Monday 27 December 2010

Christmas Day with the family


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.

Christmas tableNigella

First course was "pesce misto", starting with Mum's excellent garlicky prawn pâté (recipe here).

Prawn pate

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.

Secondo piattoIspirato dalla bloody Gaga

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!

Nonno col Grange

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.

Shortbread, cherries, mince tarts


Do you like our Christmas ribbons?Smooch

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!

Christmas Night 500


Clare said...

Are you taking applications to join your family? :-)
That feast looks AMAZING! Thank you for sharing

Gastronomy Gal said...

Looks like a fabulous day- so great your Nonno got to spend lunch with you too - bill granger's stuffing may just be on the christmas list for next year,.

Esz said...

Yay for the Pinot Noir trumping the Grange ehehe. :-)

Your Xmas lunch looks fabulous!

wakeless said...

You've got a nice little 8 hand, if your partner has something similar. Or maybe it's all in the kitty.

Playing 500 with my family is always a mission, we all love it, but end up hating each other afterwards.

Purple Boots said...

Yum! Your family dinner looks delicious. The glazed ham looks especially amazing.

Hannah said...

What a wonderful feast and family! I wish I could channel Nigella as well as your sister :D And that semifreddo - heavenly! What I wouldn't've given to have had that at our table instead of Christmas pudding...

Emily said...

Feast looks amazing... love that you finished the night of with 500! Solid.

Unknown said...

What a day Claire. Just love the food - nad teh Grange was noted:-)

Nigel said...

Truly divine. Maeve O'Meara needs to take her Food Safari to your family's Christmas lunch next year!

Nigel said...

This is divine! Maeve O'Meara needs to take her Food Safari to your family's Christmas lunch next year!

Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) said...

The ham looks sooooo good! I can almost taste it :D Too bad my family doesn't really celebrate Christmas, maybe if I showed them your post, I can convert them :)

Paul said...

That all looks fantastic, especially the ham.
I have Movida Rustica and I reckon it is a fantastic book - but you probably didn't need me to tell you that. I've heard that the Max Allen book is excellent as well.
Nice pickups!

Rosa said...

Lovely Post, even brought a tear to my eye (so glad your family was able to be together)- thank you for sharing!

claire said...

Thank you to all of you for your kind words! I'd been debating whether or not to do a Christmas post this year (given the food is often variations on a previously-repeated theme), so I'm glad the post generated a positive response. :-)

maddy@ravenous said...

Claire no wonder you are so passionate about good food, look at the standard of cooking you were brought up on!! Looks like it would have been an amazing feast.

susan said...

All that food looks amazing! I love a good glazed ham at christmas. Actually I love glazed ham anytime!

Matt said...

I think it's awesome that Melbourne Gastronome has a Nonna and Nonno tag!

Look after them & spend as much time with them as possible.....I miss mine very very much..they knew stuff
:/ :D