Christmas Culinary Celebrations 2010

30 Dec

So it’s taken me almost until next year to recover from Christmas and recall all the lip smacking details to bring you this post. I was up until about 2am on Christmas eve, simmering with anticipation over the Christmas breakfast menu and woke up at 6.30am to get started with the help of my sister Priscilla.

Mini pikelets

1 cup (150g) self-raising flour

1 tbs caster sugar

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup (185ml) milk

1 egg

Butter for frying

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, combine the egg and milk in a jug and whisk into the dry ingredients until smooth. Using a tablespoon, pour the mixture into a fry pan with melted butter at medium heat and create small circles. You may need the help of another spoon to scoop the mixture off the tablespoon and into the fry pan. Flip the pikelets as soon as they are golden brown, it doesn’t take long.

The pikelets were served with:

Creme fraiche mixed with horseradish cream, freshly chopped dill and chopped capers

Smoked salmon

Bacon

Mulberry jam

Cream

Coconut chocolate butter

Ricotta

Honey

Cinnamon

Butter

Mini quiches with sage, kalamata olive, feta and cherry tomato

Pastry

2 cups plain flour

150g cold butter, chopped

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup water, chilled

Add the flour and cold, chopped butter to the blender.

Pulse until the ingredients form crumbs.

Add the egg yolk and chilled water and pulse again until the dough starts to come together.

Tip out the dough and knead together to form a smooth ball, cover with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for half an hour. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a few millimetres thickness and cut circles to fit your non-stick friand tray using a biscuit cutter or the opening of a glass.

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºc and press the pastry into the base of the friand tray. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and use the left over pastry to line the sides of the friand tray.

If you have any gaps or thin areas, use left over bits of pastry to patch it up and smooth it over as best as you can. It won’t be noticeable once the pastry is cooked and filled with the quiche mixture. Put the friand tray in the freezer for 15 minutes and then brush the pastry cases with some lightly beaten egg before baking for 12 minutes.

Filling

6 olives sliced in half length ways

12 sage leaves

6 cherry tomatos cut in half

12 1cm cubes of feta

1/2 cup of cheddar cheese grated

4 eggs

1/2 cup pure cream

cheddar cheese grated

Remove from the oven and place half an olive, 1 sage leaf and 1 piece of feta in each pastry case. Mix 3 eggs with 1/2 cup of cream and fill each pastry case leaving a few millimetres at the top. If the mix runs out, simply mix another egg with some cream to evenly fill the pastry cases.

Sprinkle on some cheddar cheese until the liquid mixture almost reaches the top of the pastry and place half a cherry tomato on top.

Bake the quiches for 20 minutes or until golden brown and the mixture is set.

You can serve these hot or cold. I let them cool and left them in the fridge overnight. Before breakfast was served I put the quiches back in the oven at 200ºc until they just warmed through and served them at room temperature. Turn the quiches out onto a dish or platter to serve.

Mini Fruit Skewers

Half a pineapple

1 kiwi fruit

1 orange

1 green apple

1 red apple

Small bunch of green grapes

Small bunch of red grapes

100 fancy toothpicks

Cut the fruit (except the grapes) into 1 or 2cm cubes and squeeze lime juice over the apple pieces to prevent them oxidising and turning brown. Insert the toothpicks through the middle of the fruit in any combination you like and vary the fruit if you wish.

Christmas drink

Pomegranate juice

Lime soda water

2 handfuls of fresh mint leaves

Seeds from half a pomegranate

Put the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves in a jug and pour half pomegranate juice and half lime soda water over the top.

For the past few years I’ve created handmade edible Christmas presents including flavoured salts, chilli and spice chocolate powder blends, and chocolate truffles. I’ve also made food inspired bath products like earl grey tea milk bath powder, and bath bombs resembling biscuits and truffles. This year I went with the Gourmetician theme and decorated everyone’s initials in rose buds for the ladies and chilli flakes for the gents.

Following breakfast was a late lunch, blending into dinner at my sister Priscilla’s place and we cooked up a storm!

This recipe is adapted from The Food Of India cookbook that my friend Antoniette gave me.

