Our Christmas meal is naturally something of a feast, with bits of preparation happening over several weeks, starting with the marinating with the fruit for the Christmas cake. It has become a bit of a tradition to produce a menu as follows (printed back to back and folded).
Served with St Ronan’s Pear Cider
Cider-glazed Chorizos with Eschallots
A simple recipe from Miguel’s Tapas. Pickle peeled eschallots in 1 cup of water, 1 cup of white wine vinegar and 2 tbsp caster sugar until soft. Saute sliced chorizo in pan until cooked. Add onions and 1/2 cup apple cider and cook on high heat until cider is almost evaporated. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with toothpicks.
Home-made Camembert baked in Vine leaves with Verjuice-poached Grapes
I’ve just made my second batch of camembert and so we used this terrific recipe and the little cheese baking container that I bought in Sorrento last week. The sticky grapes themselves are stunning. We used vine leaves from our garden. I found the texture of the cheese a bit lumpy, but with the grapes it tasted very yummy.
Roast Duck with Cherry, Porcini
& Red Wine Jus
with Kanmantoo Bacon
The duck pieces were marinated in orange juice overnight. I made a stock from the duck carcasses, then reduced it with some porcini mushrooms and cherries. I also reduced a cup of red wine with porcini mushrooms and cherries and some star anise. Hours and hours later I had a lovely sauce to which I added some crispy bacon bits towards the end. The duck was spiced with ground fennel seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper and Murray river salt. The duck ‘marylands’ were baked while the breast were cooked in the pan and finished off in the oven. Very rich but delicious.
Kipfler potatoes roasted in duck fat with sage leaves and served with Myrtleford Butter Factory‘s astonishing truffle butter
Leeks sautéd in butter
Thyme & Honey Roasted Baby Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, Onion and Garlic – a riff off an Ottolenghi recipe from “Plenty”
Sweet Potato Mash with Candied Walnuts – recipe courtesy of Philip Johnson’s “Eating In”
Baked Baby Beetroot with garlic, balsamic vinegar & rosemary – Jamie Oliver recipe
Smoked Meats & house mustards – Australia’s #1 ham from down the road (Newberry and Watson), hickory-smoked chicken and some duck proscuitto by us, plus the mustards that I made recently for Christmas based on recipes from Janet Hazen’s “Mustard” book – Three Citrus, Pepper and Garlic, German Whisky, Herbed Tomato, Muscovado and Muscat.
Gruyere Gougeres – these are amazing, simple, cheesy choux pastry breads from Jacques Reymond’s “Cuisine de Temps“.
We 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. Best made just before serving, although you can reheat them in the oven.
This recipe was from the December 2015 edition of Gourmet Traveller magazine (p46). It was a team effort. I made the ice cream and Yvonne made the sponge and jelly. We added fresh strawberries and tiny persian semi-dried strawberries, and one of the ice creams scoops was drilled with a little home-made strawberry balsamic liqueur. Full of flavour bombs.
Home-made Christmas Cake – Bourke St Bakery recipe. This was the third time that I’ve made this cake and it’s a winner.
There you have it. Now I can look back next year and remember what we made! I hope your Christmas was rich with family and friends, hospitality and the blessing of peace.