Dinner No 15 hosted by Tanyah: November 2013
Well this was an amazing experience for me. As I said on the night I didn’t eat a single roast dinner growing up so I have grown up to be a non-traditional type of cook.
I almost resented doing this Christmas dinner for my turn as there are so many dishes I want to try out for the 8ateclub but ultimately I *needed* to do this, to feel happy and relaxed for my first ever Christmas dinner. I must say having done it I am absolutely thrilled. I feel totally ready for Christmas and am so grateful to have the 8ate guinea pigs to try it all out on!
It needed to be workable for the real Christmas dinner when I will already have produced a Christmas Eve meal for the family who are staying so I was looking for things that could be prepared in advance. In particular things that were done in the oven rather than the hob as I have a tendency to forget to stir things on the hob and they burn!
Having watched the women in my husband’s family cook Christmas dinner many times I have come to see that the main stress seems to come from the turkey itself. I am not a turkey lover (if it was that great people would eat it all year round) but my husband was quite adamant that tradition comes first. So, turkey it was.
So I thought about how I could make it a bit more ‘me’ and a bit less daunting!
In the end I decided to try doing something I had done with chicken before which was to make a roll of stuffed turkey breast and then serve it in slices.
I also decided to do a starter because in my experience the Christmas meal is often rather frenetic, with everyone herded to the table to gobble down dinner and then disappear. I thought a starter may make the approach to dinner a bit more relaxed, so chose a cold smoked salmon starter that was more of an assembly job than cooking…. I also wanted an alternative to Christmas pudding and in the event one of my gorgeous guests brought me a home-made Christmas pudding which I will be pulling out on the day as well – brilliant!
So my menu (with my own comment underneath) was as follows:
Smoked salmon served with a horseradish and vodka creme fraiche sauce and caviar
feedback was not to bother with a starter and serve it as a canape
Stuffed paella turkey wrapped in serrano ham with manchego cheese
I loved this, thought it carved beautifully and had loads of flavour.
Roasted brussell sprout cheese and bacon gratin
horrid, nothing is going to improve a sprout!
Roasted butternut squash with maple syrup and pecans
I felt this got lost on the plate and I will exchange for steamed carrots.
Mini sausages basted in pappadew mustard
couldn’t taste the mustard but maybe it added to the overall flavour?
I was chuffed with these, I used a mixture of polenta and flour to coat but will just use flour next time. The goose fat was definitely yummy.
Home made cranberry sauce
What a breeze! Why does anyone buy it? Made enough to freeze for Christmas so that is one thing done already!
I infused the milk for TWO DAYS! next time I won’t whizz it up as the texture was *too* smooth.
Personally I don’t think this was needed but I am assured you can’t have a Christmas dinner without gravy, I thought it was pleasant enough, not knock out, will do again but add a bit more punchy flavourings.
Chocolate and clemintine roulade
This was delicious although very rich. Bit of a faff to make and everything collapsed when I rolled it up, but patched it all back up with the icing and nobody knew.