If I had of thought about writing this post before we all tucked in on xmas day there might be some better photos to go along with it. But I didn't and there's not, so you'll just have to settle for my marvellous pavlova, our colourful, eclectic table and Ferdi in a santa costume!
This was our first xmas in our first proper house and it was ace. We have the step-sons staying with us right now, so their Mum came over for lunch and present opening. We stuffed and roasted a turkey and served it with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, buttery peas, fig salad, gravy and cranberry sauce. For afters we had pavlova with whipped cream, berries and pomegranate. It was a team effort, and it was all quite delicious.
Here are three super simple yet super tasty recipes we used on the day:
Duck Fat Roast Potatoes
1. Preheat your oven to about 190˚C or so. Put a biggish metal roasting pan in there to heat it up.
2. Give your spuds a good scrub. Don't peel them - they're tastier with the skin on, plus it saves a heap of time and mess!
3. Chop them into cubes; not too small but not too big.
4. Throw the cubes in some salted, boiling water. Leave them in for about 7-10 minutes.
5. Drain your spuds really well, then put them in the hot metal roasting pan.
6. Sprinkle liberally with chunky sea salt. Daub liberally with duck fat.
7. Roast for 45-60 minutes, adjusting the temperature and oven position as required (ie. if they are browning too quickly drop the temp, if they're not crisping up enough give them a blast of heat).
It's pretty hard to overcook these guys so don't fret too much. On the flip side, if it looks like they're going to be ready early don't be afraid to pull them out of the oven for a rest.
From my head and years of trial and error.
Fig + Mint Salad
1. Halve 8 figs and arrange them in a bowl.
2. Whisk together the juice of 1 orange, juice of 1 lemon and 50ml extra virgin olive oil.
3. Add 1 loosely packed cup of mint leaves, roughly chopped, and 1.5 thinly sliced golden shallots.
4. Season to taste then spoon over the figs and eat!
This was delicious with the roast turkey, I think it'd go well with roast pork as well. Oh, and maybe barbecued prawns. And some kind of chicken. Actually, it'd go with pretty much anything!
1. Preheat oven to 200˚C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
2. Place 4 egg whites in a bowl.
3. Combine 1 tablespoon cornflour and 1.5 cups of sugar, then add to the bowl with egg whites. Next - add a pinch of salt and 5 tablespoons boiling water.
4. Beat on high until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture holds its shape well. You'll know it when you see it!
5. Important! Half way through beating add a teaspoon of white vinegar and a teaspoon of vanilla essence.
6. Pile the mixture on the oven tray, shaping with a spatula. I made two pavlovas - one was low and wide, the other thick and high. I think the low and wide one turned out better; it had a good ratio of crisp outside to soft, marshmallowy inside.
7. Place in the oven and drop the temperature down to just under 150˚C. Bake for about an hour, until it's dry to the touch. If your meringue starts to tinge drop the temperature down some more.
8. Once cooked, leave the oven door ajar and allow to cool completely before removing.
9. The meringue can be stored for a day or two. Before serving top with your favourite topping.
I went for a classic whipped cream and berries combo - one with pomegranate and one with passionfruit. Although I adore pomegranate, I do think the passionfruit one was better - a pav really needs the tang of passionfruit to cut through the sweetness of the meringue.
I was pretty pleased with how my pavlovas turned out. I'm pretty sure they're going to become a new xmas tradition. I'm already looking for inspiration for next year so please tell me - what are your favourite pavlova toppings?
ps. I hope you had a delicious day too!