Well, technically it’s not. Mercifully, given my usual state of utter disorganisation, it isn’t for another two weeks. But today was our annual ritual of having the grandparents over for lunch and putting up the tree. Christmas songs blaring out and dog kitted out in Santa outfit, we spent all afternoon festooning the tree in our motley assortment of decorations accumulated over the years. I think the elder daughter was hoping for a more stylish, minimalist approach but as soon as we started to unwrap the baubles the memories overrode the style imperative.
Decorations made when the girls were tiny; gifts given in Christmas’ past and little glittery bits of tat bought after much childish pester power….it all went on. But before we decorated, we needed to eat and, given that we are about to head into this most hedonistic of eating festivals, I was keen to keep it light.
Our youngest happened to be around when I was thinking of what to cook, so I sought her counsel as she has inherited our love of all things delicious. Her only request was for lots of tarragon, and I could almost see her pescatarian resolve waver as she thought longingly of the pot roast chicken which she so loved in her meat eating days and is a fantastic, healthy way to enjoy roast chicken: the recipe will soon be found on the site.
The key flavour components are fruit, crème fraiche and tarragon, so I had a bit of a google for fish and tarragon recipes and good old Nigel Slater came up with the goods with his Lemon Tarragon Cod dish. I reduced the amount of butter and used a reduced fat crème fraiche, but no one seemed to worry and it was utterly gorgeous. Served with some lovely new potatoes (and a little bit of naughty mash to soak up the sauce) and loads of vegetables we were all full of energy to sing, dance and decorate the afternoon away. And this is what we created: Christmas has arrived.
- 350 grammes cod fillet use the chunky end
- 2 lemons juiced
- 30 grammes Butter
- 1 small bunch tarragon chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 black peppercorns
- 1 tsp capers
- 3 tbsp creme fraiche reduced fat
- Place the lemon juice, butter, bay leaf, peppercorns and half the tarragon in a large shallow pan with the cod.
- Bring the liquid to boiling, cover and simmer for around 10 minutes.
- Keep an eye on the fish and as soon as it is opaque and the flakes separate easily, remove it with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
- Remove the bay and peppercorns, bring the liquid back to the boil and add the capers, tarragon and creme fraiche.
- Once the sauce has combined, pour some back onto the fish and serve the rest in a jug for those who want more.