Passito poached spiced pears with vanilla panna cotta and crumble, Christmas 2014, Chez Xie

Christmas lunch 2014, Chez Xie

With the new year under way, I thought I would just take a little time to reflect on 2014 and one of the last meals of the year.

For the most part, I’ve been out of the country. I think, if you count the days, I’ve been away more than I’ve been home.

January kicked off with a wine trip to Bergerac in the south west of France, February involved more wine but this time to Tuscany for the anteprima. Summer effectively began in March as I headed to sizzling Egypt for a Nile cruise while April was more chilled as I worked Tranche 2 of International Wine Challenge. From May, I was beginning to run wild; first to Stockholm for the European leg of Bocuse d’Or and then to German Lake Constance for a camper van tour of its wine regions. June was pumped with wine as I visited the Douro Valley in Portugal, Loire Valley in France and Bordeaux. Flying back to Bordeaux again in July, I headed further up the country lanes to Cognac. I also completed my last trip for Yahoo which was to the very Spanish city of Valencia. August began my two and half month adventure in China and when I returned in November, it was straight on to Chile and Argentina for yet more wine. And December, well, I think I’ve been recalibrating my body clock.

With a wine heavy year and, quite frankly, dizzying array of culinary direction, I found it hard to get inspired for our annual Christmas lunch. In my mind I wanted something classic, not too conceptually challenging but still indulgent, delicious and interesting.

And so it brings me to this.

Menu for Christmas lunch, 2014, Chez Xie with selected wines to match:

Olive muffin with whipped sardine butter and red wine salt

Smoked salmon, new potatoes, soured cream and dill

Champagne Henri Abelé Brut NV

Poussin à la moutard, cheesy red onion tart and braised pak choi

Tikves Barovo 2013, Macedonia

Gorgonzola and truffle honey

Cavit Arèle Vin Santo 2000, Trentino, Italy

Passito poached spiced pears with vanilla panna cotta and crumble

Italo Pietrantonj Passito Rosso 2009, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy

Chocolate shards


Qin Xie

Qin Xie is a London based food, wine and travel journalist and trained chef.

When not infiltrating Michelin restaurants as a kitchen tourist, she writes about food, drink and travel. Her work has appeared on Yahoo, FT, The Times and CNN.

Her first cookbook, co-authored with YS Peng at Hunan Restaurant, is out March 2014.

According to friends, her watch is always set to UTC -- ready for the next big adventure. In reality, she is happiest at the dinner table or by the sea.

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