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Sunday, 27 December 2009

It’s the long-awaited Christmas feast!

I’ve been training for this one, I have. Stuffing myself with Quality Street, Lindt, and all other forms of chocolate for weeks in preparation for the chocolate marathon at Christmas, and eating more pannetone than is recommended by the Italian Pannetone Board just so I can say I’ve had enough of it once the stores stop selling them.

All for Christmas Day, when the calories are ignored, and an all-day buffet ensues.

Not many words accompanying the pictures, as I am too full.

But first comes the preparation – the peeling, the roasting, the washing, the baking, the setting of table.

The Prep:

Christmas meal - preparing

All the vegetables are laid out on the table, ready to be peeled and baton-ed.

Christmas meal - kale

We have the kale, a slightly crunchy, bitter vegetable – to be boiled. Go on, chuck it in the pan with some water, now that’s a good ‘un.

Christmas meal - vegs

The ever-adored Brussel sprouts – the stuff of dreams (mine, anyway. I like them). Mini cabbages in looks, mini cabbages in flavour. Put them in with the kale.

Christmas meal - carrot bunch

Rustic carrots, still in their bunches. Top and tail them, cut them into batons, and place them in the roasting pan with some oil, and a little bit of honey.

Christmas meal - cauliflower

The cauliflower, to be boiled in the same pan as the kale and sprouts. Some like it crunchy, some like it mushy, I prefer it stir fried with some garlic and and mince, but of course you can’t have that for the Christmas meal.

Christmas meal - parnisps 2

And lastly, in the vegetable category, the parsnip. The not-so-tanned cousin of the carrot (not really, but they look similar) is great roasted with a bit of oil, when there is a slight crunchiness on the outside and a sweet, sticky mushy centre.

Christmas meal - Quality Street

And in between all that peeling and cutting, a mini Quality Street break.

The roasting and cooking

Christmas meal - stuffing 2

Stuffing – traditionally stuffed in the turkey (thus called stuffing) to retain the moisture, and to add flavour to the turkey, it can also be cooked separately from the turkey, in a baking tray. What I like about stuffing is the fact that it tastes slightly like chicken congee (rice porridge), with fried shallots (to me anyway. To most people it probably tastes like stuffing).

Christmas meal - bacon rolls 2

Bacon rolls, also known as ‘pigs in blankets’ because the sausage meat is wrapped in bacon, thus the logic of both names.

Christmas meal - ham 3

Joint of bacon – when turkey alone just ain’t enough.

Christmas meal - ham

Ten pieces of bacon joint, sitting on the plate
Ten pieces of bacon joint, sitting on the plate
And if one piece of bacon joint should accidentally get eaten by me
There’ll be no bacon joint pieces left, sitting on the plate

(From one to none, in the space of five seconds.)

Christmas meal - turkey

The turkey. In most cooking programmes, turkeys don’t look like this. They kinda look brown, as though they’ve been on holiday for a week in the South of France, with a nice shiny layer of glistening moisture to show just how succulent they are. Well, in reality, turkeys in oven don’t like to cooperate, and sometimes, you have to cover them in bacon to retain any moisture in the turkey. So, even though it doesn’t look like it’s been on holiday, it tasted excellent. Roasted with sausages and Shitake mushrooms swimming around it.

Christmas meal - roast potatoes

Roasties, spuds, tatties, or roast potatoes. First peeled, then boiled, then shaken around in the pan to ensure they’re slightly mooshed and then roasted in the oven. The mooshed bits crisp up reaaaaal nicely when roasted well.

Christmas meal - carrots

Roast carrots and parsnips.

Christmas meal - stuffing

The stuffing from earlier. (This is taking alot of effort, what with the fullness and the telly on in the background, thus the lack of illustrative descriptions). Trust me, the meal was really nice.

Christmas meal - vegetarian pie

The vegetarian pie, with a shortcrust pastry base, some vegetables, mushrooms and cheese as filling, and a cheesy-scone mixture for the pie cover.

The eating:

Christmas meal 6

This was why I am still so full (and it’s Boxing Day).

Christmas meal 4

My plate from Angle 1 – you can see the turkey, the sausage, and some of the stuffing on the left of the plate. At the back, you can see the Brussel sprouts, and some of the parsnips at the top right of the plate.

Christmas meal 2

My plate from Angle 2 – here you can see the stuffing which has been dolloped with Coleman’s English mustard (a must … ard, for most meals). Brussels on the left.

Christmas meal 1

My plate from Angle 3 – the roast parsnips and carrots and the turkey and sausage. Gravy drizzled all over, with cranberry sauce.

Summer fruits pavlova

Dessert – summer fruit pavlova, with a lemon filling. We found that this goes really well with apple crumble.

Christmas cake 1

Merry Christmas to all, and if you’re as full as I am, just watch some telly and forget about the washing up.

3 comments:

AWESOME said...

YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY. What a Spread !!! Beats bbq at flat ah ha.

Lizzie said...

That looks like a beast of a dinner. I really missed the stuffing this year as we had beef wellington, so didn't have any - it's great fried up with leftover roasted potatoes and sprouts for bubble & squeak.

monchichi said...

Hi Awesome and Lizzie,
That was a really fabulous meal, and best thing was, we had more of it the next day. Not had beef wellington before but from what I've heard about it, I reckon I'll like it, very much!

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