I DESPAIR that Christmas, for so many, is over even before the Epiphany, and that keeping the whole season all the way through to Candlemas is so misunderstood. Perhaps even the Twelve Days is too much feasting. But we shouldn’t feel guilty and rush into New Year diets just yet. The late Queen Mother entertained graciously and was a fan of Eggs Drumkilbo. (The more economical crayfish is used here instead of lobster.)
150ml (6 fl. oz) chicken stock, warm
100ml (4 fl. oz) dry sherry
few drops of anchovy essence/Worcestershire sauce
1 dessertspoon powdered gelatine
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
250g (10 oz) crayfish meat
200g (8 oz) Marie Rose sauce
1 tablespoon crème fraîche
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
150g (6 oz) cooked, peeled prawns
1 iceberg lettuce
Mix together the stock, sherry, and anchovy essence or Worcestershire sauce in a jug, whisk in the gelatine, and cool in the fridge for at least an hour. In a large bowl, combine the chopped eggs, crayfish, sauce, crème, mayo, ketchup, and prawns. You can do this well in advance.
To assemble, shred the lettuce and divide between small dishes. Top with the seafood cocktail. Fork through the chicken jelly in the jug to break up, then dot this over the dishes. Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve with hot brown toast.
OK, I know that they were three kings, but we’re short of Marian feasts in the winter, meaning Queen of Puddings is royal enough to fit the bill. The peaks of meringue on top should represent a crown.
2 scones (stale and crumbled)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
600ml (1 pt) milk
25g (1 oz) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons raspberry or strawberry jam
150g (6 oz) caster sugar
Heat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3 and butter a large baking dish. Stir the crumbled scones and lemon zest together and sprinkle in the base of the dish. If you don’t have scones, then use white breadcrumbs with 25g (1 oz) sugar.
Heat the milk and butter to boiling point, then stir in the vanilla essence and cool to tepid. Then beat in the three egg yolks, one at a time. Pour this custard over the crumbs, allow it to soak for five minutes, then put into the oven for 30 minutes until set. Remove, and set on one side. Spoon the jam over the top and spread evenly.
Now whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl with a pinch of salt until you get firm peaks. Whisk in half the sugar to the stiff and glossy stage, then fold in the remaining sugar with a spoon. Drop the meringue from a height on to the custard, giving nice peaks and swirls, and put into the oven for a further 30 minutes until golden. Serve with lashings of whipped cream.