In keeping with tradition from the last three years, here's a post covering the Gastronome family Christmas lunch. The Anglo half of our family celebrated Christmas the weekend before up in Sydney, so Christmas Day we were with the Italian half, with Mum and Dad hosting.
Nonna loved the calendar Mum gave her featuring a different family photo on each page.
A good haul of food and wine books!
My sister Birdie's responsibilities were setting the table and glazing the ham. She claimed that the table setting design was "inspired by Lady Gaga", and did a great job of channeling Nigella when glazing the ham.
First course was "pesce misto", starting with Mum's excellent garlicky prawn pâté (recipe here).
The other seafood we had was perennial Christmas favourite gravlax, Sydney Rock oysters that Dad shucked in the laundry, Nonna's folpo (dialect for octopus, which she had boiled, peeled, chopped and marinated in olive oil, garlic, peperoncino and parsley) and Paola's take on sarde in saor.
Sarde in saor is a traditional Venetian recipe of sardines marinated in a wonderfully sweet and sour combination of onions, pine nuts, raisins and peppercorns. Paola couldn't find decent sardines on Christmas Eve so she tried substituting flounder instead. My brother Buster went back for thirds, even though he knew we had another two courses left...
Second course was Birdie's glazed ham, stuffed turkey, fluffy roasted potatoes and pumpkin, peperonata, a salad of baby spinach leaves and a Black Russian insalata caprese.
Mum used Bill Granger's turkey stuffing recipe, with cranberries, pistachio and sage. It was bloody good.
Christmas Day this year was particularly poignant for my family because my Nonno has been unwell and had a major operation last week. Luckily for us, he was transferred out of hospital to a rehab centre on Christmas Eve and was allowed to come along to Christmas lunch. He requested that Dad open a special bottle of wine and so Nonno tasted his first Grange (1988). Turned out we liked the Bannockburn 2000 Pinot Noir better!
Paola made a sensational dessert, semifreddo pralinato alla nocciola. The hazelnut praline was ground up until it made a thick paste.
Mum made shortbread and her friend Mandy's mince tarts, and we managed to find some decent cherries despite the damage to the Australian cherry crop.
We finished off the evening in true Christmas style, playing a couple of rubbers of 500, listening to Handel's Messiah and drinking Le Brun-Servenay champagne. We had a lovely Christmas and I hope you did too!