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Christmas Day, 2014

This year we celebrated Christmas Day at my sister, Katie’s home.  Everyone was sent an email advising what they should bring and I was allocated the desserts.  Yah!  Because I chose to make two frozen puddings that can be made in advance and once packed into an esky they are very easy to transport.  Sorted.



Katie took on the task of the turkey.  And she’d never cooked one before.  She said in her email, ‘What could possibly go wrong!’  Well…a lot apparently.

Table decorations

Table decorations

But firstly, the day started with the traditional gravlax made by Millie.  The five of us (plus Cockney-Dave – well we could hardly drop him back to the Youth Hostel on Christmas Day) were so late in arriving (standard), there was nothing worth photographing.  But Archie and Cockney-Dave can assure you that the salmon cured in vodka, lemon rind and dill washed down with a glass of champagne was a very good start to a Christmas Day lunch.

A welcome wreath

A welcome wreath

Then we moved on to organising the lunch.  We were a crowd of 22 so the adults sat at one very long table and a separate table was set up for the children.  The plan was to feed them first (but nothing goes to plan) and so Em had bought a stuffed turkey roll that was wrapped in bacon and all she had to do was put it in the oven.  That was very easy to serve as all you have to do once it’s rested is cut it into slices and arrange it on a platter.

Kiddie's corner

Kiddie’s corner

But meanwhile there was the issue of the turkey.  Katie had ordered it from two women who run a business where they cook good-quality nutritious meals and deliver them to the homes of busy working mums, ready to heat and serve.  They delivered a turkey to Katie’s door that turned out to be a turkey buffe.  I’ve never cooked a turkey buffe but it’s apparently a bird that’s had it’s wings and legs removed.  It also had a size-issue where it could have passed as a chicken.  In trying to photograph it’s best angle, there was a lot of laughter in the kitchen as we agreed it looked like an amputee and had no flattering side.

I couldn't find a good angle!

I couldn’t find a good angle!

However, it had been perfectly cooked, was very moist and being organic, it had plenty of flavour.

Sliced turkey with stuffing

Sliced turkey with stuffing

Fortunately Em’s turkey roll was generously proportioned and those seated at the kiddies table were happy to share it with us.

Turkey roll

Turkey roll

The turkey was served with the cranberry sauce I’d made a few weeks ago and as I now know where to source frozen cranberries, I will definitely be making it again.  It adds a very pretty colour to any plate and of course, compliments the turkey perfectly.

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce

Em made some potato wedges that were slow-cooked for three hours on a very low temperature and came to the table golden and crispy.  It’s a shame she didn’t make a few more as these were very addictive.

Crunchy golden potato wedges

Crunchy golden potato wedges

Em made a variation of a Waldorf salad with kale and dried cranberries, goat’s cheese, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.  It was a very colourful salad with great texture and crunch.

Waldorf salad

Waldorf Salad

Millie made a quinoa salad with sweet potato, kale chips, fresh herbs and topped with pomegranate seeds that added beautiful Christmas colour.

Sweet potato, crispy kale and pomegranate salad

Sweet potato, crispy kale and pomegranate salad

Then it was time for dessert.  I made a frozen white chocolate pudding that presents well with fresh berries and toasted slivered almonds scattered on top but if you leave those behind it’s on with the show anyway.  After wrestling the pudding from the tin, I poured a raspberry coulis laced with a little sugar and rum, over the pudding.

White Chocolate Christmas Bombe

White Chocolate Christmas Bombe

The other choice for dessert was a spiced ice cream torte with caramel figs.  It’s layers of ice cream blended with sultanas, prunes and dried cranberries separated with a couple of layers of crushed speculaas to give that lovely spiciness to the dessert.  You make a caramel sauce mixed with dried baby figs to pour over the top which gives it lovely presentation.  I wasn’t able to source dried baby figs so had to use regular dried figs.  Never mind!

Spiced ice cream torte with caramel figs

Spiced ice cream torte with caramel figs

And then it was rushing inside to avoid the thunderstorm and then that best part of Christmas for any child, the opening of the presents.

Taking centre-stage

Every child’s favourite part of Christmas

It was a relaxing day celebrating Christmas with three generations of family while feasting on some superb dishes.  And as for Cockney-Dave, he said spending Christmas with our family was so wonderful it made him feel really, really homesick.  Poor chap came back to our house and skyped his mother where in the UK, Christmas Day was just beginning.  And it was -15C – one of the coldest days on record.

