Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Christmas that was

Christmas table

Christmas was very enjoyable for our family this year, and a big part of that was due to the fact that my brother Buster recently returned to us after 23 months of living overseas. In his wisdom, my brother reckons Melbourne Gastronome would be improved if every photo looked more like the two below. What say you, readers?

Buster says: magnifico!Buster's pick of the day

I spent Christmas Day back at the family ranch, where Mum and Dad hosted lunch for the Italian half of our family. The centrepiece of the first course was a impressive-looking salmon trout, which their butcher had smoked overnight.

Christmas table

Of course, when I say "impressive", what I really mean is "prehistoric and utterly terrifying". Looking at this fish for more than a few seconds MAY give you nightmares.

Salmon trout

I mean, c'mon! It has SPIKES ON ITS TONGUE.

Salmon trout

It tasted pretty amazing though, matched with fresh dill mayonnaise. That pink flesh was so so soft.

Salmon trout

My sister Birdie stepped up and offered to be in charge of glazing the Christmas ham. With some suggestions from Mum, Bird made up the glaze recipe (for the record, orange juice, orange rind, maple syrup, mustard, brown sugar and studded with cloves), then tirelessly applied layer after layer of glaze.

Birdie glazing the hamBirdie glazing the ham

Mum reprised her excellent garlicky prawn pâté and Dad selected two bottles of pinot noir (a 1996 Bindi and a 2000 Stefano Lubiana) and a bottle of cab sav (Turramurra Estate) for main course.

Prawn pateChristmas day wines

My gorgeous Nonna again brought a chicken she'd stuffed and roasted. Her favourite Christmas present was the calendar Mum made for her featuring photos of family members (I graced the pages as Miss January, and long-time readers of Melbourne Gastronome may recall that the cover photo was taken last October when Buster very briefly visited us from Italy). :)

Nonna and the chickenNonna and the calendar

Nonno brought teeny tiny baby rocket from his garden for one of the salads.

Baby rocket

Other food highlights!

Christmas hamRoast chicken
Roast potatoesBeetroot and rocket salad

The dessert platters included panettone, Christmas cake, mince pies, a selection of dried fruits and rosewater sugared almonds from 53 Degrees East at Prahran Market, shards of addictive Sugadeaux butter toffee with fleur de sel and vanilla bourbon...

Christmas sweets

...and last but not least a few kilos of delicious übercherries!

Christmas cherries


qwazymonkey said...

Hi, I'm a Malaysian food blogger and I just wanna say that I've really enjoyed reading your blog since my visit to Melbourne in June. Keep it coming.

Have a great new year ahead!

claire said...

Thanks QM, glad you enjoy! I really loved the food I had in KL on my last visit in 2006 - next time I'm heading to Malaysia will definitely ask you for some foodie tips.

A great new year to you too!

Esz said...

Christmas at your parent's place looks so awesome. A nice selection of wines too! We have been plowing through quite a few bottles here at home and its just me and the boyfriend hehe. My folks sent up a whole new case which includes a siegerrebe - can't wait to try it.

Belle@Ooh, Look said...

You have a lovely funny family, and what great food! Happy new year, hope 2010 is good to you.

Johanna said...

hope you have a happy new year claire - your family dinners always look great - but that fish is very scary - and I couldn't help wondering what buster was saying is 'this big'???

claire said...

Thanks Esz. I'm very intrigued by the sound of that siegerrebe - let me know what it was like!

Thanks Belle! Same to you too. :)

Hi Johanna, thanks. In the photo on the left I believe he was trying to emulate an Italian chef: he'd just kissed his fingertips and shouted "Magnifico!" :)

Adrian @ Food Rehab said...

hehe, check out that fish. Whoa! I'm diggin those desserts- nothing beats mince pies over xmas. Well, that and too much ham. :)

Temasek said...

I say it again Claire ... lets swop Christmases!! Sounds like you had a great one and hopefully New Years was just as exciting. Not sure about you but I'm definitely suffering from a surfeit of rich food and drink. All I want is a big bowl of steamed vegetables. And is your Dad as upset as us about the demise of Turramurra??

Gemma said...

Dear god that trout IS scary.

Also, is black cherries an Aussie Christmas thing? We had them at my parents' place too (none of us are originally from Australia). They were quite a delicious and welcome addition to the Christmas feasting.

(@snarkattack on Twitter)

Leanne said...

Looks like you had a wonderful Christmas!

Ahhh that fish totally freaked me out! But I love Salmon! :D

Another Outspoken Female said...

Oh wow, my meat eating father would so have loved that spread! Love the look of the smoked fish. Whose the secret smoker guy?

claire said...

Thanks Adrian! Me, I'm not much of a ham fan 11 months of the year, but I love me some Christmas ham.

Haha Temasek, I remember your exchange proposal from last Christmas. And yes, sad news about Turramurra!

Hi Gemma. I think cherries are a bit of an Aussie Christmas thing, if only because Christmas is the brief window when cherries taste best. The rule of thumb I was taught is that one should only eat cherries in months that start with the letter 'D'. :)

Thanks Leanne! The salmon trout looks a lot creepier than regular salmon, eh?

Thanks, AOF. I'm pretty sure that the butcher who smoked the fish for Mum and Dad is Clarendon Meats - will double-check.