Unfortunately, not my prettiest. Thankfully, the Chou Farci used from the same cabbage did not share the same flavour. However, because I had parboiled the lettuce for the terrine beforehand to allow for easy separation of leaves, my Chou Farci didn’t come out as vibrantly green as it could’ve nor as sweet as it could’ve been. Despite that and the substitutions for cheaper ingredients (foie gras and morel mushrooms seriously. However, if you live in Sydney, they are both conveniently available at The Essential Ingredient in Rozelle! Just.. don’t look at the price beforehand ). the chicken breast I used was definitely waaaayyyy too big. But in spite of all these setbacks, this came out quite delicious!Even had my dad’s approval, something that I’ve only been designated to have perhaps a dozen times in my lifetime. It was my first time making a mousse that wasn’t the blissful combination of chocolate and cream and it surprised me how good it tasted. Just ignore the cream, butter and pate used and you could pretend that it’s healthy! Ahaha. A French dish with humble beginnings, transformed. Hey, Shinomiya has no right coming after me with a pitchfork for ingredient substitutions, he of all should understand!
Shinomiya Kojirou’s Chou Farci Recipe
1 small chicken breast, cabbage, 200g chicken breast cut into small pieces, 1 egg, Foie Gras ( Or 2 tblsp chicken pate), 2 tblsp butter, asparagus spears, Morel mushrooms (or shitake mushrooms), 100ml cream seasoned with liberal amounts of salt and pepper, 2 slices of prosciutto (or bacon)
For the sauce I reduced a duck broth made from the bones of a Perking duck which I’m not imploring you accomplish. Perhaps a tomato based sauce for acidity?
To make the chicken mousse, blend chicken pieces, 1 tblsp butter, 100 ml cream, 1 tblsp chicken pate, 1 egg, salt and pepper until smooth. Remove into bowl and refrigerate until set.
Saute asparagus, morel mushrooms (shiitake) and foie gras with 1 tblsp butter. Set aside.
Blanch 2 cabbage leaves
Butterfly chicken breast in half
Spread with chicken mousse. Arrange asparagus, morel mushrooms and foie gras. Cover with another layer of chicken mousse.
Remove spine from cabbage to allow for easy rolling.Pat dry with paper towels to best of ability.
Place chicken breast atop, season generously and roll in two leaves.
Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for half an hour.
Wrap two slices of prosciutto around its centre place in steamer and cook according to thickness. I’m presuming about 30-45 minutes.
Fold a piece of paper and freshly grind pepper to sprinkle in a straight line.
Plot: It was your first Christmas with your boyfriend, Thomas, in your new home.
Characters: Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Lilly Ann Lovegood
Word Count: 3,363
“Thomas, its Christmas eve can’t we just stay home?” I moan as Thomas pushes me to get ready. He picked out the dress he begged me to wear, admittedly out my own wardrobe so that wasn’t a complete disaster. He was ready to go and was standing at the door shouting up to me to hurry up. I put in my last earring, just a stud – I’ve always thought dangling ones felt too heavy on my small ears – and hurried downstairs only to be met with a very handsome looking Thomas.
“You clean up nicely,” I teased, grinning like a Cheshire cat. He took a quick bow and linked his arm with mine, romantically hurrying me out the door to the car.
“Not too bad yourself,” he teased back and got into the driver’s side on the car. “It’s a definite change from jogging bottoms and messy buns stuffing your face with pizza,” he laughed and so did I.
“Hey, you ticked the terms and conditions when you asked me to move in with you.”
“Unfortunately I didn’t read them,” I let out a small gasp and slapped Thomas’ arm. He yelped and stroked his arm with the other hand pretending as though it actually hurt.
“Both hands on wheel,” I pointed out and he immediately returned back to his previous position. I giggled and made a whipping noise with my mouth. He turned his head and stuck his tongue out at me. We drove in a comfortable silence for about 10 minutes until what he said clicked. “Wait,” I blurted out, Thomas quickly glanced at me. “You’re telling me that if you read my terms and conditions you wouldn’t have asked me to move in?” the defensive tone in my voice was becoming more evident even though I knew it was a joke.
“Of course not,” he voice softened and took one hand off the steering wheel to connect it with mine, telling that I got offended by his earlier comment. “I was joking, I wouldn’t change you for the world,” I looked at him and his smiled melted my heart even though he was looking at the road instead of me. He stroked my hand with his thumb then held back onto the steering wheel once again. “Anyway, if you didn’t eat like a pig, who would order two 16” pizzas to share between two people?”