The oldest and youngest family members

The oldest and youngest family members


  1. Sounds like a great get together with wonderful food and fun. The last shot of the youngest and oldest guest is quite touching.

    I’ve never heard of a ‘turkey buffe’. I guess it’s for people who want all white meat but left on the bone. The Waldorf salad is a new one on me too and I’d like to give it a try. I have everything in the fridge except the pomegranate seeds. I wonder what I could substitute for them. Are they there just for crunch/texture or for sweetness as well?

    • Hi Marie, I will find out where Em got that Waldorf recipe and blog it because it really is a terrific salad. I think the pomegranate seeds add texture, crunch, prettiness and a little sweetness.

      • I’d appreciate the recipe if you can get it. I need to pick up milk and eggs tomorrow/or rather today, so I can certainly pick up a pomegranate at the same time. 🙂

  2. Sounds like a lovely Christmas. I think it’s terrific that everyone brought a dish or two. By the time our Christmas lunch was over I was exhausted. I need to invite more people who can cook.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Love the sound of your desserts – especially the fig one! We were 14 on Xmas day, sharing the cooking between 3 families. It just makes it so much easier.

  4. What a lovely Christmas day you had! It makes the day so much easier when everybody can bring at least one thing to help with the day. We do it all the time.
    Happy New Year to you!
    You have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award – for inspiring & motivating me throughout the year. I love participating and being a part of the foodie community with you. Acceptance is purely optional, but if you’re keen please check out this post:

  5. What a lovely day, and your puddings look fantastic 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
    Liz x

  6. Hi Charlie 🙂 Hope it’s not too late to still wish you a VERY Merry Christmas to you and your family!!! What a great way to spend Christmas day and I think these mishaps is what makes Christmas such a fun time to spend with family!
    All the food looks fantastic and haha I’m still laughing at the photo of the Turkey Buffe!

  7. that turkey buffe looks pretty small. how many kilos was it? unlike the turkeys we had with friends in the US one year where it was so darn huge they had to shove it in a gigantic Weber out on the icy back deck. it looks like you had a great xmas day charlie. happy new year to you all.

  8. Oh dear that turkey buffe looks very odd indeed! How are you meant to serve it? But thankfully there was the turkey roll. I was told that there was a turkey shortage this year too! 😮

  9. How lovely that everyone brought a dish or two and shared the load. It looks like a perfect Christmas Day (although the turkey does look a little odd I have to agree!)

  10. Sounds like a great day with family, friends and food! It really helps when you can divide the cooking job and it really helps to have sisters who are wonderful cooks!! Like Maureen, I get exhausted cooking because no one else is a good cook!!

  11. It looks like great food Charlie, even if the turkey didn’t present its best side (didn’t have a best side)! Your desserts sound lovely and I like that you could share the preparation and cooking around. Happy Christmas!

  12. Family meals like this one are just the BEST to me. Looks perfect in every way–and your frozen desserts look wonderful. What a good idea to make them early. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy New Year, full of love and peace.

  13. Your meal looked fabulous, even if the turkey was a bit odd at first glance. The meat sure looked delicious cut up. The salads look so fresh too! Lovely family gathering.

  14. So happy you could be with all of your family. What a wonderful Christmas.

  15. Sounds exactly like what we did Charlie. we had 25. Glad you could spend some time with your sisters.

  16. What a lovely day you seemed to have had Charlie dear, it’s always easier to share the load. Your side dishes look delightful indeed, and the carved turkey does look moist and yummy too. What a fantastic fig dessert, the flavours sound awesome! I’ll definitely try to recreate this at home thanks – yummo! xox

  17. Your tongue in cheek writing style always puts a smile on my face. Thank you for sharing your wonderful Christmas with us. 22 is certainly a handful and your sister looks like she pulled it off. I would cherish being a stray at your table any day of the week, I’d say Cockney-Dave really lucked out.

  18. Looks like you guys had an absolutely delicious Christmas. Happy New year lovely xx

  19. Charlie, this sounds like a wonderful Christmas, lucky you to have your family there together. xo

  20. What a wonderful day with your family! I love how everything just always seems to work out during the hoidays no matter how many things we forget or things that go awry!

  21. Looks wonderful! Love the desserts and I agree, what a strange looking bird!

  22. Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas despite the issues with the Turkey. The desserts looked fantastic … I think I’m coming to your place for Xmas next year … haha!

  23. Sounds very similar to our day. The food looks fabulous.

  24. Charlie, I came up with a kale salad in the meantime which I’m very proud of.


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