Christmas 2012: Christmas Dinner

12/26/2012 01:16:00 PM


Merry Christmas everybody! I hope you've all been enjoying the silly season and eating way too much! We had our family dinner on Christmas Eve, and here's what we ate!

Christmas Dinner for 6

Roast Turkey
Butter and Sage Roast Potatoes
Roast Butternut Squash with Sage and Pine Nuts
Crispy Roast Kale
Roast Carrots
Red Cabbage

Christmas Pudding with Crème Anglaise

Christmas Dinner

As you can see, the menu I chose was similar to last year's Christmas Dinner, with just a few little changes. I love, love love Gordon Ramsay's turkey and gravy - pure juicy deliciousness and no need for any brining or other difficult tricks. The potatoes were Jamie Oliver's perfect roast potatoes, roasted in butter (zomg!), with sage, rosemary and garlic for extra flavour. They're crispy, chewy, fluffy and gorgeous!

The other sides were our usual red cabbage, some crisp roast kale (great for texture contrast and extra vitamins), roast carrots (just roasted in some olive oil with a little salt and pepper) and some roast butternut squash with sage and pine nuts. Woah!

Normally with my Christmas dinner posts, I just provide links to the original recipes and tell y'all the different little adaptations I made - but you know what? This means when Christmas rolls around it takes me forever to marry up all the changes to try and figure out what I did the year before. So this year I'm publishing my adapted recipes right here, as well as my original ones. (The adapted recipes are all already online anyway, sources are clearly stated, recipes are rewritten in my own words and with my adaptations etc etc etc.)

Next year I'll just be able to bring up this post and start cooking! Future Sarah: you're welcome.

The whole dinner wasn't that difficult: Sandra and I did the shopping a couple of days before, my dad picked up the turkey on the day, and we started cooking around 2pm with dinner starting at 7pm. (Please note we weren't cooking for the entire five hours; in fact, most of that time was spent on the couch watching Nigella's Christmas Kitchen while waiting for things to roast in the oven!) Like most people, we only have one oven, so we roasted things one after the other: turkey first, with the butternut squash underneath, then potatoes and carrots, and finally the kale. This meant that the butternut squash wasn't piping hot, but it was all delicious, and hot gravy solves everything! (I've found that roast turkey stays hot for a good few hours, loosely tented in foil, and it needs to rest for at least an hour anyway - so don't stress!)

Yay for Nigella marathons

At this point in the post, I feel it's time for a little drink! Sandra made an awesome Christmas cocktail, inspired by the "Pig" cocktail at Spice Temple: Prosecco, gin and lychee syrup, lychees and soda water. Cheers!


The Turkey
Bacon Blanket!

Mmm... roasted turkey

The Turkey
(Adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Roast Turkey with Lemon, Parsley and Garlic Butter)

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Stir together 125 grams soft butter, 2 minced cloves of garlic, the zest of one lemon (keep the lemon for the cavity), a small handful chopped parsley and some salt and pepper. Loosen the skin under the turkey, and spread the flavoured butter under the skin. Spread any extra butter on the outside of the skin, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oilPlace 2 peeled and halved onions, the zested lemon, and a few garlic cloves in the cavity. 
Roast the turkey, breast side up, for 15 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 180C. Cover the breast with 4 slices streaky bacon, and roast the turkey for 30 minutes a kilo, or until cooked. (Test by piercing the thickest part of the thigh - the juices should be clear, not pink).
Place the turkey on a platter, remove the bacon blanket and all the flavourings from the cavity (keep it all for the gravy!). Tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for at least an hour.

The Gravy
So much flavour...
The Gravy
(Adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Turkey Gravy)

Pour as much fat out of the roasting tray as possible. Add the bacon and flavourings from the turkey cavity to the tray, with 2 chopped tomatoes and a sprig of rosemary. Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes, stirring to get all the sticky deliciousness off the tray. Pour in a bottle of dry white wine, and allow to simmer strongly until reduced by half. Pour in 600 millilitres of chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer strongly for about 10 minutes. Strain the gravy and discard all the extra bits. Thicken with a mixture of flour and milk, if desired. Serve HOT.

