What does a hungry turkey sound like?
“Gobble, gobble, gobble!”
Now say that ten times faster. Sorry, can’t help myself with the lame obligatory Christmas joke but have to admit I sure felt like a turkey after stuffing myself stupid on Christmas and Boxing Day, two full days of gluttonous debauchery. I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas spending the whole weekend with friends and families, sharing a wonderful feast, or two together.
Same as last year, for those who are far away from home were gathered around once again for our annual Orphan Christmas picnic at Balls Head Reserve on the north shore. And this year I decided to take up a new challenge and roasted a turkey for the special occasion.
Orphan’s Christmas Picnic
The turkey was actually a last minute decision and was also the last one I scored at the chicken shop when I was meaning to buy a duck on the Christmas Eve! “I presume all the turkeys are already sold out?” I casually asked the guy behind the counter as I was about to pay for the duck, and next thing I saw was him coming out of the cool room, carrying a heavy plastic bag with a frozen fat turkey inside and put it on the scale which weighted at 4.8kg!
What was I thinking? No, I wasn’t thinking, I just took it home and ready to tackle the beast! After 6 hours of thawing, 8 hours of gin-brining, and 3 hours of roasting, I was exhausted but with a sense of pride when I looked at that beautiful bird sitting on the picnic table with its shiny glossy golden cloak shouting out, “eat me!” It was worth the effort. Let’s the picnic begin!
I was so glad that I didn’t get the duck when I found out Monkeyboy and Ms J also had the same idea and brought along duck dishes! Monkeyboy served up a char-grilled duck l’orange with a beautiful herb and cranberries stuffing that was so light and fluffy.
Extra stuffing was baked in ramekins for Ms Vegetarian, as she had also prepared some delicious caramelised sweet onion tarts that were buttery soft.
Mr and Mrs Pirates brought along a pasta, avocado, cannellini beans, capsicum salad, the perfect dish to counteract all the protein.
AussieAna’s home made lamb mince concarne with flat bread was a big hit at the picnic and her friend, another orphan from China who we happily adopted this year was also kindly to share with us some soy roast duck and pumpkin salad.
It will not be a Christmas feast without the good ole brussels sprouts. It is hard to come by as they are not in season at the moment, but I managed to score a few at the farmer’s market came with a hefty price. Instead of blanching the brussels sprouts until disgustingly mushy which I absolutely despite, I simply blanched them with dutch carrots, then slathered some butter over the top and whacked them into the oven until they are slightly charred, finished off with fresh red currants for the acidity and a touch of festive colour.
By the time we had dessert, I was already half in food coma and didn’t take any pictures! But I remembered there were meringue mice, mole cake, cumin seeds biscuits, iced gingerbread biscuit and sad-melted-chocolate.
That’s one day down, one more day to go.
Boxing Day BBQ
The feasting continues with a Boxing Day BBQ at TheDepartment & Windingo’s newly renovated home with new extension at the back of the house, which is now a spacious dining hall that can fit twenty people with no trouble. While the BBQ was heating up in the backyard, we entertained ourselves with nibbles and canapes.
smoked salmon gravlax. cream cheese, dill on potato patties
Never fail to please, I probably had a few too many of these delicious dried fig and cream cheese wrapped in prosciutto.
There was one year when Mrs Pirate wowed us with her artichoke dip, a warm eggy custard with chopped artichoke and melted parmesan that is pungently addictive, which has now become her signature appetiser for every party.
Wingdingo incharged of the BBQ and it didn’t take long for him to grill up a whole batch of the sausages he bought from the famous Tender Value Meats at Hornsby. These award-winning sausages are seriously one of the best I’ve tasted and I guarantee you would be spoiled for choices with 35 different type of sausages on the menu.
Moroccan Lamb & Raisin and Sweet Chicken & Corn have always been everyone’s favourite, then there’s also Smokey Texan, a fiery fat sausage and Pork, Leek & Bacon for those who love piggy.
To share, The Pom and I had prepared a stash of satay chicken skewers and brought along to the BBQ and put them on the grill while is still running.
I’d also decided to use some of the leftovers from Christmas Day and prepared a turkey and vegetable terrine. Unfortunately I didn’t save any of the roasting fat and pan juice the day before to make the terrine, hence gelatine was all I used. The terrine came out nicely, but it crumbled away as soon as I cut it as the gelatine is not strong enough to hold its shape.
Mr and Mrs Pirate prepared another salad but this time with these tiny little bocconcini cheese balls that were just too cute.
Then there was dessert, lots of pretty Christmas sweet desserts spread across the whole table. I particularly liked The Department’s extra boozy homemade rum balls, definitely not for the kids.
A beautiful summer fruit sponge cake with custard filling was soft and light.
And on the other side of the table was a gorgeous cake topped with cream custard filled profiteroles drizzled in chocolate sauce.
The iconic Australian dessert, the pavlova also make an appearance at the table. It was freshly made by TheDepartment’s mum I’ve been told, a big fat disk of soft meringue with crispy shell is served with a simple passionfruit dressing.
Good friends, good food and a bloody good time! That’s my delicious Christmas in 2010.
So how was your Christmas?