I finally potted a lobster on Christmas Eve, with the help of friends. I could not have asked for better timing and so we topped the already planned ‘retro’ prawn cocktail with precious slices of lobster for all. It wasn’t a large lobster but it was definitely legal. We started the feast with melon and prosciutto, followed by the prawns and lobster cocktail.
Our huge turkey was cooked this year on the gas barbecue and the temperature was maintained perfectly. I seemed to manage the temperature more effectively than my turbo BBQ in Brisbane that never seems to moderate below 275c no matter how many burners I turn down or off. I used one of those convenient disposable oval containers and wrapped the whole shebang twice in foil. The bird still coloured well and when I removed the foil I only had to baste it for around 5 minutes.
I made a new ‘stuffing’. Actually I created a hybrid – something between stuffing and a meat terrine. I can boast it was entirely successful and I will make it again. To begin the cooking process I placed it first in a bain-marie and then toward the end removed the lid and disposed of the bain-marie (water bath) to reduce the excess juices and to help a light crusty texture to form on top. I have ended up freezing the leftovers since I over catered and made two.
The ham was also cooked in the lidded BBQ. I did not depart from my normal coating. I scored the fat in a diamond pattern and studded it with cloves and a few star anise, then encrusted the whole top with a Tasmanian Dijon style mustard and patted on light brown sugar. But we were so full, we couldn’t eat it on the day. The ham had to wait until the next day to be enjoyed. That is a first in our household.
The steamed Christmas Pudding I made this year was a success, I changed the recipe and went with one that had figs and dates included, so it was a little bit chunkier and so healthy! Another departure from the usual custard was to make Maggie Beer’s Brandy Butter recipe. The only problem was that we could not eat it until 9pm – and even an afternoon walk down to the beach did not create any more space in the tummy at normal dinner time. A good reason might be the big parsnip and butternut sour dough bread pudding laced with brandy that we served with the turkey or was it the two entrees. If there was a theme this year it was Brandy, it went into the Christmas Cake, the Christmas Pudding, the stuffing, the bread pudding and then there was the rich Brandy Butter. I had the good sense to resist pouring brandy over the pudding! Roz