Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Year's Eve Feast

Since this is a new year's resolution I should start with ushering in the new year. It has sort of become tradition to have a Christmas dinner at our apartment to celebrate the new year. Having begun as an early Christmas dinner for just the flatmates it is now on New Year's eve with lots of friends.

This year was the biggest yet with 18 people to feed. I spend several days working on the menu using my favourite recipe source bbcgoodfood.co.uk
Turkey with orange and thyme
Lemon and herb stuffing http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/72613/lemon-and-herb-stuffing
Roast potatoes
Cranberry, pecan and ginger loaf http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3051/cranberry-pecan-and-ginger-loaf
Trifle (pretty much the same as last year).

I multiplied the veg recipes by 3. Which in retrospect was a ridiculous amount of food and most of it didn't get eaten.

We could only find a medium sized turkey but it worked out in the end. I used orange zest and thyme butter to flavour it and giftwrapped it in bacon.

The ham was massive:7kg and had to be boned and rolled. The rolling was particularly challenging but by tying in X shapes the ham was defeated and managed to fit into the stock pot. It was soaked overnight and then boiled after the water was changed. In Molecular Gastronomy by Herve This I read about how cooked meat reabsorbs the liquid it lost during the cooking process while it cools so I always let my ham cool in the cooking liquid overnight. The next day I scored the skin, glazed it with honey and mustard (wholegrain and dijon) and roasted it.

I had to modify a couple of the recipes. The cranberry and orange stuffing in particular needed some work. The recipe suggested that the sugar be melted by heating directly and then the butter added. I really don't like the idea of heating sugar directly as it's a great way to burn your sugar. It's better to heat it with the butter to make a caramel of sorts.

I increased the quantity of spices used for the loaf (doubled) and used mixed berries (blue berries, cranberries and sultanas) and about 1.3 times what they used.

I might put up the trifle recipe some time soon. 

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