An English Christmas: Roast Goose & Plum Pudding

by Ann Marie Michaels on December 27, 2008

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Amy & Sophie - Christmas 2008

I’m sitting by a cozy fire in snowy Seattle, sipping a margarita and eating chips and salsa. We’re having Christmas tamales tonight. Tamales I brought up from Los Angeles. — click here for my homemade tamales recipe

Last night, we had a traditional English Christmas dinner. Actually it was inspired by Southwestern France — so it was really more of a hybrid English/French dinner.

But I think the Christmas crackers and plum pudding with hard sauce put us firmly in L’Angleterre.

Christmas crackers have little toys inside (akin to our American Cracker Jacks), and colored paper crowns (see above photo — my sister and niece wearing the crowns) which you wear on your head whilst you sip your port and eat your pudding.

Christmas Crackers

Christmas crackers or bon-bons are an integral part of Christmas celebrations in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, other Commonwealth countries and Ireland. A cracker consists of a cardboard tube wrapped in a brightly decorated twist of paper, making it resemble an oversized sweet-wrapper. The cracker is pulled by two people, and, much in the manner of a wishbone, the cracker splits unevenly. The split is accompanied by a small bang produced by the effect of friction on a chemically impregnated card strip (similar to that used in a cap gun). Source: Wikipedia

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On to the menu:

First Course:
Oysters on the Half Shell
Duck Rillettes with Watercress and Pomegranate Seeds
Moet Champagne

Here are the oysters and rillettes:

Oysters on the Half Shell and Duck Rillettes

Rillettes is a preparation of meat similar to pâté. Originally made with pork, the meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste. They are normally used as spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature. Source: Wikipedia

My sister carving the Christmas goose, with my niece plating:

Carving the Christmas Goose

Second Course:
Roast Goose
Prune Apple Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips — click here for my homemade mashed potatoes recipe
Goose Gravy
Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux

Roast Goose with Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing & Gravy

Third Course:
Watercress, Red Cabbage & Carrot Salad with Roasted Chestnuts

Watercress, Red Cabbage & Carrot Salad with Roasted Chestnuts

Fourth Course:
Roquefort Cheese
Tawny Port

Fifth Course:
Plum Pudding (in my sister’s words, “honest-to-god plum pudding, not the raisin substitute”) with Stem Ginger Hard Sauce
Armagnac

Here’s the pudding, pre-sauce:

Christmas Plum Pudding

The food was so good, the children felt inspired to do a Christmas jig.

Christmas Jig

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Grandma Nancy & Grandpa Ed December 27, 2008 at 6:58 AM

So glad that you are enjoying your time with family in Seattle!

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Kelly the Kitchen Kop December 27, 2008 at 7:24 AM

What a fun post! So out of my world, and neat to read about!

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cheeseslave December 27, 2008 at 7:33 AM

I have learned so much about food (and life) from my sister. She’s older (one year).

She has a Ph.D. in medieval literature. She spent a lot of time abroad when she was studying so she learned a lot about food and different cultures.

She is also the one who planned the trip we took to Italy a few years ago — just her, my mother and me. We went to Tuscany and took cooking classes and went truffle hunting with a real Italian truffle hunter and went wine tasting at some of the wineries with a local Italian wine expert.

My sister also sent me my first subscription to the New Yorker magazine, which I have been subscribing to ever since.

It’s nice to have a big sister, especially one who is as special as mine.

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cheeseslave December 27, 2008 at 7:35 AM

Oh and PS: Every Christmas we watch “White Christmas”. Our favorite song is “Sisters”.

“Sisters, sisters
There were never such devoted sisters,
Never had to have a chaperone, no sir,
I’m there to keep my eye on her
Caring, sharing
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome
She wore the dress, and I stayed home
All kinds of weather, we stick together
The same in the rain and sun
Two different faces, but in tight places
We think and we act as one
Those who’ve seen us
Know that not a thing could come between us
Many men have tried to split us up, but no one can
Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister
And lord help the sister, who comes between me and my man”

– Irving Berlin

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Carys December 27, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Oooh, what fruits does your sister use? I want to mix all sorts of plums, but finding them this time of year is hard and I keep forgetting to dry them in summer! I especially want damsons, greengages, and sloes. Does she include apricots?

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Maurice December 27, 2008 at 7:53 PM

Hey, Ann Marie,

Wonderful site. I finally made it here.

Glad to hear your having fun and eating well in Seattle. My favorite restaurant there is Paseo’s on Fremont Avenue in Fremont. If you get a chance, stop by for lunch and have the pork sandwich (single marinated pork cutlet and not the Midnight Cuban)

There was a raid at Healthy Family Farms on Friday last week. Apparently Sharon was selling raw goat milk.

See you when you are back.

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cheeseslave December 27, 2008 at 7:59 PM

Hi, Maurice!

I heard about Sharon and HFF.

Question: Why is it legal to sell raw cow’s milk in California but not raw goat’s milk?

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Maurice December 27, 2008 at 8:04 PM

I do not know. I know that Carol in Hollywood is also gunshy to do so. She used to sell to other as pet food but she’s even stopped doing that.

Mark M. thinks that it isn’t and believes that she is fine if they do not find any pathogens.

http://www.sacbee.com/ourregion/story/1428492.html

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Augie December 28, 2008 at 6:35 AM

I do not think I posted this on the Raid– this was said to be the only story on the internet for a while– except for the Ventura paper.

http://wholefoodusa.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/healthy-family-farm-dairy-busted-owner-jailed/

See Family Farm Enforcement Report also.

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Colleen/FoodieTots December 28, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Wow, that looks like a fantastic Christmas! I’ve always wanted to cook a Christmas goose, maybe next year.

And for Carys, there’s a vendor at Seattle’s Pike Place Market who sells dried plums, though it looks like they’re not available right now. But we’ve gotten dried pluots from them before, so perhaps they would have other plum varieties during the year? http://esimplythebest.net/fruit.html

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Michael December 28, 2008 at 3:27 PM

The goose sounds great, and very ‘traditional English’ – except perhaps for the mashed potatoes. I’m glad your introduction notes the French inspiration for the rest of the menu. Your sister is presumably aware that the “plum” in “plum pudding” is widely considered to mean a non-specific dried fruit, not plums or even prunes. I’d love to hear her sources for thinking that the raisins are a “substiture”. I don’t know any fellow English who would agree.

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cheeseslave December 29, 2008 at 7:49 AM

Yes she said plum pudding can be made from any dried fruit. She said that raisins started being used during the war due to rations. I’ll have to ask her for more details.

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Kim Warner December 30, 2008 at 9:57 AM

What a fun time and your meal looks great. I have always wanted to cook a goose for Christmas but Grandma says they are so small. I have to admit after seeing yours I would like to try one. Who made it??? Please email the recipe. You two are lucky to have each other believe me : )

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cheeseslave January 2, 2009 at 10:17 AM

Yes they are smaller than a turkey but plenty big — the goose fed all of us (3 adults and 2 kids) and we had lots of leftovers). Also you get a LOT (like 3 cups) of goose fat which you can render and use for cooking (YUM).

You will have to email Amy for the goose recipe — she roasted it! I roast duck a lot, and chickens and sometimes Cornish Game hens. And of course turkeys. I have never roasted a goose (yet).

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cheeseslave January 2, 2009 at 10:19 AM

And yes just to clarify you can use any dried fruit for Christmas pudding!

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Ron November 29, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Where can I find a goose for christmas dinner in seattle?

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LeahS July 19, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Oh dear goodness. That all looks so good! Makes me excited for Christmas!

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Erica July 21, 2011 at 6:19 PM

The food looks delicious!

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