Whats for Christmas dinner?

We will be in France again for Christmas and as normal my inlaws have spent months planning our two big feasts. This year we are having a Sea Food Feast on Christmas eve and on Christmas Day we are having Zebra (I wonder if its going to be strippy).

I will be bringing a Christmas cake, Mince pies, crackers and some SnowBalls (The yellow drink granny always had), so there will be a little English around.

What are you having?

Tempeh is about the best source of phytochems in existence. I have eaten it in Jakarta on the street where it is great and the locals tell me it also helps prevent malaria. Never had malaria in all the places I have been to and forgotten jabs, pills or whatever was available as a preventive but most definitely not in Jakarta. Mind you, winter in France... Now guys, that is nicer than meat, especially if eaten with a plate of noodles and an Indonesian vegetable curry.

Hi Bryan, I will ask my slave in the kitchen to pass on her recipe. She is progressing just now with the meal above while I sup aperitifs and play on SFN. Tomorrow maybe.

Shona, topinambour sounds more exciting. Truth is I was introduced to it by my better Half and had never experienced Jerusalem artichoke so only knew it as topinambour. I learned something new today :)

On compassion I agree but for practical reasons choose to be other. My biological anthropologists and the medics they do research with disagree which is where my knowledge is borrowed. But enjoy anyway, as we shall.

I have eaten namafu (seitan) in Japanese temples and temple cuisine restaurants. I suppose it is a question of taste. No accounting for taste as they say, so we agree to differ.

As for our anatomy being "entirely suited" to an omnivore diet I have read enough information to convince me otherwise - Our teeth, chewing motion, saliva, length of digestive tract, absence of necessary digestive fluids etc. However, my reason for being vegan is not for health reasons but compassion.

Hope you have a good Christmas.

Ah ok - seitan is a new one on me, despite a few years in China but Jerusalem Artichokes - new name old veg - love then but no.....they do so not love me - having said that, they are a guilty pleasure, eaten when my husband's travelling and my daughters tucked up tight - parp!

Eaten seitan in China where it is far better than the stuff I have had here and don't like. As for the Jerusalem artichokes on the Fens the letter 'f' is serious placed in an obvious place. The 'problem' is shared by vegetarians. I am an omnivore but have spent long periods without meat. Fatty meats do indeed cause sluggish diegestion but rarely leaner meats such as venison. It is by no means a 'well known fact' that is slows digestion since our anatomy is entirely suited to omnivore diets but there is such a thing as excess which does cause indigestion, etc. Not eating meat is a choice and definitely has great advantages here in the west, but not all places allow such fortune to guide choice. I have found working in heavy meat eating societies, such as in the high Andes where it is potatoes or potatoes and that's about it unless one eats meat with it and fatty as hell (ugh, but I survived...), green vegetables just do NOT exist there and a vegetraian would be brown bread in no time... Enjoy whatever, good Yule!

Seitan, as it is known in the West, or wheat gluten is also called "monks' meat" as it has been used for centuries in Buddhist temples in Japan and other East Asian countries. Unless you have tasted it in Japan, or know how to make and use it properly, I can assure you that you have not tried it as it should be. As for topinambour, it has a delicate and subtle taste, close to that of artichoke, and I have never heard of the digestive problems you mention. Of course, it is a well known fact that eating meat causes sluggish digestion so it probably explains it! In any case, being meat free is never a step too far!

Wheat gluten and Jerusalem artichoke, respectively. Seitan is used in macrobiotic ooking but it is new, kind of replacing tofu (which is soya) as a meat substitute. As far as I remember it was developed in China as a cheap substitute for meat after they extensively introduced western type wheat production for flour and bread especially. I am not that keen on it. Jerusalem artichoke, well having lived in Cambridgeshire where lots are grown on the Fens I can only express my lack of enthusiam for that root. Most people I know who eat them find their belly bloats and they noisily exude gas after a while!

I know what miso and tahini are but what are "sietan" and "topinambour"? Sound intriguing as whilst not be vegan nor vegetarian, I do love non-meat based dishes (although perhaps not at Christmas - giving up pigs in blankets would possibly be a step too far!!).

Our celebration meal starts on Christmas eve (this evening) with my French in-laws: All vegan.

Starter is shallot confit & cashew cheese tartlet on a bed of salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

Main. Home made seitan cutlets with topinambour and potato slices in a mushroom & cognac sauce. Chicory salad with miso a & tahini dressing.

Dessert. Chocolate and hazelnut tart.

Wine and drinks provided by in-laws will be another highlight.

All lovingly home made (not the wine of course) with flavours and textures to relish.

8 course lunch at the local Auberge! Can't cook a turkey on a hotplate, and as I haven't got an oven installed as yet, seemed the sensible option. Having said that, I don't think Turkey is on their menu either, but Xmas pud & brandy butter is, to the delight of my OH's palate!

Boxing day off to Bons Voisins for buffet lunch!

First year ever I've got away with not cooking since I was a child.........

Good lord, most of these sound like menus from Michelin starred restos! I have a whole turkey to myself (while fending off the dog and 2 cats) and the kid - who refuses to eat anything healthy - will probably throw a strop and eat nothing except rolls & butter with a chaser of chocolate Santas. As M&S very kindly presented me with a bottle of mulled wine after I bought the kid some new jeans and shirts, that will be my lazy afternoon on the sofa sorted. Nice scented wine to warm my frozen cockles. This is worrying me now though - when we move in next month, am I going to have to start cooking 'posh'?

For us Christmas day starts at midday with the "apero" tons of nibbles etc, champagne, wine

Dinner at about 4ish:

entrée:advocat stuffed with crab meat,prawns and a prawn cocktail sauce, served on a bed od Mesclun

plat principal:Capon stuffed with lemons and clementines for flavour, roast potatoes, roast parsnips with honey, carrots cooked in Chardonnay and cumin, brussell sprouts gently fried with shallots,cranberry jelly, cranberry and herb stuffing...might add minted peas

dessert:Heston's Christmas pud which has a whole orange inside and is Bloody gorgeous, served with custard, brandy butter and cream

Obviously loads of wine and tons of choccies afterwards!

And tomorrow night I've got to start preparing all that....think I need an early apero

We are a deux this christmas Day.

We will have our usual rich fish pie on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day starts with home made smoked salmon pate and melba toast, followed by pheasant braised in Madeira and chestnuts, cheese and Christmas Pudding.

We are with friends on Boxing Day, but I am sure we will eat well.

We will be going traditional:

Starter: smoked salmon, smoked ourselves in our breadoven or smoked pigeon breasts, again smoked in the breadoven from our own pigeons.

Main: our own turkey, own pork, usual veg and pork/chestnut stuffing

Xmas pud and mince pies all homemade (including the mincemeat using apples from our orchard)

Drinks cider, cassis and sloe gin - all homemade

Plus tons of chocs and crisps - all shop bought!!!

One day hopefully we will have our own cream and cheese but not quite there yet!

Best wishes everyone - wishing you fun and laughter at Xmas and health and happiness in 2012 :)

Sounds wonderful! Hope you enjoy it!

lol! Very clever!

Wow! That sounds wonderful!