Christmas dinner is something of a gastronomic event in our house.
We decided to have the entree as lunch instead of with the evening meal. BBQ prawns marinated overnight in lemon and lime juice, garlic, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilli, black pepper and prawn oil. Served with a salad of cos lettuce, charred baby capsicum, cherry tomatoes, sliced zucchini and avocado and a dressing of palm sugar, fish sauce, lemon juice and diced chilli.
Here’s the dinner menu, served with Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir.
Spiced Duck Breast with Cherry Sauce
This started with an Ottolenghi recipe (from his book “Ottolenghi“), with the duck marinated overnight in a spice mix of crushed fennel and cumin seeds, pepper and salt. I made a duck with red wine sauce base from a Masterchef recipe (vol 2. p144). Then giving Ottolenghi a twist I added a few star anise and about 15 cherries and cooked it down. This worked really well.
Duck Neck Sausage
I had bought a whole duck on sale the other day. Based on the same Masterchef recipe, I made a duck neck sausage with duck meat, local smoked bacon, pork fat, crushed macadamias and semi-dried cranberries. (The leg meat is used in the sausage. The breasts were eaten separately, and the carcass was used to make the above stock.) The sausage was poached in duck fat a couple of days ago and served cold, sliced.
Orange Balsamic Smoked Ham with Relishes
OK we bought the ham, but I made the relishes. A gooseberry and green peppercorn relish from Paul Gayler’s “A Passion for Cheese“, and a red pepper and pine nut relish from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook.
Roast Potato and Fennel with Lemon and Sage
A slight twist on another Ottolengi recipe. Couldn’t find any Jerusalem artichokes so I substituted wedges of fennel bulb. The potatoes and fennel are baked with garlic and sage, the lemon slices and cherry tomatoes added towards the end.
Pumpkin Puree with Candied Walnuts
Courtesy of Philip Johnson’s “Eating In” – pumpkin baked with garlic and butter, then pureed with a little cream. The walnuts are caramelised in sugar, then deep fried, with sea salt added. Senstional.
From Jacques Reymond’s “Cuisine de Temps“. I didn’t realise when I started making these that I was making choux pastry for the first time! I only made a half recipe, but the full recipe is as follows:
Cook 250ml water, 150g cubed butter, a pinch of nutmeg, pinch of salt and some ground black pepper until boiling, stirring constantly. Take off the boil and immediately add 200g flour. Stir for 1 minute until dough is well combined.
In a food processor (or in the pan) add 5 eggs, one at a time, while the dough is still hot. Fold through 150g Gruyere cheese in 1/2 cm cubes.
Place large spoonfuls on baking paper on baking tray. Brush with egg wash. Baked at 200C for 25 minutes.
Baby Beetroot with Spiced Beetroot Puree
From James Kidman’s “Renaissance Table” – baby beetroot and large beetroot simmered in water with orange peel, star anise, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, white peppercorns, cloves, thyme and red wine vinegar. The baby beetroot are served on top of a puree of the large beetroot.
Herbed Baby Carrots with Honey
Orange and purple carrots baked with olive oil and thyme, with honey added towards the end.
Balsamic Roasted Red Onions
From Gordon Ramsay’s “Sunday Lunch” – red onions sauted then baked with balsamic vinegar
Baked Mushroom with Hazelnuts and Parmesan
From Jacques Reymond’s “Cuisine de Temps”. Swiss brown mushrooms baked with butter, sliced eschallots, crushed roast hazelnuts, sliced garlic, shaved parmesan, thyme sprigs, olive oil and hazelnut oil.
Ice Cream Christmas Pudding
Dessert was a family favourite – Yvonne’s home-made ice cream Christmas pudding. This year it had a layer of cherry and coconut ice cream and a layer of chocolate and macadamia ice cream, and topped with white chocolate and fresh cherries. Just wonderful.
Served with a glass of Bailey’s liqueur muscat.