Meal Planning Monday - My Christmas week menu


Bouillabaisse, Rouille and garlic and thyme bread

Long time no meal planning. Actually that's not true. I have been meal planning for a long time for this special week. My parents are spending the Christmas with us this year, so weeks ago already I started to jot down ideas and particularly successful recipes that I thought my parents would enjoy. But it's really only in the last couple of days that my plan has really come together.

I have detailed plans for each main meal including desserts which I'm not that great at, and then some ideas around breakfasts and evening snacks. I'm pretty happy with my excel sheet. There is no major event in my life that doesn't include an excel spreadsheet. For my our wedding there was a monster of an excel workbook with probably 15 sheets or more detailing every single thing that was to happen on the day apart from the bit where my friend gets up to lead a bit of a surprise drinking song sing-along with a song about a Russian General Nikolai Bobrikov who had become a very hated man in Finland towards the tightening Russian oppression in the late 19th and early 20th century. He was eventually murdered by a Finnish government official, a nobleman and pro-independence activist Eugen Schauman, who subsequently became a national hero in Finland. The song goes:

The Russki is dead
his coffin is red
who the fuck knows if he's really dead.

Go to hell. Yes!
Go to hell,
Now the Russki goes to Hell.

Eloquent, no?

Excel or no excel, I know things will move around a little and some meals might be skipped completely if we are out and about. Having this plan in place has allowed me to prep things that can be done in advance and also helped in making sure everything was covered in the shopping list.

My menu is a combination of some British food, some of my trusted best recipes and some traditional Finnish Christmas foods, so that it really feels like Christmas.

Menu plan for the Christmas week


We picked mum and dad up from the airport quite late last night, so I had planned a light supper. I popped open a bottle of sparkling wine and we toasted Christmas with my awesome Bouillabaisse, rouille and warm buttery thyme and garlic bread. Apparently the best fish soup that my parents have ever eaten. Better than my sister's Bouillabaisse then?

I had planned a dessert of cherry bundt cake, spiced Finnish Christmas biscuits and tea, but everyone was too full, so the cherry cake will wait for a better day. Dad and husband managed a biscuit each husband complaining that they looked like penises. It's a candle quit clearly.

Spiced Finnish Christmas biscuits
Traditional Finnish spiced penis biscuits


I have planned a lunch of Marcus Wareing's recipe from this year's MasterChef of steamed plaice with white wine and mushroom sauce, but I suspect we will have lunch out and the plaice will go in the freezer for later.

Husband's kids are coming so we'll have a big dinner: Persian spiced lamb shanks, saffron rice, roast potatoes, mast-o khiar, Shirazi salad and flatbread.

For dessert it might be the cherry cake with some fresh berries and cream. Or there is also a spiced banana cake and custard.


Wednesday lunchtime we'll be out and about and will probably stop in a pub for lunch. Dinner will be my Greek inspired lemony chicken with orzo, rice, thyme, oregano and kefalotiri cheese served with a Santorini salad.

Dessert is a tropical fruit salad with coconut cream.

Thursday - Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is the big day in the Finnish Christmas. Traditionally we eat an early light lunch of warm rice pudding and plum soup, a savoury snack of some sort - I have feta and spinach filo triangles, and then we finish it off with Finnish Christmas pastries with plum preserve and glögi (glögg), I will make mine from cranberry juice and might slip in a sneaky dash of vodka.

For dinner I will put together a big feast with lots of fish, meats, salads and oven baked vegetable dishes. I have a gravadlax according to my Dad's recipe in the freezer, ready to be taken out 24 hours before for perfect curing, I have game pate, smoked reindeer and an orange and honey roast ham, I will make a smoked salmon mousse, there's pickled herring, smoked salmon and sour cream and roe. I will make a beetroot and stilton salad and a traditional Finnish mushroom salad. There will be a cheese platter, traditional Finnish potato and swede bakes and a massive smoked leg of lamb that my parents brought from Finland. I think we need to invite the neighbours to help.

Oh and dessert will be cranberry soup with cream.

Friday - Christmas Day

Christmas lunch will be much the same as Christmas Eve dinner, partly because most of the food from the previous day will still be there uneaten. I will also do a reindeer topside roast with red wine sauce. Plum is a traditional Finnish Christmas fruit, so pudding will be a mixture of cream and quark and plum preserve.

If we manage anything in the evening it will probably be a savoury tart and salad.


Boxing day will see a bit of a departure from the Christmas foods. I will probably collate some cold meats and fish dishes for starters, but the main will be my Provencal duck legs with puy lentils and provencal salad with Creme brule for dessert.

Evening meal will be a light chicken Caesar salad with bruschetta and lemon syllabub.


Mum and Dad will be flying out Sunday evening, but we will have enough time for a proper lovely lunch. I might do the steamed plaice if we don't get to eat it on Tuesday, or slightly smoked salmon fillets baked and served with a fresh sour cream and dill sauce.

Bouillabaisse, Rouille and garlic and thyme bread

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