Christmas Eve is big potatoes to me. I’m at home in the steamy atmosphere of cooking and drinking – I find it hard to believe that there are those amongst us who believe that I cannot multi task. Drink and cook, cook and drink, drook and crink, no problem. Foie gras and oysters are an important part of Christmas for me, in fact they’re equally important throughout the year but as this is a festive missive they get bigged up more than usual. I have a particular culinary irritation, or maybe bibulous would be more correct, in that I can never find a family member who enjoys dessert wines, and as France produces quite a lot of these wonders, my irritation grows annually. Tonight we shall be eating foie gras, and I have memories of a great Sauternes jelly that I once enjoyed with this extravagant dish. There, in the wine chiller, was a bottle of Jurancon moelleux begging to spend Christmas with the family so I’ve kindly converted it, in my role as the good fairy ( which I try to keep quiet about but too late now) into a delicious jelly to accompany the foie gras.
- 10 leaves gelatine or 2½ sachets powdered gelatine
- 750 ml sweet dessert wine
- 15 mls fresh lemon juice, strained
- 55 gram(s) caster sugar
- Soak the gelatine in half of the wine and all the lemon juice for a few minutes, until it is soft.
- Add the sugar and heat gently, without allowing it to boil, stirring until the sugar and the gelatine have dissolved completely. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Stir in the remaining wine. Pour the jelly into glasses or a mould and leave it to set in a cool place. For a special touch, fragments of gold or silver leaf suspended in clear jelly create a dramatic effect. Buy the leaf in loose-leaf (not transfer) form and stir it into the jelly when it is cool and about to set – the stirring action will break it into pieces. Use 3 leaves for 500ml liquid.