Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas in Glasgow

Another year is coming to a close and it’s our second christmas in the UK. Our first, in London, we were hoping for a white christmas, but it was not to be. However, moving north to Scotland, we were confident of getting our wish of snow on christmas day. Sadly again it was not meant to be. But christmas is not all about snow, for us, it’s all about the food and drink.  I’ve always had the pleasure of having somebody else do all the hard work cooking on christmas day, so this year I decided to give it a crack myself.  I was excited about cooking my first christmas lunch. I had it all planned out in my mind, a three course meal consisting of a seafood starter, a traditional turkey main and ‘good old’ christmas pudding for dessert. 

This is not all that was on the menu. Since our travels to Italy, Cara and I have been lovers of antipasti. So, Cara was excited about making an antipasti selection, which would be nibbled on throughout the day between courses.  The meat selection began with slices of salami, smoked ham, prosciutto pepperoni and a smoked wild boar salami. To accompany this was a block of brie cheese and a ball of mozzarella, which I dressed with some finely chopped mint and chilli and drizzled olive oil over the top. I love mixing chilli and mint. The fresh flavours of the mint on the front of the palette mixed with a spicy chilli after taste is the perfect flavour combination. As if we didn’t need any more food, I decided to slice up some fresh focaccia which I drizzled with tiny bit of olive oil over the top then seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme and toasted for around 15 mins on a low heat. 

As we got stuck in to our appetisers, I began the seafood entree. As a kid I used to hate prawns, but as I’ve gotten older, I can’t get enough of them. So I decided to make Thai prawn skewers with a fresh crunchy veg. & pear salad. I pre-skewed my prawns early christmas morning and marinated them in fresh coriander, ground ginger, the juice of 2 limes and 1 lemon, fish sauce, brown sugar and once again some chilli and mint. By the time I got around to cooking these prawns, they’d been soaking in the marinate for around 2 - 3hrs. I simply pan fried the skewers for not even 5 minutes and they were ready to serve. My crunchy veg & pear salad consisted of carrot, celery, beetroot and slices of pear. I lightly dressed this in olive oil, dijon mustard, lemon juice and white wine vinegar.  

Next it was time for our turkey.  I was a little nervous about this. My fear was I'd start carving and it not be cooked all the way through. But I’d done my research, I knew the temperatures and the timings in relation to the size of the bird, so I was confident that it would turn out well.  I decided to stuff my turkey with a scottish inspired haggis stuffing. This haggis stuffing was made with sage, bacon, red onions, celery, breadcrumbs, haggis, lemon zest, garlic and ground nut-meg. So after stuffing my turkey, I placed it in the oven and planned to slow cook it for around 6 hours. When it came out of the oven it was golden brown and cooked all the way through just as I hoped. The stuffing was delicious too. The haggis stuffing added to the theme of christmas in Scotland. 

After all had been eaten, we were too full for christmas pudding. However we did have room for some Oreo Truffles. A extremely simple recipe which I’d picked up from my mum. You can find this recipe here...“ Oreo Truffles. These bite size sweets are amazing. Highly recommended. 

As we sat back, un-did the belt buckles and relaxed, I decided it was time for a Scottish malt whisky. Cara had got me the “Dalwhinnie 15 year old single highland malt whisky”. Dalwhinnie is a gaelic word which translates to “meeting-place”. That meeting place is the highest distillery in Scotland. It was founded in the Scottish Highlands in 1898. It’s gentle 15 years of ageing makes this scotch smooth and easy to drink. It has a slight honey flavour which therefore makes it a little sweeter than most malts. But this is counter balanced with a light smokey finish. 

So there ends our christmas in Scotland, and also our last christmas in the UK. Next year we’ll be back to the hot Aussie summer, sitting in the back yard and enjoying a BBQ. After my success cooking christmas lunch this time, I may have to give it a crack next year, back in Australia. 

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