My Christmas in pictures…Polish, English & a bit of Vietnamese…

I love the fact that my family has, over many generations, developed and honed our individual take on the traditional Christmas. There are some traditions that we stick to religiously and some stranger traditions that have, over the years, just become the norm. However most, if not all, of them revolve around food. 

As you may surmise from my surname, I’m half Polish. Every year my family celebrates Wigilia (Polish Christmas) on Christmas Eve. I wrote about it here last year and although the menu pretty much stays the same I thought I’d share this year’s pictures with you along with some others.

We start Wigilia with a drink of Wisniowka (cherry vodka) and a toast to all family members past and present who aren’t with us…

Then we sit down to barszcz (beetroot soup) made by my Dad in accordance with his secret recipe using beetroot from our garden…

and uszka (mushroom filled Polish ravioli) made by my fair hands…

I blogged the recipe for these little beauts last year here and even managed to get them a mention on the BBC News website.

I prepare the uszka in advance but boil them up briefly on the night to reheat them and then serve them floating in the jewel coloured barszcz…

The next course is a selection of cold dishes including pickled herrings…

along with Polish bread, gherkins and pickled mushrooms…

Then we have fish loaf, made with cod, coated in breadcrumbs and baked until golden in the oven…

We eat this with roast potatoes, vegetable salad and homemade mushroom and tomato sauces…

For dessert we have kompot, a dried fruit salad soaked in earl grey tea and orange juice…

and finally a selection of Polish cakes…

Breakfast on Christmas day in our household ay sound slightly off the wall but for some reason, has always been half a grapefruit… 

Followed by sausages, fresh, soft, white bread and lashings of gravy…

For lunch our main course is always a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings but it’s my job every year to decide on and prepare the starter, which this year was far from traditional.

I decided to use some of the skills that I’d learnt from Uyen of Leluu Supper Club when I helped her out earlier in the year. I chose to make Sai Gon Summer Rolls and despite some teething problems I think I did pretty well…

You can find Uyen’s recipe here.

The process of making these delicate, fragrant rolls starts by poaching pork belly, which is then cut up finely to go inside the rolls…

along with rice vermicelli, mint, coriander, lettuce and king prawns…

(I had to use more basic ingredients as I wasn’t able to find cockscombe mint, Vietnamese chives or Perilla but they still tasted divine)

Rice paper circles are soaked until pliable and then used to gently wrap up the filling ingredients like so…

They are accompanied by a delicious hoi sin based dipping sauce…

They were a huge hit with my family and the the perfect intro to our Christmas dinner. The food fest that is Christmas was incessant, many delicious morsels were consumed, belts loosened and dishwasher’s filled in a constant cycle…I love this time of year!

I received some exciting presents including…

and…

and I’ve already started trying out new recipes, which will no doubt be blogged very soon…watch this space!

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