Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Cooking

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a happy day yesterday. We had a lovely Christmas lunch with N's family/friends and as our only obligation was to bring a dessert it was also very relaxing! As usual there was far too much food despite a sincere effort to cut back this year.

On the menu there were 5 (!) types of meat - chicken, turkey, ham, beef and lamb, a potato bake and 3 types of salads, followed by plum pudding with custard, trifle and cheesecake. Yum! Not to mention the prawns, fruit, nuts, cheeses and other nibblies to start with (and can I just say that prawns and I do not mix well at the moment - the smell was nauseating and I made sure to sit upwind of them!)

On a better note we've had a tradition for the past 6 years of so of having a Christmas Eve dinner. Held at one of 3 homes, it is usually with the people we won't be able to spend Christmas Day with. This year was our turn to host and I'm just so thankful the weather cooperated. It was a lovely 27 degrees on Sunday which made the day in the kitchen much more pleasant considering I've reached the stage in my pregnancy where my back and feet are starting to hurt regularly!

Our Menu:

Entree: Fresh beetroot ravioli with walnuts and goat's cheese
Main: Roast turkey breast with cranberry and macadamia stuffing, greens and spicy plum sauce
Dessert: a Daring Baker's challenge to be posted in a few days!

Apologies for the terrible photos but I completely forgot to get out my camera until we were already sitting down at the table ... twice! So don't let the photos put you off, this was a truly fabulous meal!

Beetroot Ravioli with Walnuts and Goat's Cheese
Recipe from The Cook and the Chef

Yes this really is pasta not raw steak!
250g 00 flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon olive oil
100g pureed cooked beetroot

150g goats cheese
50g ricotta
3 tablespoons parmesan, grated
4 cloves garlic, roasted (in foil and squeezed)
2 tablespoons chives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon thyme
salt and pepper to taste

To Serve
lemon zest
20ml walnut oil
50g butter
1 tablespoon chives and lemon thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons walnuts, toasted and chopped
cracked pepper and sea salt
parmesan shavings

Peel the beetroot and boil in a very little water until it is overcooked, then puree. This is one time when you want the beetroot to bleed.

Place the flour in a bowl; add the egg, oil and beetroot pulp. Using a pastry cutter or your hands bring the flour into the egg mixture and gradually combine it until you have a dough. Knead the dough on the work bench for a couple of minutes until it is firm and smooth. Cover with cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Combine the filling ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste.

Roll out the pasta, using dustings of flour to stop it sticking to itself.

Cut and fill the ravioli, pressing out the edges so that you don’t have double thickness of dough at the edge. Moisten the edge of the ravioli if you need to get a good seal.

Dust off any extra flour, and place in a saucepan of boiling salted water (with a dribble of oil on the surface) until they rise to the top. Drain and douse with evoo.

For the sauce, melt the butter and add the walnut oil and walnuts. Season with herbs and zest and salt and pepper.

Place the ravioli on a plate, drizzle the sauce over the top, and garnish with parsley and parmesan.

Serves 4 as a main (we made double to serve 6 people and still have a big ball of pasta dough in the freezer for another time)

Roast Turkey with Greens, Cranberry and Macadamia Stuffing and Spicy Plum Sauce

We were actually intending to have duck but balked at the price ($10 per breast!) so turkey it was. We choose a 2.6kg turkey breast on the bone, rubbed with Szechuan seasoning and roasted at 200 degrees for just under 2hrs and then rested under foil for 30 minutes. We also made sure to add some chicken stock to the roasting pan for extra moisture and a delicious 'gravy' to pour over the cut meat. The result was one of the juiciest, tastiest turkeys I can ever remember having. Even the leftovers were tender!

We baked the stuffing in a log separately to guarantee the turkey would be cooked through. This is the same stuffing I made for Thanksgiving and you can find the recipe here.

We also served blanched green beans and broccolini drizzled with the remnants of the pasta sauce and extra walnut oil.

The plum sauce was a brilliant find. It would go perfectly with duck (as it was intended to be) but it also elevated a simple roast turkey to something truly amazing.

Spicy Plum Sauce

150ml red wine (we just used some of the plum juice)
2 tbs brandy
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 star anise
1 orange, juiced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbs redcurrant jelly
825g can plums, drained, pureed

Place the wine, brandy and spices in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add orange juice, then return to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, redcurrant jelly and plum puree. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve (making sure to remove the spices).

I had the best turkey sandwich EVER with these leftovers. Fan-friggin-tastic!!!

I'm already looking forward to next year :-)

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful feast! I'm so glad that your day was filled with good food and good friends. Merry Christmas! Lisa


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