Lamb Biryani

1kg boneless lamb cut into 3cm cubes

8cm piece of ginger grated

2 cloves of garlic crushed

2 tablespoons of garam masala

1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

2/3 cup coriander chopped

1/4 cup mint leaves chopped

500g basmati rice washed

4 onions thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

125g butter

250ml thick plain yoghurt

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads soaked in 2 tablespoon of hot milk

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Sealing dough

1 1/2 cups plain flour

Water

Combine the lamb, ginger, garlic, garam masala, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander and mint in a bowl. Put the sliced onions in a sieve, sprinkle with salt and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse the onions and pat dry on a tea towel.

Fry the onions in oil and butter until golden brown and drain through a sieve reserving the oil and butter.

Fry the lamb in oil and butter in batches (to prevent the meat from stewing) until well browned. Add the lamb, any remaining marinade, browned onions and yoghurt to a saucepan and simmer for 40 mins or until the lamb is tender.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook the rice for 5 mins and strain. Transfer the simmered lamb mixture into one or two oven safe pots that have oven safe lids. Cover the lamb with an even layer of rice, drizzle with the saffron and milk and the left over butter and oil.

Combine the flour in a bowl with just enough water to make a dough, roll it into a sausage and press the dough around the top of the pot. Press the lid firmly into the dough and you will hear the suction as it becomes air tight to retain the moisture during cooking. Put the pot/s into a pre-heated, 220ºc oven for 40 minutes. To serve, break the seal by hitting the dough with a wooden spoon until enough cracks off allowing you to loosen and remove the lid.

This part is as hard as trying to open a pinata blindfolded and you really do feel like a kid waiting for the lollies to fall out when you’re as hungry as we were! The dough sets like a rock but it serves it purpose of trapping the steam.

Priss served the biryani with boiled eggs and a yoghurt salad we grew up eating. It’s natural yoghurt mixed with chopped tomato, mint leaves, coriander a pinch of salt and a splash of water to make it the consistency in between yoghurt and butter milk. Another tradition our family has continued to follow is eating potato chips as a substitute for papadums. I’m not sure if this started because papadums weren’t available when dad and his family came to Australia or if potato chips were just a novelty for them at the time but either way, it stuck and it’s been passed on to our generation.

We also made roast pork but by the time we had dinner we were so caught up in the Christmas festivities that we didn’t take any shots. My word, this pork was delish and the crackling was as crispy and crunchy as it gets!

Roast Pork Belly

Pork belly

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

8 cloves of garlic sliced

Zest of 1 lemon

Olive oil

Chilli salt

Lemon juice of half a lemon

Potatoes

Peel and chop the potatoes, place them in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Mix the remaining ingredients and massage into the pork belly pushing the garlic slices into the meat. Place the lemon skin in the tray with the potatoes and lay the pork belly over the top. Cover with a lid or foil and roast in a pre-heated 200ºc oven for 1 hour or until the pork and potatoes are cooked through.

Slice the skin off the pork belly, sprinkle with sea salt and place under the grill until the skin bubbles and becomes crackling.

I apologise to the pork and the readers for not having an image to honour this spectacular piece of meat.

Topping off our Christmas culinary celebration was dessert.

Cardamom Panna Cotta

2 cups pure cream

1/4 cup coconut sugar

7 green cardamom pods split open

2 teaspoons gelatin powder

Boiling water

Place the cream, coconut sugar and split cardamom pods in a saucepan and bring to the boil on the stove.

Remove from the heat as soon as the cream mixture begins to boil. Mix the gelatin with just enough boiling water for it to dissolve completely and stir into the hot cream mixture. Strain into a jug and pour into the moulds or cups. Leave in the fridge for a few hours or until set.

To serve, place the moulds or cups in hot water for a few seconds and turn the panna cotta out onto a plate. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios, edible rose petals and pomegranate seeds.

Thanks to all my family who spent the day with me and made Christmas 2010 so special. A special thank you to Priss for hosting Christmas lunch and dinner, and Miriam and Emily Kannedy for taking some amazing shots at breakfast.

Now, what to cook for New Years Eve???

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2 Responses to “Christmas Culinary Celebrations 2010”

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  1. Summer Hill Organic Fruit Market « gourmetician - January 18, 2011

    […] also discovered coconut sugar by Loving Earth which I’ve tried in my cardamom panna cotta and biscuit recipes as a healthy substitute for white […]

  2. Roasted Fennel, Blood Orange and Buffalo Mozzarella « gourmetician - July 24, 2012

    […] this with roasted potatoes, pork and crackling and you may never want to eat a roast any other […]

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