“No one,” I answered simply, smiling at him like a dork. He smiled back, showing off his pearly whites. “So, Thomas, where are we actually going?”
“Now that, my dear, is a secret.”
It was only around ten minutes later that we pulled up into some fancy looking restaurant. I’d never heard of it before, despite it being only twenty-five minutes down the road. Thomas grinned at me again and stepped out the car; he then came round to the passenger side and opened the door for me, gesturing for me to step out. I did so, taking his hand in the process, and he led me into the restaurant.
It was a small restaurant with a homely feel, as soon as we stepped in we were met by a young, peppy waitress that led us to two single sofas to sit down and offered us a drink. I ordered a coke, whilst Thomas had lager, only one for the night as he was driving. The waitress came back, handing us our drinks and two menus and a wine list. After thanking her she left us alone. Thomas linked his hand with mine and smiled simply at me.
There were various picture frames dotted around the place; they were taken when the restaurant was first built, according to the pictures it used to be a cafe. There were various Christmas decorations around too; Santa Clause coasters and dancing snowmen were the first things that came to eye.
“Look how big that tree is,” Thomas said, pointing towards the bar area and the Christmas tree that stood before it. We couldn’t see the top as the wall came down blocking our view. Mine and Thomas’ tree wasn’t that good, but it was good enough for the Christmas spirit. The baubles we could see were red, matching the tartan carpet and the tartan apron the waitress was wearing. I remember having the same job when I was her age – she couldn’t have been much older than sixteen.
“How’d you find this place?” I asked Thomas after the waitress had come and taken our order. I ordered a melon for start and Thomas had chicken liver pate, then for mains we both had Turkey, I was looking forward to that, I’m starving!
“We came here when I was a kid, only a couple of times but I remember it being one of the best places I’ve ever eaten at,” I could only hope that times hadn’t changed, because with Thomas promising to cook Christmas dinner tomorrow, this might be the only nice piece of Turkey I get this year. He’d cooked a few times since we’ve moved in but usually I do it, but he insisted so I obliged.
A few moments later the waitress came back telling us our table was ready and offering to carry our drinks, we both refused to give the poor girl a break and carried them ourselves. We walked past another couple that came in after us sat down in a double sofa, then into the bar where the Christmas tree came into full view. The bar lady said hello and offered to take our coats, we both agreed, putting our drinks down onto a small, round glass table on top of a coaster. Thomas helped with my coat, then handed them both over to the lady who hung them up for us. We picked up our drinks and went through into the dining room, already in there was a table of about seven; I really hoped they wouldn’t be noisy.
We sat down opposite each other at a table next to a lit fire; it was nice and warm, cosy even. Thomas reached over the table to grab my hand once again, I didn’t pull away, his touch gave me a nice warm feel and I never wanted him to let go. The waitress came over again, a different one this time but still around the same age, and put down both mine and Thomas’ starter in front of us. I ordered another drink, a lime and lemonade this time, Thomas had the same. She walked off and we began our meal, the waitress later coming back with the drinks. She was about to walk off when she paused and looked back at us.
“You’re Thomas Sangster, right?” Her voice had the edge of a childish tone. There was always one person who recognised the famous Thomas Brodie-Sangster. Thomas put down his fork on his plate and answered simply, “the one and only,” which made me giggle a little. The girl looked as though she was going to scream, though I couldn’t blame her, I do have my own personal celebrity crushes.
“It was nice to meet you,” she managed to maintain her dignity, “and enjoy your meal,” she smiled and waved a little at Thomas before escorting herself out the small dining room. Thomas and I burst into giggles once she had left.
“That was cute,” I spoke, remembering the days I used to be the same. To be honest, if I met my celebrity crush I would not be able to play it as cool as her.
“I love meeting fans, just didn’t expect to meet one here,” he had a point, in a restaurant as small as this one, which by the looks of things only attracts to older people, it wasn’t the first place to expect a fan of Thomas.
We finished our starters and the waitress cleared the table, bringing out the mains no more than five minutes later. Just before they arrived Thomas got up to go to the toilet, and returned just before the mains were brought out. We were in the middle of eating when Thomas stopped and put his fork on the plate. I looked up at him, blue eyes meeting brown and smiled. His face mirrored mine.
