And……….it’s done!

It is slightly obsessive to be writing a blog post about Christmas dinner, barely two hours after it’s been eaten. However I am here, more on the impetus of my mother, a proud mother, rather than my own steam. In fact, she is sitting here by me, watching the process, reading as I write. I am tuckered out but still, she doesn’t ask for much. Most of the time! Christmas dinner (and everything else) would not have run so smoothly, without her being sous chef / dish and pot cleaner. At least it meant I didn’t have to do the haka to get things going!

I apologise for the bitty photos. I knew, unquestionably, that I would not have the chance to snap shots at the table. I would be shot down with evil glares and so, had to take whatever pictures I could as the food came out of the oven. Obsessed? Moi?

So, turkey was on the menu. Of course. A frozen one is the only option here in Doha and I slathered it under the skin with garlic butter. The Scotsman recommended the American method of blasting the turkey at the start and then letting it cook on a low heat for hours, till done. I, for once, took his suggestion and I am so glad I did. Before anyone starts to bombard me with health and safety issues; I have a meat thermometer and consulted it carefully before deciding the turkey was safe for human consumption. The bird was bronzed to perfection, succulent, done to a turn and outright delicious. I am wholly converted and will continue using this method, even if it means listening to The Scotsman gloating.

Other partners to the Turkey were cranberry sauce (love), Nigella’s Chestnut and Bacon stuffing (or rather Lidgate’s stuffing), brussel sprouts (converted my brothers), roast potatoes (never underestimate the time it takes, particularly in a cantankerous oven. I had to finish mine off on the stove) and gravy (always make loads). Pudding was a Yule Log, a first for me, and I am happy to report that it exceeded my expectations of my own capabilities. Moist, light and chocolatey. Perfect.

My family did me justice and demolished their ‘tea’. I barely have leftovers except for a few seriously good sarnies tomorrow. All in all, I am satisfied.

More than all this though, is being surrounded by the noise, banter, shouting, laughing of people I love around me. Even if I bicker with some of them (brother!!) along the way! In the end its not about what’s on the table, but the people around it. But I am grateful, that through food, I am able to show, how much it means for me to have them here.

And I think, they get that.

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13 comments

  1. Oh my!! What a beautiful spread! What a lucky family you have to cook such beautiful food! I am so envious that you get to be the cook at Christmas – it may be another decade or two before I have the honour. We are currently visiting family in France over the holiday season (thus limited Internet access but I couldn’t wait to comment here!). Your Yule Log looks magnificent, though I won’t show my husband’s great-aunt who had in previous years called hers a Yule Log until I requested one this year (which I have not tried of hers). Worried that my knowledge of baking exceeded the average person’s, she had to confess that her “Yule Log” was actually just a chocolate loaf cake covered with thick chocolate frosting. If only I could have whipped up one like yours! Looks like you’re having a wonderful time in the kitchen and also with your visiting family. Enjoy the rest of your holidays and we will “catch up” when I am back :-) Thanh xx

    • Thanks Thanh!! How darn sweet of you to post when you have limited access! Had to have a chuckle at your hub’s great-aunt..that’s a good food story to tell! Seriously though, that log is so easy but SO impressive and yummy. Careful what you wish for though, you might get caught out being asked to make Christmas dinner every year once they catch on!

      Hope you are having a lovely time in France, Thanh, Merry Christmas to you and yours! Looking forward to a catch up :-)

  2. melanie

    please, tell me you have sent some of that sumptuous turkey with Keith on the flight back tonite…
    if not …then salivating over the photos is the only was to go….

  3. It’s hard not to read that and wish I had a seat at your Christmas table. Your sense of family comes across so strongly, and your food looks beautiful. Merry Christmas to you, and a happy new year.

  4. Hannah de Bevy de La Faverge

    Caroline, looks and sounds like a wonderful Christmas! Your Yule Log looks devine. I made my first this year, it looked ok but just didn’t quiet hit the spot! Who’s recipe did you use for yours? Was it Nigella’s Christmas one? I may do another run for New Year!

    • Thanks Hannah :-) Yes it was Nigella’s Yule log from her Christmas book. She also has one in Feast which is identical, except that she rolled it from the short end and Christmas says roll it from the long end, which is what I did. The best part is that it can be done in advance, which always make things much easier. Plus, on sitting, I feel that the fatless sponge absorbs moisture and becomes totally delicious. I had my doubts, if I am being perfectly honest, on sampling a bit of the sponge after it came out of the oven. But I always find, that chocolate in any cake form, always improves on a day’s sitting.

      Just don’t do what I did, and unload the sponge onto the unlined part of the baking parchment (!!!!). Its a good thing it was going to be slathered in buttercream!

  5. Hannah de Bevy de La Faverge

    Caroline, I just made this! I was annoyed with the last one and wanted to try again and as the girls were amusing themselves I got on with it! Very very good and an improvement on my last attempt! Funny you should say that about the parchment because I tipped it out and then when I rolled it up it stuck a bit but as you say thank goodness for the buttercream. I rolled it from the short side but I think it would have been better rolled from the long side, giving smaller slices as it is rather rich! One niggle, I do find that the buttercream is slightly grainy from the icing sugar despite sieving and whisking a long time with the butter and chocolate. Do you get that silky smooth icing? If so, how?

    • Oh good, phew! As for this buttercream, yes I found it grainy too. I have a chocolate frosting recipe from the Love Bakery book that is much smoother and I would probably use that on this kind of cake in the future….it also has the benefit of being a 1:2 ratio of butter to sugar, cocoa powder and some milk which might all contribute to a lighter, silkier texture. I can email you the recipe for that if you like Hannah.

      I also have another idea about a smooth as silk buttercream, and the method is very different from anything I have made myself. But I need to consult Twinks about it, it’s her method and recipe and I myself, have yet to try it. When I do I will definitely give you a shout Hannah :-)

  6. Hannah de Bevy de La Faverge

    Yes please Caroline, that would be great! Thanks. And do update me on any new recipes/methods!

    I was thinking I’d like to do a Black Forest version with perhaps morello cherries soaked in kirch and whipped cream but think it’ll have to be trial and error before I work out the perfect recipe (afterall it could just be a Roulade rather than a Yule Log couldn’t it?).

    • Absolutely, the BFG inspired roulade sounds delicious :-) You really could fill it with all manner of things, flavour wise, it’s highly versatile. I guess, once you’ve gotten over the fear of rolling it out, you can knock out a roulade anytime, anyhow! Summertime versions of cream with strawberries…ooooh….Coffee and chocolate….oooh oooh chocolate and chestnut…YUMMO!

      Ok better stop before I drool to a pittance!

  7. really fantastic looking food. that Yule log is awesome!

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