Christmas is almost over (it doesn’t officially end until April when you find the last dried pine-needle under the couch cushion) and I thought it was about time to tell you about the Christmas Lunch: 2016 edition. For those who have been reading since the beginning, you know that my family goes a little over the top when we cook Christmas lunch (they have no choice in the matter and would far prefer a simple turkey instead of the behemoth I force them into). Since 2011 we have been cooking an at home degustation (lots of little courses) menu which at its height of weirdness was 15 courses for three people. 15 courses is too many in case you were wondering. Always stop at 14 courses.
This year my ever strict mother said we had to limit it to 8 courses. I know, her rule is overly draconian but there is little we can do about it – the Runawaykiwi household is one of the few remaining dictatorships in the world*. Since there were going to be seven of us for dinner at the start of the planning process we decided to do 1 course each. But as I got more and more ‘Monica’ about the lunch I could see my family planning to excommunicate me, so it was safer for all involved for me to just do it myself with sous chef help from mum.
If you want to plan your multi-course dinner I suggest you cook everything possible the day before. Mum and I spent about three hours in the kitchen on Christmas Eve morning cooking every element possible. For the courses below this is what we pre-prepared:
- Eggplant (rolled and put in the fridge)
- Roasted and crushed pinenuts
- Sweet potato
- Apple sauce
- Pork belly (scored, rubbed, on a tray of veg in the fridge)
- Ginger stained glass biscuits
- Chocolate bark
This meant that on the day the only things we had to cook were the pork belly (which just gets shoved in the oven and forgotten about) and the salmon which we made the pregnant sister create (it took maybe 3 min to prepare and 15 to cook). Other than those each course was very quick to plate on the day and we reused two sets of wooden boards so there was limited washing up to do after.
I always want to make things as interactive as possible (yes I am entirely insufferable) so instead of normal menus, I made 56 origami stars with the course number on the outside and the details of the food on the inside. Before each course the family had to hunt out the right numbered star and unwrap it to find out what was next. Particularly useful as I got dunker and drunker with each course and forgot what order things came in. So on brand #gin
I love this Christmas lunch more than anything. For someone who lives on the other side of the world being able to demonstrate my love for my family in such an elaborate way just makes Christmas for me. I may forget to Skype, miss all important family occasions and not ask for permission when I get a piercing – but I can cook 8 courses to shove my love for them down their throats on Christmas day. It’s all about family y’all.
*when my Mum reads this she may send me to my room, if you don’t hear from me please send help.
Course 1: Christmas champagne sangria
Course 2: eggplant, pepper and goats curd involtini with pine nut crumb and red pepper pesto
Course 3: fennel and herb salmon with asparagus and horseradish coconut cream
Course 4: summer salad (aka the cop out course)
Course 5: roast pork belly with kumara mash, apple sauce and cracking
Course 6: coconut, rum, ginger-beer and lime sorbet served with a shot of Kings Ginger
Course 7: raspberry trifle with a stained glass gingerbread star
Course 8: mango and lemon pavlova with chocolate bark