It’s been really very busy for me to the point that I have no idea what to do with my free time now–except to turn some photos and thoughts into a blog post, perhaps.
I hope the holidays are treating you all well, or at least, not any worse than usual. This year I have found the holiday spirit to be especially pervasive–one day I found myself tunelessly humming a Christmas carol as I pounded some curry paste. It hasn’t been so bad, though. In fact, it’s been quite a lovely Christmas for me. There was a lot of cooking and it was only mildly stressful. This was the unremarkable but delicious menu:
- Roast turkey + turkey gravy (recipe here – the secret is butter-soaked muslin)
- Cranberry-orange sauce (recipe)
- Roast potatoes and garlic with butter (my favourite thing to eat ever ever ever)
- Roast parsnips with maple syrup (recipe)
- Chestnut stuffing (which Mr Pear’s mother made–you’ll have to ask her for the recipe!)
- Brussels sprouts with pancetta (adapted from here)
- Other edibles made by me: spiced fruit punch, Nigella’s Christmas morning muffins (consumed on Christmas Eve afternoon with added chocolate chips – it is much better with the cranberries!), roast chestnut cookies.
This was just for 5 people. I couldn’t have done it alone: my partner’s mother let me use her lovely kitchen, made the stuffing, and took care of everything else. Also I had Mr. Pear help me at several points, most notably heaving the turkey out of the oven onto the serving platter and adding potatoes to bubbling hot fat. Well, who am I going to put first–my family or my Christmas dinner?
I am kidding. Mostly.
I got the turkey into the oven by about 9.30am and we had lunch at about 2.30pm. I used to go for the whole brining fandango but I departed from it this year in favour of just lots of salt, pepper, and fine butter-soaked muslin. The drapery got progressively uglier as 4 hours 25 minutes passed and there was a slightly alarming moment when the fabric stuck to the turkey, but it was all very good–crisp skin and moist, flavourful flesh. But for me the high point of the meal was roast potatoes and garlic – par-boiled, roughed up potatoes and 2 heads of garlic roasted in olive oil and butter until everything is crisp without and creamy within. I love them far too much.
We had quite a bit left over but that will be summarily dispatched. Mr. Pear enjoys cold turkey and stuffing sandwiches; I like everything plated up and reheated again, and also this:
Spaghetti tossed with a handful of turkey and leftover pan juices
and gravy topped with plenty of powdered bird’s eye chilli. There’s no accounting for taste sometimes.
We’ve about a plateful of remaining leftovers which will shortly be turned into bubble and squeak cakes. I look forward to this greatly.
Have a bonus picture of a finger sloth I made for Mr Pear:
It’s needle-felted from carded sheep’s wool wound over a pipe cleaner armature.
You can see more things I’ve needle-felted here, I am taking it back up again. It is my goal to be more creative next year!