“I know we said that we weren’t doing a Christmas eve present, but this one is sort of special,” I rolled my eyes, remembering that Thomas and I said we’d wait until Christmas day to open any presents. He pulled something out of his pocket, though I never got a glance of what it was. “I was going to wait until tomorrow but thought that was a little cheesy. So,” Thomas stood out his seat, moving around the table closer to me. He grabbed my hand, a small velvet box in the other and got down on one knee. I brought my free hand up to my mouth, pure shock. Someone from the other table of seven had noticed Thomas’s gesture, so the whole table silenced in order to watch, almost as if we were some kind of television show. The same happened with the table of two that had just walked in, even the waitress who brought them in stopped to watch. Though I was unaware of the people around me, eyes only focused on Thomas.
Thomas, how beautiful he really was. He brown eyes shone like a thousand stars, glistening against the fire light. His lips were on odd pink colour, the kind you really only see with lipstick on, though it suited him all the same. His hair had been neatly styled, a change from his usual bed head mess, though he can literally run his hand through his dark blond locks and it looks like a stylist had spent hours on it.
“Lilly Ann Lovegood, will you do the honour of taking my hand in marriage?” It was almost as if the whole world had stopped and stared at them. In that moment nothing mattered but us two. It was like the world wouldn’t go on if I didn’t say yes. But of course I’m going to say yes. My heart pounded fast, my breathing sped up and I barely found the word.
“Yes,” I breathed. “Yes, of course I would, Thomas,” I jumped out of my chair to hug him, and he rose from his kneel with me in his arms. I pulled away giving him a sloppy kiss, I heard a slight clapping in the background but ignored it. It was just Thomas and I. Me and Thomas. That was all that mattered now. He slid the diamond ring onto my left ring finger and hugged me again, whispering “I love you,” into my ear and I whispered it back. He pulled away first, wiping my eyes where the tears of happiness had fell, and fixed my make up for me.
“I don’t even know why you wear that stuff, Lil, you don’t need it,” I just smiled even more, and laughed off his compliment. The one thing boys will never understand is why girls where make up, so I tend just to shake it off whenever he brings it up. We both sat back down, eating our dinner, every now and again looking up at each other and smiling like dorks.
Thomas brought down a load of blankets from upstairs, two pillows and piled them on the sofa whilst I made us a hot chocolate. We decided that once we got home, a newly engaged couple would do nothing but watch films until we fall asleep. Once we was all cosy, the fire lit and hot chocolates made and comfy in our make-shift bed we starting debating about a film. Usually Thomas and I have a very similar taste; still it takes us at least an hour for us to pick what we want.
We were searching through the films on Catch Up TV when a film popped into my bed. “Love Actually,” I blurted out, hoping Thomas would agree. Thomas shifted uncomfortably and let out a moan.
“You want to watch 12-year-old me in Love Actually,” I nodded and looked up at him.
“Pleaseeeeee,” I begged. “I love that film and we haven’t watched any Christmas films yet!” I pushed.
“Fine, we’ll watch that,” he moaned and so we did. I cuddled up to him more as he put on the film. We sat on watched it, then when finished put on The Polar Express – my favourite Christmas film. We watched films until we fell asleep just like we promised.
It was Thomas that shook me awake the next morning, buzzing around saying “It’s Christmas!” The little boy in him was coming out once again. I laughed at his enthusiasm; I was going to happily marry that. By the time I had stood up, Thomas was already at the Christmas tree, – a Santa hat perched on top of his messy blond hair - with Christmas songs playing from the TV, picking out presents that were addressed to the both of us.
He organised them into messy piles, those for him, those for me and those for the both of us whilst I made us a cup of tea. We finally settled down and began to present opening, promising to open the ones from each other last.
Four packs of chocolate each, three lots of pyjamas off Mum, a mug from my cousin, a t shirt saying “Worlds okayest Sister” from my brother, Jack, a couple pairs of shoes and a bracelet later, we were ready to open each others. Neatly wrapped in silver and gold wrapping paper were Thomas’ from me, and red wrapping paper with Santa Clause on messily wrapped up were mine from Thomas. We delved into the excitement of each other’s present. I personally had no idea what he was planning and I was sort of hoping the same. I hadn’t brought him much as I don’t have that much money, but he always told me it’s the thought that counts.
