Christmas Dinner in Brno

Merry Christmas! Ho-ho-ho! Our last-night Christmas dinner was amazing! Nice moments with friends and of course good food. I must tell that again (like last year) the preparations for this Christmas were tiresome. Even if I was choosing the recipes well in advance, the actual preparation of the food took very long time. So, let’s see the menu :

This year my Christmas dinner had the Winter Wonderland blue theme, so I had a lot of blue garlands and a blue cake. I even made a very nice eye-catchy invitation :

Around 4 p.m. the friends that I invited started to come to our house in Brno. At that moment we were not yet finished with the preparations. So, my boyfriend was baking bread, which came out later tremendously good. But, we catched up and served the appetizers : meatballs, eggplant salad made with homemade mayonnaise, olives stuffed with tuna, eggs stuffed with homemade paté.

We had also small Tequila shots to warm up (not very traditionally though), but later we tried specific romanian “tequila” – țuică (and this is very traditionally).

Next, I served my first french onion-garlic soup, for the preparation of which I spent almost 2 hours. I was not expecting to be so good and what to say more if everyone agreed that it came out perfectly.

– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 3 large onions, very thinly sliced
– 3 big garlic cloves, thinly sliced
– 1 teaspoon sugar
– 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
– 3 cups homemade Beef Stock
– 1 cup water
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– 2 eggs lightly beaten
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– croutons or toasted bread
– grated cheese

How to make the onion-garlic soup :

Before trying this soup, remember that you need some time to make it. First, melt butter in a large heavy pot on medium-low heat. Add onions and garlic thinly sliced. Spread them out in as thin a layer as possible. Sprinkle then with sugar, and cook, stirring just as needed to keep onions from sticking, until they are melting and soft, golden brown, and beginning to caramelize, about 1 hour. During this time you must watch from time to time the onions to prevent them to cook too much. You don’t want burned onions for your soup, for sure.

When you are sure that the onions were melt perfectly in the butter (it can be earlier then 1 hour, depends on how you cut them), sprinkle flour over them, and stir to coat. Now is the moment when you can add the beef stock, and thyme, and bring to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for about 30 minutes (this is actually very important, to allow flavors to combined under the steam). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, lightly beat 2 eggs and add them to your soup. Allow 5-10 more minutes to cook and stir from time to time to be sure that the eggs are distributed equally in the soup. I served it very hot with grated emmental cheese and croutons.

What you should know about the onion-garlic soup is that is very simple to make if you are carefully following the recipe. It has just butter in composition, so if you want to have it more light, use less butter or a a butter with less fat. Anyway, the fat will float in the soup.  I’m obsessed with oil, I don’t like it, but for the sake of good food, I will eat this nice french soup anytime in winter time.

After this hot soup we took a deep breath and a long break from eating. We drank some cold Bohemia champagne and we opened the presents.

After a lots and lots of photos with presents, photos to pets, group photos and so on, we were starving so the men started to prepare the pork steak on the grill.

Meantime the bread was baked already, so I pull out from the oven these gorgeous babes :

Actually the bread was supposed to be french baguette, in as far as we didn’t had time to mash the dough, the baguettes came out really big and “fat”.

To make the long story short, the steak was great, the stuffed pickled cabbage rolls were even greater, so now let’s leave some room for dessert. We had french chocolat éclairs and gâteau au chocolat fourré à la crème mascarpone framboisée ( chocolate cake with forest fruits and mascarpone cream).

The cake was blue of course and it was full of raspberries, strawberries, cherries, cranberries, blueberries. This is my favorite cake. So, what you’ll need for this chocolate cake :
– 100 gr baking dark unsweetened
– 100 semi-sweet chocolate
– 100 gr unsalted butter
– 2 teaspoons of espresso
– 3 eggs
– 6 tablespoon of crystal sugar
– 100 gr flour
– half teaspoon of salt
– half teaspoon of baking powder

How to make the chocolate cake :

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the dark unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate with unsalted butter on a water bath. When everything is melt, add 2 teaspoons of espresso (optional) and set aside.
Blend 3 eggs with the granulated sugar and when everything is mixed poor in the melted chocolate over and stir slowly until is smooth. Then add gradually the flour mixed with salt and baking powder and stir until you’ll obtain a smooth  creme. Put the composition into the pan and add forest fruits. Bake the dough for 20-25 minutes.

After the cake was baked I spread it with chocolate glaze and added more forest fruits. I prepared the chocolate glaze with 50 gr chocolate chips, 100 gr water and  tablespoons of powder sugar. I boiled it on medium-high heat until the chocolate was thick, then I added 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and use it directly on the cake.

For the mascarpone cream I used 250 ml mascarpone cheese and 200 ml sour-cream with 3 tablespoons of powder sugar. I placed all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whipped with an electric mixer set on medium-high speed until soft, fluffy peaks formed – 1 to 2 minutes. I added the cream over the chocolate cake. I put some color and decorate it with raspberries. It was amazingly tasteful.

To be continued…