My 6th Christmas living in London and the time had finally come. The day was here. It was now my turn to make Christmas dinner for my family. With a boyfriend who seemed to be working on Christmas Day (which he eventually managed to swap) and myself hungry for a change of scenery on the big day, by late November plans seemed like they had fallen into place. Christmas would come, the goose would be fat and I would be in London. My mum and dad would then travel to me instead of the other way around, just days before the 25th and we would live out the festivities in the capital. The only remaining matter to resolve was the small detail of Christmas dinner. Now, I love to cook, but making dinner for my little gang was a new level of challenge that I couldn’t wait to get stuck in to!
Sorry to any vegetarians reading, but the main thing on my Christmas dinner table is the meat, more precisely, turkey. As few people actually eat this dry, white meat for the other 364 days of the year, it is a very bizarre that so many of us favour this bird on Christmas. However, being a stickler for the most traditional of Christmases, by 23rd of December my bird was defrosted and ready to be brined. Yes. Brined. I’m writing this post as I go, so it’s currently 8:30 on Christmas Day, all my vegetables are currently prepared and waiting in the fridge. The turkey is in a bucket of brine and I’m currently crossing everything that it doesn’t come out dry. C’mon Nigella, you cannot let me down.
In case you are wondering what this brine was made up of, it contained an orange, salt, black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, caraway seeds, cloves, dried berries, star anise, sugar, onions, maple syrup, fresh ginger root, honey and parsley. I put it in the brine for about 36 hours before it would need to go in the oven, removing it for just about an hour prior to cooking.
Other things on the plate included, carrots, parsnips, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, peas, broccoli, Yorkshire puddings, mashed swede and pigs in blankets. My parents also brought a bottle of Verve Cliquot champagne for that extra festive flair, with Bucks Fizz providing an orangey haze to the pre lunch, present opening. For dessert, I had options. As nobody is that much into Christmas cake/pudding, I provided a strawberry trifle, Cadbury’s Yule Log or a triple chocolate cookie pudding, all of which went down so well, I did not even manage to get pictures of them!*
*It is now a few days after Christmas…
With the Yuletide having come and gone for another 12 months, I can now safely say that this was one of the best Christmas dinners of recent years – definitely better than going out for food and boldly rivaling the food my folks used to prepare when I was growing up. Fair enough, I did forget the cranberry sauce until we were doing the washing up, but apart from that, the only thing I need to work on are my carcass carving skills.
I really love cooking and everything that goes with it. I understand that it can be stressful but without a specific time to dine, we played it by ear and the day progressed very naturally. Preparing everything in advance, so all that was left was the cooking, also helped enormously.
How did your Christmas food festivities go down? Any disasters, or did everything run smoothly?