I picked up the smallest present first because the small ones are usually the best. Thomas did the same, picking up one so thin it looked like I’d wrapped up paper in a small rectangle shape. We both unwrapped the present. My jaw dropped when I saw the necklace behind the wrapping, it was diamond – matching the engagement ring – in the shape of a kite. I was about to clip in on around my neck, but Thomas put down his present to grab it for me, moving my hair to the side and clipping it on at the back. I turned to face him, giving him a quick peck on the lips then returned back to opening my presents.
Thomas unwrapped his and found two tickets to go see Peter Pan live at the O2 academy in London. It was his favourite story of all time, the original and the Disney version and I could see the delight on his face when he saw what the tickets were for.
“I always said you were like Peter Pan, you don’t age,” which is true, Thomas still looks like he had when he was around sixteen, just a little bit taller.
“I do age, I just don’t look like I do,” he laughed and leaned over pulling me into a hug. “Thank you,” he whispered seductively in my ear before pulling away. “Now, the question is who would want to go see Peter Pan with me?” He teased, or at least I hoped he was teasing, it was also one of my favourite Pantomimes.
“Hmm, I have no idea,” I teased back. “Ooh, I know a great girl you’ll love her. She’s got brown hair, brown eyes around 5”6’, a fun, bubbly personality, a great boyfriend and Peter Pan is her favourite fiction story,” I described, the look of Thomas’ face was slight amusement.
“Sounds great, what’s her name?” He really was playing the game.
“Lilly Ann Lovegood, soon to be Sangster,” I laughed, wriggling my fingers in his face. He laughed too, grabbed my hand and kissed it.
“I’d love to take you.”
“I hope so because I really brought them for me, hoping you’d just tag along,” I joked and Thomas pushed me slightly and burst out laughing. I watched him, taking in him and all his beautiful. I always thought no one ever looked more beautiful than when they were laughing, the gesture itself had a sort of exotic feel to it and it was purely beautiful.
I carried on opening the presents from Thomas, and so did he. I got him little things like an aftershave that he likes and he got me perfume that I like, quite an expensive one too. I opened up a picture frame with a picture of me and him in it, laughing and walking. I remember it being taken; Thomas’ friend took it when we went to a theme park once. Not long after we first started dating, his friend likes to photograph people and said that “you can see the spark between you too even in a photograph,” which was quoted around the frame of the present. I wrapped arms around it and hugged it, treasuring it because it was beautiful and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It was the sentimental things that I found I loved the most.
“You like it?” Thomas asked, noticing I’d stopped opening presents with only one left, Thomas had one left too. I nodded, a tear threatening to escape my eye – a happy tear of course. “I thought you might. I remember that photograph being taken like it was yesterday, and it was freezing that day I can tell you,” I laughed at Thomas’ talent to take away the sentimental value, but still I loved him all the same. I put the frame down beside me and leaped into Thomas’ arms, it took him by surprise but he quickly recovered, wrapping his arms around me. In that moment, I had never felt more safe and happy, and I only had to be in his arms.
I pulled away and without saying anything picked up the last present to open. Thomas did the same. His was a box that had to go under the tree first because it was so big. I could see the confusion on his face; he always tried to guess what it was before he opened them. After a long hard look at the wrapped up box, Thomas gave up and began to unwrap the present. I followed suit with mine.
What I unwrapped amazed me. It was a canvas, nothing too big and blank. I looked at Thomas with amazement. “Now you can put your drawings on a bigger scale,” was all he said and continued to unwrap his. I’ve always wanted to draw on a canvas and maybe get a published piece, but I’ve never had the support to actually go out and do it. Now, Thomas has not only given me a blank canvas but also his silent conformation that he thought I was good enough to put my work onto a canvas. That is what’s so special about this present.
He finally unwrapped his too, exposing a brown cardboard box that was bigger at the bottom and thinner towards the top. “What is it?” Thomas asked.
“Open it,” I said simply and he ran to the kitchen to get a pair of scissors. When he returned he cut open the cellotape, he practically tore open the box. Inside lay a acoustic guitar with a red base, the same one he’d been looking at in the guitar shop window for weeks. I never understand why he did buy it, maybe he had been hinting at me all this time, but regardless to that his face was priceless.
He leaned over to me, kissing me on the lips and then pulling my into a tight hug, the guitar resting between the two of us. We pulled away at the same time, beaming at each other.
“Merry Christmas Lilly,” Thomas spoke, his voice soft and gentle.