Tuesday, 30 December 2008

25.12.08: Traditional turkey dinner and birthday cheesecake

Dessert first: He made the most sumptuous birthday cake She's ever had (yes indeedy, he made it), the macadamia toffee cheesecake from Ottolenghi. Behold and be jealous: that's a deep cheesecake base made with real vanilla bean; a handcrafted macadamia nut-brittle topping; and lashings of praline-like caramel draping the base. (We did wait til after dinner to dig in, but it deserves top billing, doncha think?)

He also sourced the giant prawns you see before you, and boiled 'em up good to serve with some M&S salmon mousse and fresh leaves for a jolly xmas starter at His family 'ome.

By the time we got to the main course, we were all a little out of focus. His mum and youngest bro tended to the turkey; His mum did the sprouts and red cabbage (it's her recipe, after all); bro sorted out the roast potatoes with a rubbing of goose fat, and the two bros together managed a gravy. What was She doing, you ask? Chilling out in the den with a movie (a birthday girl has certain privileges).

HE SAYS: The cake was a little daunting but came out great, lots of steps and only a few mishaps along the way to create a very tasty volcano from close encounters. The rest of the meal was also satisfying; the turkey especially came out all nish and tender (maybe it was the ample strips of bacon that were laid on its back while cooking). Me mum's red cabbage was not better then my modified version but a little less vinegary and intense. The 'taters roasted in the goose fat also never fail (well, how could they?). Oh, and the giganto shrimp were surprisingly tasty for their size. Loads of food with no drama makes for a happy christmas.

SHE SAYS: I admit to misgivings about the prospect of xmas dinner his year, and quite happily
also admit they were unfounded. The monster prawns were sweet and easy-peel, given extra flavour by bro-in-law's coriander-chili dressing. The big bird was perfect: golden, tender and juicy. I didn't really need gravy, but took a smidge for tasting purposes (not bad, not fab). The potatoes were equally amazing, but I could only eat one by the time I got around to them, much as I wanted to have more.

Red cabbage was the main course stunner, prompting me to ask what might be different from the 14-yr-old recipe we've so carefully archived, and lo! All these years we have missed out a few cloves to spice things up. I could have guessed but didn't. Notes will be made.

Now, the cheesecake. Oh my. The base was so densely rich and mildly sweet, I would have happily had it alone. But then I would have been denied the delights of the fudgy caramel, plus the crackling roasty macadamias. A blissful balance of nutty and nectar, not to mention creamy and crunchy. (Thanks, sweet thang.)

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