Sunday, 3 January 2010

Christmas lunch #2

I like a traditional Christmas lunch - turkey, trimmings, etc. Without fail, I have had that traditional lunch at some point over the Christmas period, even as my family shrinks, expands, ages, modernises, dissipates and reforms. New techniques have been introduced over the years - goose fat on potatoes, parmesan on parsnips, pancetta and chestnuts with the sprouts - but the essential dishes are always the same:

Bread sauce
Cranberry sauce
Roast potatoes
Roast parsnips
Brussels Sprouts
Pigs in blankets

The most important things in that lunch for me are bread sauce (well-cloved) and the stuffing, which my mum makes every year from a Good Housekeeping recipe - chestnut puree, lemon zest, parsley, bacon and breadcrumbs coming together so nicely, they'd do as a dish in themselves. My mum makes the cranberry sauce from scratch with generous shavings of orange zest.

A recent addition to the Christmas food experience is the turkey hunt. My sister is a free-ranging environmentalist and can quite easily live off food that supermarkets throw out. On some more Christmas Eves my sister has showed up at my mum's house with a couple of top notch turkeys that she picked out of M&S or Waitrose bins totally free. This year my mum had her offspring positioned in supermarkets across Edinburgh waiting for the turkeys to be reduced in price. At Morningside Waitrose other people were onto the same trick as me (those canny, tight-arsed Morningsiders!), and turkeys were flying (almost literally) off the shelves as soon as the halo'd red and white reduction sticker had been slapped on. My good timing helped us to get a gigantic organic, free range, bronze-feathered turkey for £27 (would have been £65!).

This Christmas was a funny one - my mum's husband was stuck abroad, my sister was stuck at a protest camp and, in the end, there was just three of us eating. It was an awesome dinner and we enjoyed it with a lovely bottle of Gew├╝rztraminer. I piled my plate so impossibly high, but still managed to finish every last morsel.

Needless to say, there were plenty of leftovers. I love re-creating the meal in smaller quantities until there is only leftover turkey. Then it's time for turkey pie, turkey curry, turkey soup, turkey risotto, turkey salad and so on.

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