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.
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.
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.
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.
However, it had been perfectly cooked, was very moist and being organic, it had plenty of flavour.
Fortunately Em’s turkey roll was generously proportioned and those seated at the kiddies table were happy to share it with us.
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.
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.
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.
Millie made a quinoa salad with sweet potato, kale chips, fresh herbs and topped with pomegranate seeds that added beautiful Christmas colour.
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.
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!
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.
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.