Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Dinner Down Under

This was the second meal I had actually planned out a little in advance of everyone arriving. I wanted to keep some of the ingredients and themes that we often use in our usual Christmases, like turkey, parsnips, brussels sprouts and potatoes, but transform them into food more suitable for the expected summer heat.

The starter we only modified a little by using smoked Tasmanian trout, but we stuck to Philadelphia cream cheese (despite the outlandish Ozzie round pot!) on some focaccia left over from our epic homecoming meal on the 23rd.

For which of course we opened another bottle of bubbly! Next came the main meal, the big one, Christmas dinner! Which we managed to eat at a comfortable 4pm, which wasn't exactly planned, but wasn't unwelcome either :) The biggest variable was the BBQ'd turkey, a new experience for all of us...

We had booked the turkey a few weeks previously and asked the butcher to remove the main breastbone and leave the rest of the pieces intact, skin-on. So we were able to whack on a big stockpot of turkey stock for future turkey soup, almost immediately, and then laid the rest out on the BBQ, foil underneath and a few bacon slices on top. It took about an hour to cook, and then a few minutes to rest, and was possibly the best turkey we've ever had! Very moist and flavourful, with just a little smokiness from the BBQ and lovely crisp bacon to serve alongside. Not least because my oven wouldn't fit a whole turkey, I now can't imagine cooking it any other way.

To serve with it, we made:
  • Soph's BBQ potatoes;
  • Roast parsnip, beetroot and toasted pumpkin seed salad;
  • Kiwi, avocado, tomato, basil and dill salsa;
  • Stir-fried brussels sprouts with sesame seeds and soy sauce.
We also had cranberry sauce but unfortunately couldn't make our own, as I was unable to source fresh or frozen cranberries anywhere in the months leading up. Next time I'll get the family to smuggle them through in their hand luggage ;)

Usually to finish we have a Christmas pudding, no matter where we are or what we're doing. But the SO and I simply hadn't had time to make one this year, and weren't really sure that we would be able to face it in the heat. Instead, mum had a wonderful idea of soaking raisins in sugar and the strong sherry we usually use in the Christmas pudding for a few days, then serving them over vanilla ice cream with the sweet alcoholic sauce. A divine way to end a fantastic meal.

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