Sunday, 25 December 2011

Xmas Day, Part 1.

Christmas day, and the presents have been opened, dogs walked and fed, and we have called George in Oz, she’s in Darwin waiting for a cyclone? I’d be running in the opposite direction. Just waiting for Amy to phone (She’s at the in-laws), Naomi will be down tomorrow.

Now we are ready for the main event, I’ve been given an apron so I have to christen it today, at least it will wipe clean. I’m a firm believer in wearing as much food as possible; it has to be boiling hot as I acquire it, and preferably some colour that won’t wash out. I also have been given lots of chocolate and some cookery books (Are they trying to tell me something?)

I digress, we have Turkey and Gammon today, with all the trimmings, plus a large amount of pudding and milk based accompaniments.

But first, yesterday I made Apple sauce from the apples I preserved back in Sept, you may remember them as the ones we found overhanging the road near Holne.  Anyhow they had kept well for three months, so after a rinse they were gently cooked with some caster sugar until they just started to break up. A quick stir and there we are.

Peter gave me a big bag of peeled potatoes last night, the people here are so generous, when we couldn’t go to Amy last year they all made sure we were well supplied, I made shortbread for them all, and some flavoured vinegar, also Bailey’s ice cream for Norma and Phillip.

The preparation goes as follows.

Thickly slice some potatoes and line the meat roasting dish with them, boil the rest with parsnips and onions. Whilst they are boiling add sliced onions and cut garlic to the dish. Pour orange juice in to cover the potatoes and place the washed meat on top. Season and cover with foil. I chose a 1kg gammon and a 1.5kg turkey crown, largely because they both take about 2 hours to cook at 180 degrees.

Take some chicken stock; add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and some of the water from the potatoes stir to a thick paste. Then tip in a bit of passata and more potato water to make your gravy base. All it needs to finish off are juices from the meat, and thickening before serving. The potatoes from under the meat will do that.

I have cheated this year and brought ready made pigs-in-blankets (Shock horror embarrassment), I had to go to a shop where I wouldn’t be recognised. But I have made my own custard for the pudding.

Its always a bit of a sad day in a way, I remember all the Christmas days I spent at sea, and all the absent friends, we always used to toast absent friends on the ship, and of course, although I am now home based, I still think of all those working away from home at this time. I do work some Christmas days, but now they are more of an exception, and of course I get to go home at the end of it. The only thing I do miss, is that we would have a Christmas celebration before I went back to my ship (Often in September!) and then have ANOTHER one when I got home.

Don't miss Part 2, coming soon, just as soon as I have finished cooking (and eating).

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