I like to have a special meal with Jonathan and Lyndsey soon in New Year once they’re back from spending Christmas in Wales, and New Year really isn’t New Year for us without a Galette des Rois – wonderfully buttery pastry filled with frangipane. This French speciality is traditionally eaten on Twelfth Night but as we weren’t planning to get together for supper next Tuesday, last night was the night! I ordered my galette from Paul Bakery in Richmond a few days ago, having nearly got caught out last year and finding them almost sold out when I went to buy one. I picked it up yesterday morning, hot from the oven and with urgent reminders to be careful of the little ceramic lucky token contained inside – that brings luck, it’s said, for the person who finds it in their portion. The family tradition has been going for about 25 years since our au pair Stephanie brought a galette back from France, after returning to spend Christmas with her family. Now we have one every year.
I decided to make Oranges & Lemons Ice Cream to go with it simply because I’d added orange zest to the Christmas Brandy Ice Cream this Christmas and it had worked so well, I wanted to do it again. It’s not at all traditional with the galette but merely satisfied my fancy. So too, while the galette would normally make me want to cook a French meal, I went Italian. I don’t think the Italians have galettes but they do of course have wonderful ice cream!
Anyway, there were other desires to be satisfied: Jonathan and Lyndsey had bought me a lovely slate board for antipasti as part of my Christmas present from them (well, actually, this was officially from Freddie!), and a very good bottle of Italian wine – Barbera d’Asti. Thus, I went off to Corto Italian Deli early afternoon and bought some of their fabulous cold meats and some lovely pizza style bread filled with mozzarella and tomato and rolled up, which I cut into slices. With some olives and cherry tomatoes it made a perfect starter to our meal with prosecco.
The main course was a repeat performance of my Pollo Milanese from the other day. It was so good but also can be prepared really quickly, so this fitted in with Freddie’s bath and bedtime routine and cooking last minute once he was settled. This time – earlier in the day – I made a fresh tomato sauce for the spaghetti: large vine tomatoes, skinned and chopped; shallot gently softened in olive oil with finely chopped celery, garlic, tomato purée, oregano, salt and pepper.
I started to prepare the chicken a bit ahead so we were ready to go once Freddie was asleep and after we’d relaxed with our prosecco and antipasti. I pummelled the chicken breasts between cling film and put flour, egg and breadcrumbs in dishes ready for coating the chicken. As the spaghetti went into salted boiling water and the tomato sauce was gently reheated, the cooking of the chicken began (although I let Jonathan do it this time). I dressed a large green salad to go with it. The cooked spaghetti was mixed into the tomato sauce; the chicken escalopes were nicely brown. In the space of just 11 minutes cooking time we were ready to eat!
The prosecco was our regular choice of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Prosecco and excellent value; we had a half bottle – ideal for 3 when we want just a glass. The more special bottle was Barbera d’Asti (which Jonathan had bought in Majestic) and particularly wonderful. It matched the chicken perfectly and was delicious.
The galette was warmed in the oven; the ice cream removed from the freezer to soften a little. The crown was of course put on the warmed galette (see top photo)!
For the ice cream recipe see my Christmas Brandy & Vanilla Ice Cream recipe (click here) but omit the brandy and instead add the zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon to the custard mixture before whisking and adding the hot milk.
Then carry on with the recipe until you have some gorgeous lemony-orange ice cream churned!
I liked the idea partly because oranges and clementines are so Christmasy, but also because I’m always singing the old children’s nursery rhyme, ‘Oranges & Lemons’ to Freddie:
Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St Clements,
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St Martin’s
… and so on – though I never go as far as the frightening bit at the end about chopping off heads! From just the zest of the orange and lemon you get the most marvellous citrusy taste for the ice cream and we all loved it. Jonathan opened a gorgeous bottle (25cl) of Tokaji sweet Hungarian wine to have with it.
I’d bought it as part of Jonathan’s birthday present in August. We’re very practised as a family at buying special wine for each other as presents – and then sharing them together! I’m so glad I got to taste this – it was wonderful! Jonathan meanwhile got the lucky charm in his portion of the galette – again! He always gets it. And is not so appreciative of a it as Lyndsey or I would have been so I couldn’t help teasing him about it.
It was a very sweet little ceramic baker – only about 2cm long – with ‘Paul 2016’ printed on the back. I’m still hoping Jonathan didn’t waste his wish! And we did remark that maybe it wasn’t a suitable cake for Freddie just yet if the little charm might have ended up in his mouth (despite all the warnings from the lovely people at Paul).
It was a lovely evening: gorgeous food and wine; happy family company. I left my car behind, of course, having enjoyed all that wine and came home on the bus. The car could be retrieved the next morning.