Tuesday, December 23, 2008

100 posts and the Christmas menu is decided

Well - what a suprise - I went to create my post and what do you know - it's my 100th post! Just popping in to say that the Christmas countdown has begun. The present shopping is done, the food shopping is done - even the booze is bought and stashed away!

So - Christmas meal (it's never lunch or dinner - it's somewhere in the middle) is decided. We will nibble on Bar-Bits (see left) along with slices of fresh bread and Mum's bringing her chicken pate (receipe from The Old House at Wickham circa 1972) - then it's boneless roast chicken with waterchestnut stuffing, Nigella's couscous with pomegranate (which my sister-in-law served up on Sunday and it was YUM) and a spinach and walnut salad. Oh and we have to have crispy potatoes with sea-salt and rosemary because Emily said so.
Trad. Christmas Pudding (courtesy of Mum again)with mandatory Hard Sauce and then a cornucopia of sweet things to pick at till we all feel like throwing up - Christmas Cake (made by me - we'll be making it tommorrow), rumballs (ditto) and Crostoli (from Harris Farm) and Magenbrot and other little lebekuchen from Aldi. Oh - and cherries, white peaches and mangoes for anyone who thinks that eating some fruit will make them feel virtuous. Drinks will be Champagne cocktails for me, Mum and Kylie (my sister) to start and then either a white or fruity red according to how people feel - me I think I'll stick to the Champagne! Dad and Steven will no doubt start with a beer and join us at the wine. One of the good things about hosting Christmas is - no worries about drink driving!

Receipes are as follows:


1 box of Cheerios
1 box of Kelloggs Shredded mini wheat
1 box Kelloggs Crispix
bag of mixed nuts
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon onion salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt
250g butter

Put all the dry cereal, nuts and pretzels into a large baking dish. Cut up the butter into small pats and spread around the dish. Sprinkle the different salts over the top. Bake in a slow oven (150 C) for 1/2 hour or until toasted - stir every 10 minutes or so to bake evenly.

Chicken Liver Pate from The Old House at Wickham

1 lb chicken liver
1/4 lb chicken breast OR pork fillet
4oz smoked bacon
3 cloves garlic
1 chopped onion
Salt and Pepper
1/4 pint of cream
1 glass of sherry or brandy
2 eggs
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon water

Method: Toss the meats and them toss in hot butter. In a separate pan sweat the onions and garlic till translucent. Chop the meats and retain any juices (for a smoother pate you might want to process half or so in the wizz). Put mixture in a large bowl with herbs and seasonings. Mix the eggs, cream and sherry separately. Mix the cornflour and water. Combine the whole. Line a greased casserole dish with the bacon. Fill with mixture and cover with more bacon. Cook in a bain marie for 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 300F or 150C

Boneless Chicken with Waterchestnut Stuffing

4 rashers bacon
1 clove garlic
90g butter
2 small red capsicums (that's bell peppers for those in the US)
Salt and pepper
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2.5 cm piece (1 inch) piece of green ginger (or a big dollop from a jar if you can't get fresh)
6 shallots (that's spring onions if you are English and scallions if your American)
2 sticks celery
250g can waterchestnuts (see asian food aisle in the supermarket)
2 eggs
1 large chicken (or turkey) or 2 smaller chickens

Cut down the backbone of the chook making sure not to go all the way through the carcass. Use a paring knife to remove all the bones except for the wings and the drumsticks. (Bones make great stock by the way!)
Heat the butter in the pan and add the peeled and chopped onions, crushed garlic, peeled and grated ginger, seaded and chopped capsicums, chopped celery and chopped bacon. Saute gently until onion is tender and remove from heat. Place in a bowl breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, chopped shallots, drained and chopped waterchestnuts, lightly beaten eggs and sauted mixture with any of the fat from the pan and mix well. Stuff the carcass of the chicken - sewing it up with needle and thread as you go (use a bright colour it's easier to find) Sew it up completely - turn it up so that the sewn side is facing down in the pan and truss the wings and legs if needed to further keep its shape. Stuffing is enough for a 3kg (6lb) turkey. To serve - let it stand for 15 minutes covered in foil. Prior to serving pull out the cotton thread (make sure you got all of it!) Serving is as easy as cutting into quarters and putting onto the plate. Each chicken generously serves 4.

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