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?
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.
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.
I mean, c'mon! It has SPIKES ON ITS TONGUE.
It tasted pretty amazing though, matched with fresh dill mayonnaise. That pink flesh was so so soft.
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.
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.
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). :)
Nonno brought teeny tiny baby rocket from his garden for one of the salads.
Other food highlights!
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...
...and last but not least a few kilos of delicious übercherries!