03 November 2018

Weekend Cooking: Home Made Christmas by Yvette Van Boven

My favorite cookbook for October came as little bit of surprise for me. When I saw the cover of Yvette Van Boven's Home Made Christmas (thanks to the Abrams Dinner Party!) I was expecting to be wowed with holiday goodies. I was.

The surprise, however, was that this cookbook is so much more than a guide to celebrating the holidays. Many of the recipes are perfect for everyday eating, for casual get togethers with friends, and for quiet evenings by the fire.

I'm not going to write a formal review of Van Boven's Home Made Christmas, instead I want to talk about what's inside the covers and why you want to add this book to your wish list.

As I've already said, what I like best about this cookbook is the mix of family dishes, like oatmeal pancakes and ginger-infused hot chocolate, with fancy company dishes, like a salmon and leek terrine and stuffed pheasants with brandy sauce. I hate spending money on a cookbook I'll use for only two weeks out of the year, so I truly appreciate that, despite the title, I'll be able to cook from Home Made Christmas from October all through the winter.

Another great thing about Van Boven's book is the number of vegetarian options, and in fact, included in her suggested menus are two geared for those who don't eat meat. Roasted vegetables, mushroom tartlets, and curried soup are some of the tasty dishes you'll set out for those meals.

So what have I made? The squash, feta, & sage pull-apart bread (the photo is mine), the super pretty carrot tatin with goat cheese (the photo is mine), the mustard gratin with potatoes and parsnips, stuffed baked apples, and the salad recipe below (scan from the book). I made all these dishes for just the two of us and, we loved each one. Here are some recipes I have marked to try: peppermint candies, Brussels sprouts with bacon and cream, Russian potato salad, beet soup with port, cranberry margaritas, Dutch savory French toast.

You'll find artful photographs of each finished dish plus beauty shots of the great outdoors and pretty interiors. As I mentioned, Van Boven provides a number of suggested menus and includes tips for stress-free entertaining.

I recommend Yvette Van Boven's Home Made Christmas to pretty much everyone. I'm sure you'll find some great holiday ideas, new dishes to serve your family, and inspiration to cook from scratch (and thus control your ingredients). A lot of the cooks at the Abrams Dinner Party have found good success with everything they've tried, from oysters to a beautiful vegetable spiral tart to a British Bake Off-worthy pastry stuffed with curried veggies.

I made the following salad as a side dish for dinner one night and then it served as our lunch the next day. This was delicious and so perfect for fall. I plan to make this one all winter. I used dark balsamic vinegar (sue me!) and didn't chop the craisins. Though I did use black sesame seeds.

Van Boven suggests you make the salad about an hour before serving so the flavors meld, but we ate it pretty much right away. This would make a fabulous buffet dish and would be easy to transport if you're asked to bring a side dish to a holiday pot luck.

Apple Walnut, Cranberry & Brown Rice Salad
Serves 4

For the Dressing

  • 2 small cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Salad
  • A few drops of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 apples (Cortland or Braeburn), not peeled, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups (200 g) brown rice, cooked, at room temperature
  • Heaping 1/2 cup (75 g) dried cranberries (or raisins), coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch chives finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) toasted black sesame seeds
Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Drizzle lemon juice over the apples to prevent discoloration. Combine the rice, cranberries, chives, and apples. Pour the dressing over and toss well. Let the salad sit to absorb the flavors. Add the walnuts and sesame seeds at the last moment, folding them through the salad. Serve immediately.
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

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I'm also sharing this with the Souper Sunday link up over at Deb's Kahakai Kitchen, where you'll find great recipes for soups and salads!


Marg 11/3/18, 6:35 AM  

A baking group I am does suggested recipes every 2 weeks. This week they put a comment along the lines of it's only 8 weeks until Christmas so time to start practicing your foodie Christmas gifts!

rhapsodyinbooks 11/3/18, 6:46 AM  

These all sound good. I'm very impressed with the picture of your bread!

Mae Travels 11/3/18, 7:28 AM  

All the recipes you mention sound really imaginative. Cookbook writing is a crowded field, so it's amazing to have one that stands out like this.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

bermudaonion 11/3/18, 8:30 AM  

That bread looks and sounds wonderful. I'd have to try the Brussels sprouts and rice too - we love both of those. I'm adding this to my wish list.

Tina 11/3/18, 8:35 AM  

Not only will I look for this for me, I think I will make a gift of it to a few cooking family members. Those recipes sound good, love your salad.

Jenny Colvin 11/3/18, 10:12 AM  

The rice might be nice for Thanksgiving, I'm thinking. Great job on your experiments!

Jackie McGuinness 11/3/18, 10:21 AM  

You really made a lot already! I bought a cookbook this week but so far just marked some of the recipes to try.

Deb in Hawaii 11/3/18, 11:41 AM  

That brown rice salad looks and sounds amazing as does everything you made. This looks like a good one and a cookbook I probably would not have investigated because of its Christmas title, (like you I don't like cookbooks that just focus on one holiday) so thank you for sharing the book's versatility.

Deb in Hawaii 11/3/18, 12:25 PM  

And mahalo for sharing your salad with Souper Sundays this week. ;-)

Nan 11/3/18, 1:21 PM  

I am so impressed with all you do. Your job, your cooking, your keeping of this blog. Wonder woman, methinks!!

Lindsey 11/7/18, 9:06 PM  

This sounds like a great cookbook. I borrowed one from my library last week, but I think I'm just going to take it back because everything was a very fancy, high-maintenance recipe. It's so helpful to have a mix of easy/complicated and everyday/special occasion!

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