A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cooking Up a Storm This Christmas

For those who celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful day!

Our day started with MasterSix coming in for cuddles, but not before checking out the presents under the tree. Then we waited patiently for MisterEight to wake up. As 7:30 a.m. came and went, we were wondering what was wrong with him that he wasn't champing at the bit to see if Santa came, but he told us later that he'd already snuck out at 1 a.m. to find that Santa had left a truckload of presents under the tree, all under the not-so-watchful eye of his father who was snoring on the couch. Secure in the knowledge that Santa had indeed made a visit, he went back to bed and had a nice sleep-in, much to the frustration of his little brother.

Santa was generous this Christmas, and he was very wise in his choice of presents for our boys. Despite the ignored request of a Nintendo DS, a puppy and a mobile phone, they were over the moon with a couple of Club Penguin figurines and a Nerf gun each, and some Mighty Beanz. The biggest hit of all was the 10-in-1 games table from Mum and Dad (which is a good thing considering six months of fortnightly visits to the lay-by counter to pay it off in very small increments in order to avoid bringing it home, where curious boys could discover it).

After opening the presents from Santa, we had a quiet day in, with most of us only getting dressed late in the day, and as Will got new PJs from Santa, I don't think he ever did change into daytime clothes.

I've spent most of the last few days cooking. On Christmas Eve, I made Festive Reindeer Neenish Tarts, but have since decided that I don't care for neenish tarts as they were too sweet. Still, the boys loved the reindeer faces.

Pumpkin pie is our new Christmas tradition
Pumpkin pie is one of my favourite foods so I decided that this Christmas, rather than pining for this delicious treat (it isn't as popular here in Australia as it is in Canada, so it's harder to come by), I would get some pumpkin and make the pie myself. I cheated and used store-bought pie and tart crusts, but the doubled recipe for the filling made two pies and six tarts. We had one pie on Christmas and brought the other to our brother-in-law's family for a Boxing Day get-together. They were a hit, and I've decided that this is our new Christmas tradition. The menu for Christmas dinner will chop and change as the mood takes me, but I'll try always to make pumpkin pie at Christmas time.

For Christmas lunch/dinner I roasted a duck, and you might recall that I was a bit nervous about cooking a duck for the very first time. I spent hours poking and turning our duck so that it wouldn't turn out too greasy, only to realise that the duck used in this recipe must have been way bigger than the one I bought, so it only made it halfway through before I realised it was getting overcooked. No matter, the gravy (I didn't use the glaze in the recipe, because I make awesome gravy), the rosemary and thyme roasted potatoes, the wild rice, the baby asparagus, the sweet potato* and the broccoli were all so delicious that no one noticed the taste and texture of the overdone duck.

For our Boxing Day lunch, I made Prawn, Avocado and Mango Salad and a made-up Wild Rice Salad from leftover this and that.

Today, we had fresh tropical fruit salad with yoghurt for breakfast and for lunch we had ham, garlic mushrooms and hash browns, made up with leftovers from Boxing Day lunch.

So after all that cooking, if I don't see the inside of that kitchen again for a few days, it would suit me just fine.

How was your Christmas? What did you do, who did you spend it with what did you eat?

*One thing to note about sweet potato done with marshmallow topping is that coloured marshmallows (the only ones I seem to be able to find here in Australia) do not look appetising when melted. They resemble swamp coloured sludge, which I had to scrape off the top so that I could salvage the sweet potato underneath. Never mind, the mashed sweet potato was delicious with its hint of maple syrup.


  1. I don't think I'll do duck again. Next year, I'll get a pre-prepared roast something or other from Lenards, but I'll still do all the side dishes and the pumpkin pie.

    Thankfully, I think MisterEight is still a believer in the magic of Santa, he was just happy to know that Santa had come, so he was equally happy to have a lie-in. Precious times these are.

  2. A turducken sounds interesting. My friend said she was cooking that this Christmas, but I haven't heard how it turned out for her. I think I'm going to shy away from roasting strange things for Christmas, it's not really working for me so far. ;-)

    We gave a friend her first taste of pumpkin pie yesterday. Just a sliver to try it, and she had one bite and went back for the rest of her slice! It truly is yum!

  3. Having spent a Thanksgiving and a Christmas in the USA, I LOVE pumpkin pie, but haven't eaten it for years. I keep saying I will cook it one day. One day.
    Glad to hear that your duck turned out ok, gravy covers all things!

    My brother cooked a Turducken (Turkey, Duck and Chicken all boned and rolled. It was amazing!

  4. Happy Christmas to you too! I'm kind of excited. It's the little things that make the memories for the kids. I hope they will one day look back at these Christmases and remember their mum making pumpkin pie, even if they can't remember well-cooked duck at least they've got pie. :-)

  5. You would probably love my sweet potato casserole.  No marshmallows, it actually tastes more like a pumpkin pie type of dessert.  Despite its sweetness, we still eat it with dinner. The recipe is posted on my blog under the "Recipes" Tab.

  6. Nat - Muddy FarmwifeJuly 19, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    Yum Shelly. I love the idea of starting a tradition of your own and taking a signature dish each year. Makes it so easy to plan.
    Happy Christmas!

  7. I've had a look, it sounds delicious! I'd have to forgo the pecans because of MisterEight's tree nut allergy, but the rest sounds divine! Thanks for pointing me to it.

  8. mmmm mashed sweet potato with marshmellow! Such an american thing!! Yummo!! I love duck.. but I have also had lots of overcooked duck.. its one thing that might not ever turn out just perfect!! I read out the first paragraph to Drew about your son sleeping in.. we had a good giggle.. :) I always woke up early checked that santa had been and then gone back to sleep.. it is around the age of 8 that you know exactly what santa is and when he brings it!!

  9. I've got the Aberfoyle recipe, thanks. Might make that next year, if I'm organised enough.

    Pumpkins like we know them, orange and round, are really expensive, so I don't buy them at Halloween. I used butternut pumpkin for this recipe, which is quite cheap in comparison. I can get this anytime of the year, but Will wants me to save pumpkin pie for Christmas so that it's a special treat. I agree, I think the boys will appreciate it more.

    I have some sweet potato left over. I was thinking of swapping bananas for it in a banana bread recipe and making some sweet potato bread. Do you think that'll work?


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