Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas in a day

Some months ago my husband and I decided we would head overseas for Christmas this year. It's been a long, arduous year, and even back in September, we felt a good break was well deserved.

Of course, as December 25 has gotten closer, I have been suffering from Christmas cooking withdrawals. And because I cooked my Christmas cakes in October instead of in the last few days before Christmas, it felt even worse! So last weekend I decided we must have a turkey dinner on the last Sunday before we go away.

We've invited good friends to dinner tonight, and since I've gotten started early, I have decided to churn out a bunch of Christmas treats to go along with the dinner.

I've taken a few old favourites and I've revamped them in a Christmas theme. Take these chocolate cupcakes - I had them left over from a cake job the other week. I've topped them with my usual chocolate butter cream, but I've decorated them to make them look like little chocolate puddings.

These are Mexican wedding biscuits, only I've pressed them in a Lebanese mamouhl mould to give them a festive shape. While they're made with pecan nuts, don't forget you can exchange the pecans for almonds or hazelnuts or even pistachios.

For dinner we're having roast turkey with apricot and pinenut stuffing. My husband and I have had a complete laugh this morning dealing with the turkey - we normally buy a turkey buffet, which has an enormous breast and the wings removed. But I found today's turkey on sale, complete with wings. We tried hard to bend the wings around to sit the turkey up nice and pretty. but the silly thing just wouldn't cooperate. So we took the wing tips off and tied the other bits together. It was still too hard to balance the bird, so it's in the oven as we speak, resting on a big bit of bread left over from making the stuffing.

The stuffing, of course, is my traditional apricot and pinenut stuffing. Actually, it's my mum's recipe. I have been making it for years, in my home, up in Cairns at my friend Peisha's, and down at Torquay for my friends Dennis and Dave. But last year when Mum came for Christmas she insisted we put celery into the mix. And let me tell you it changed things for the better! So I decided to follow suit this year. My two year old son was watching me cut up the celery and asked for a piece. To my delight he crunched up one stick and asked for another. He likes celery!! Now for salad...

The turkey will be accompanied by roasted potatoes with proscuitto and rosemary, roasted carrots and baby peas. The key ingredient to bring all of this together is red currant jelly gravy. In recent years red currant jelly has been hard to get hold of. But this year the stores had plenty of it, so I snapped it up.

I'll put pictures up as the day progresses and recipes later this week. I hope I've given you lots to add to your festive fare this year - I've been a bit slack on this topic in previous years. Merry Christmas!

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