Archive for December, 2010

Christmas Dinner

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

OK, stomach stretching exercise number two!  The family dinner for 7.  This consisted of a 3.8kg bird, a 2.9kg ham and a few sides.  First, the bird.  I know, we eat turkey every year.  But given that we only really eat it once a year, I think that’s fine!  This year, we tried the free range turkey, and I followed Tobie Puttock’s recipe.  Big fail!!  Here’s the prepared bird – stuffed inside and also under the skin. Eww, what a gross job, touching the dirty squishy thing!  First mistake was to rub the outside with butter – the bird burnt within the first 20 minutes when we were meant to have the oven on at 220! Lucky we checked it and foiled it.

The recipe called for 2 hrs in the title, 3 hrs in the body of the text, and the instructions on the turkey wrapper said 40-45mins per kg.  how confusing is that!  We also stuck in a thermometer for good measure.  But alas, it was so dry and overcooked. Sorry family :(

For sides this year, I bought my first ever baby carrots.  They weren’t that baby, but I thought they looked very sweet with their little tops still on.  The prices were quite variable – $3.80 at coles and $2 at the local greengrocer.   I used a very easy glaze – boiling them for 2 minutes and then dressing with a mix of golden syrup and olive oil and seasoning.

My one experimentation came in the form of Luke Nguyen’s Hanoi Crisp Parcels that I saw on Masterchef as well as Chef’s Christmas.  I was very worried that they wouldn’t fry up, as the skins are first soaked in water to reconstitute them, then wrapped with the raw filling and finally deep fried. I wondered how something wet would fry up, but thankfully, they worked!!! Yippee!! They did take a while though, but there were no explosions or burning or sogginess.  Phew.    They tasted absolutely DIVINE when wrapped with a perilla leaf and mint leaves and dipped in the nuam choc sauce.  A fantastic kinda DIY entree.

We love our prawn cutlets and calamari in our family, and along with the Hanoi crisp rolls, we had a very healthy entree platter ;) (more…)

Christmas Lunch – Whole salmon on the barbeque!

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Soooo sorry for the shameful 2 month absence!  Foodiechat had an unexpected whirlwind of a month at work, no fun :(  Well it’s over now, and it’s Christmas Eve – I thought I should share what we’re having!  First Christmas lunch was a couple of weeks ago, and thanks to my friends, I got free reign on the menu – yay! Thanks for trusting me guys! I’ve ALWAYS wanted to cook a whole salmon on the BBQ, and yay, 14 people meant there were enough people for it!

First up, I bought this lovely fella – it was $15 a kg and this guy was 3kgs.  He was really gross to touch though :(

I thought it was great value, as the salmon is already gutted, so you’re really eating pretty much all of it except the head and the spine!  First, wash him and then pat dry with a paper towel.  Next, stuff his belly with fronds of dill and parsley, and some lemon slices.  Then, rub him all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap tightly in foil – double layers – and oops, I was lazy and didn’t grease the top layer of foil, thinking the oil on the fish was enough to make it non stick. So, the skin came off, oops :(  Nevermind.  Put the whole wrapped parcel on your barbeque on medium heat.  And cook it for 30 –  40 minutes.  It’s cooked if you stab through it and your skewer or knife goes through easily :)  This is what he looked like when we unwrapped it.

And after we ate the top layer, between 14 of us, we only ate 3/4 of the fish!  It was totally cooked to perfection.  One second more and it wouldn’t have been so perfect. Thumbs up guys! It was soo silky and delicate.  Highly recommend this for your Christmas table!

As if that wasn’t enough, Cecilia also cooked a pork roast.   Salt the skin and leave it overnight in the fridge to dehydrate and you’ll have the most perfect crackling.

Some vegetable is required – and the grilled capsicum and green zucchinis definitely suited the occasion with their very Christmassy colours! :)

My plate – a bit piggy? :) We also had chargrilled prawns and a rocket salad with pear, walnuts and pancetta. (more…)