Roast Butternut Squash with Pine Nuts and Sage

Roast Butternut Squash with Pine Nuts and Sage
An Original recipe by Sarah Cooks

Wash one butternut squash. Trim the top and bottom, cut in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. (No need to peel). Toss with olive oil. Place in a baking dish, and roast at 180C for 20-30 minutes. Add a few sage leaves to the tray and allow to cook for another 20-30 minutes, until the sage is fragrant and the squash is softened and nicely browned in parts. Sprinkle over toasted pine nuts to serve.

Roast Potatoes

Butter-Roasted Potatoes
(Adapted from Jamie Oliver's "Perfect Roast Potatoes: Flavour Combo 2")

Peel 2 kilos of roasting potatoes, cut into medium chunks and rinse off the starch. Place the potatoes into a large pot of cold water and add a generous spoonful of salt. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and allow them to steam dry. (This can all be done in advance). 
Place 100 grams of butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a large roasting tray, and place in the oven so the butter can melt and the tray heats up. (I just put this under the turkey for the last 10 minutes of its cooking time). Carefully place the parboiled potatoes in the tray and toss to coat in the melted butter. Roast at 200C for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary, a small handful of sage leaves, 3-5 unpeeled garlic cloves, a drizzle of red wine vinegar and olive oil
Take the potatoes out of the oven and squish them down flat with a potato masher (for extra crispness). Pour over the herbs and garlic, and place back in the oven for another 30-45 minutes or until really crispy and delicious. Season generously with salt to serve.

Crispy Roast Kale

Crispy Roast Kale
(Sarah's version of a classic recipe)
Remove the tough stems from one bunch of kale. Rip the leaves into smallish pieces, wash under running water and dry thoroughly using a salad spinner. Place the leaves in a large baking dish in a shallow layer, pour over a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and toss with your hands to coat. Roast at 200C for 20-30 minutes, until it smells cooked (you'll understand what I mean when you cook this yourself), and the leaves are mostly crisp. Season generously with salt.

Christmas Dinner
So much food! So tasty! So good!

The pudding was barely any work at all: I made two last year and kept one in the freezer the whole year! Easy. (It was Nigella's Ultimate Christmas Pudding, recipe available on her website. I'm not publishing the recipe here because I didn't make any changes - it's perfect just as it is!) It takes three hours to steam, so I put it on as we started dinner, and kept topping it up with boiling water every now and then. I also made a vanilla bean crème anglaise to accompany it, which only takes about 15 minutes. (It's best if you make it at the last minute, but I thought this was a good excuse to get up and move around a bit between dinner and dessert!)

We flambéed it with Bacardi 151, which is actually over-proof, with an alcohol content of 75%! Eep! It's highly flammable: don't try this at home kids! (Or at least keep a fire blanket close by!)

Fire, fire!
And once the pretty flames subsided, it was time to eat!
Nigella's Ultimate Christmas Pudding
One year in the freezer and still good! So moist and wonderful - this pudding is fantastic, you must try it! I think I went a bit OTT with the vanilla bean (1 massive vanilla bean to 300 ml cream, 3 teaspoons caster sugar and 3 egg yolks) - but hey, it's Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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  1. What a beautiful meal. Merry Christmas!

  2. What a spread! The turkey with that glistening gravy, with all those awesome sides... not to mention the pudding that held up after a year in the freezer! So awesome. Happy holiday season! :D

  3. YEEEERM! Watch that puddung burn...BURN!

    Merry Christmas BQ

  4. A fabulous Christmas meal! I'm still not a fan of turkey but I love the idea of the nutty pine nuts with the soft roasted squash.

  5. I love kale chips! In fact I just made a batch tonight. They're the perfect thing to eat as a snack. Looks like you had a great Christmas Sarah! :D

  6. A plethora of food :D love it! Hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

  7. Jac - Thank-you so much! A (belated) merry Christmas to you too!

    Leaf - Thank-you!! I was really impressed with the pudding too!

    Adrian - Omg, flambeeing is SO MUCH FUN.

    Su-Lin - Aw thanks! I made that one up myself so I'm extra glad someone commented on it, hehe :)

    Lorraine - aren't they great for a healthy low-carb snack? So many vitamins too!

    Nic - Thank-you! I feel many more healthy recipes coming up in the new year...

    xox Sarah



My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.