arrive.
The menu for our December luncheon:
Chicken and Broccoli Cobbler
Freshly Brewed Coffee
|When I typed the menu at 11 p.m. the night before I listed Christmas salad -- had not a clue what I was going to do. Pear, blue cheese and walnuts -- perfect for a Christmas salad!|
The Christmas Salad: Greens with a light oil and vinegar dressing, half a Harry and David pear, a sprinkle of blue cheese and candied walnuts.
|I love how the trifle looks in the bowl.|
Panettone trifle -- soaked in Marsala with boozy apricots and raisins, custard and whipped cream.
We exchanged presents (and they were very generous), ate, and visited sharing our plans for Christmas Day.
All too soon, it was 2 p.m. and everyone said their goodbyes and Merry Christmases.
|We each had a nice helping of trifle!|
We certainly did a number on the trifle -- enough was left, however, for Husband Jim to have a big
helping mid afternoon and for us to have trifle for dessert. Trifle is one of those desserts that seem to gets better as it ages!
|A fun time was had by all!|
I love the table when a meal is done and everyone is gone. You can read into it what a good time was had by all!
5 ounces panettone
2 3/4 oz. dried apricots, cut into 4ths
2 3/4 oz. raisins
7 oz. marsala
1 T. sugar
1 t. cornflour
5 oz. marsala
1 pint whipping cream
2 oz. toasted sliced almonds
Put the raisins and apricots in a small saucepan with 5 oz. of the marsala. Bring up to simmering, then take off the heat and leave to soak for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the panettone into slices about 1 inch thick, then cut these down to about 1 1/2 inch pieces and place them in the trifle bowl.
After that strain the cooled soaked fruit over a jug and add enough marsalla to make the liquid up to 5 oz. Then sprinkle the marsala evenly over the panettone, followed by the fruit. Leave to one side so that the panettone can soak up all the juices, and tip the bowl from time to time to make sure there are no little pools of liquid in the bowl.
To make the custard, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a medium bowl. Then place 12 1/4 oz. of the cream and the marsala in a saucepan and over a gentle heat, bring up to simmering pint, then, whisking the egg mixture all of the time with one hand, gradually pour the heat cream back into the bowl with the egg mixture. Now quickly put the whole lot back to the saucepan, using a rubber spatula. Whisk over a medium heat until it just begins to bubble and thicken (don't worry, it won't curdle -- if it does look at all grainy, it will become smooth again when whisked off the heat).
Let the custard get quite cold then pour it over the fruit and panettone. Then whip the remaining cream to the floppy stage (being careful not to make it too stiff) and spoon it all over the custard. Cover and chill till needed, sprinkling over the toasted almonds just before serving.