This Christmas, I turned into a little cooking fairy and made a traditional dinner with all the trimmings for my family, as well as decorating our home into a somewhat winter wonderland…
After a rather busy year, I wanted to cook for everyone to show them how thankful I am for all that they do – and for it to also relieve a little kitchen stress from my Mum – who suggested adding Marmite to a seafood sauce yesterday… as you may have guessed she hates cooking!
I started by baking two loaves of bread and began preparing the turkey’s stuffing the night before we had our dinner.
I followed a combination of Jamie Oliver & BBC Good Food’s methods for baking bread in which I altered the proving time for. This was my first time baking bread and by following the above recipes I found it super easy. I used the first batch as a tester and subsequently enjoyed a lovely supper of fresh bread, smothered in butter and drizzled with runny honey.
I used the second batch of bread which was shaped into a ciabatta style loaf for our starter – salmon crostini. I turned to my favourite cookery book – Nigelissma for this recipe and tweaked Nigella’s by using salmon rather than crab.
Simply oven bake your salmon for 20-25 minutes and leave to cool. In the meantime finely slice one red chilli and a handful of parsley and add to the salmon. Mix all of the ingredients together and add a few dollops of mayonnaise, squirts of lemon juice and sprinkles of seasoning – then pop it into the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Prior to popping the sliced bread back into the oven to toast, I drizzled some olive oil and rubbed a bit of garlic over the bread. This would also make a great lunch or light dinner served with a big side salad.
To accompany the starter, you may remember me telling you about the saratele? Well, after keeping it well hidden from my Dad I surprised him with a whole basket full of the salty sticks. I added a few wafers of prosciutto just to add to the flavours and they went down rather well!
After a bit of worry about whether or not our turkey crown would be defrosted on time (luckily it was fine), I smothered the joint of meat in olive oil and butter. I then added a few sage and parsley leaves in between the bacon strips and seasoned with salt and pepper.
After a few hours in the oven, we took it out and it had cooked through beautifully…
As I mentioned earlier, I started to prepare the stuffing the night before. When most people my age were out enjoying a few too many, there I was in my kitchen, talking to the dog and preparing the food…! Regardless, it was worth all the hassle.
For the stuffing, I followed Nigella’s words of wisdom and started by infusing the cranberries into the fruity, red wine…
I then diced an onion, chopped up a few leaves of sage, crushed 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and fried together.
Afterwards I added the juice and shavings of an orange before mixing it all together with the sausage meat.
I left the stuffing mix to marinate overnight and then rolled up into little balls the next morning. Prior to popping the stuffing in the oven, I added a sprinkle of parmesan shavings over the top of each ball then baked for 20 mins.
For the rest of the trimmings, I roasted carrots, onions and parsnips with a honey glaze and oven baked potatoes with fresh thyme, sea salt and garlic until they were crispy and fluffy.
My Mum also made the best pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon) so kudos to her for them!
And there you go – our delicious Christmas dinner.
For dessert, I made an apple, cinnamon and raisin crumble, served with vanilla ice cream.
It’s safe to say after all that cooking I enjoyed a few glasses of Amaretto over ice – pure goodness.
A few of my favourite presents included a brown leather jacket, a pink food mixer, vişinată in a fancy bottle from Romania, my Nutella recipe book, The Great Gatsby DVD, Dior perfume and body lotion, make-up, an appointment for a hot stone massage at the Spa, home-ware (including a John Lewis Christmas advert pillow and book – for future mini-me’s) and a wooden portrait of Max – plus a few other goodies…
I treated my parents to some gifts which they absolutely loved including a new clothes, spa vouchers and a frying pan for my Dad…! Plus my Nana also received a lovely tea pot and saucer set along with some other goodies. Max was spoilt with lots of doggy treats including dental sticks and two new babies – Ellie the Elephant and Hamley the Cat.
I’ve had an absolutely wonderful Christmas at home and feel very relaxed, happy and lucky to be with all my loved ones.
Stay tuned for my next blog post in which I’ll be saying farewell to 2013.