Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas in Coogee

Ahhhh Christmas.

I love Christmas, always have. It's just a nice time when things at work become more laid back, everyone seems more relaxed and there's a happy attitude in the air.

The food is also nice.

Andy, Josh and I enjoy filling up the apartment with all of the foods associated with this time of year like mince pies, pannatone and Christmas cake (that I carefully soaked in cognac).

This biggest event for us our annual "Christmas in Coogee".

This event started well before I moved in when the boys bought a new fridge and were given a free turkey with it.

It has now evolved into a Christmas celebration that we invite lots of people over for, an annual year ender to see everyone before we all disappear off to our families.

It requires lots of preparation!

Two days before the big event, Josh and I went and bought a nice big turkey to begin the defrosting of it.

Then the day before, the real work began.

We wanted a nice dessert, so Andy and Josh began constructing the blueberry trifle. We even managed to find an excellent source of old port to soak the sponge cake that Josh made for the layers.

As those two boys did that, I began to make the stuffing for the bird.

Everything we do is made from scratch and this stuffing is no different. I even went so far as rendering down hunks of bacon fat so that I could use the dripping to cook the onions, celery and apples. The kitchen was feeling nice and hot as I cracked the last of the eggs to mix into the stuffing mixture.

Josh began to clean the bird as I wearily cleaned up the rest of the mess, ready for bed.
The next morning, the real work began.

At about 7:00am, I heard Andy wake. I knew it was coming, but it was still an unwelcome noise when Andy knocked on my door to wake me up.

After a quick breakfast, we began cooking.

The turkey was stuffed, prepped and put into the oven.

There was lots more to do. Andy and I had a pile of potatoes and carrots to peel. The beans had to be prepped, the onions chopped. The drinks were prepared. The cakes sliced and plated. The puddings were taken out. The trifle had settled nicely, but the almonds needed to be roasted carefully sprinkled on the top.

As time approached, the beans went on. The carrots when on. Potatoes, onions, parsnip and pumpkin went into the oven. Potatoes were put on the boil.

The timer went off and the bird came out.
It looked PERFECT. The colour was as we had hoped and the stuffing was spilling out as expected.

The whole apartment was filling with the smell of the roasted turkey and the sage from the stuffing.

We let it rest as Andy began to mash the potatoes and I began to make a gravy from the dripping of the turkey (remember, everything has to be made from scratch!)

Meanwhile, Josh had been very busy outside. He had rearranged, cleaned, vacuumed and moved two tables into the living room so that we now had a nice "T" configuration for all of our guests.

He had even set the table beautifully with the bon bons and napkins placed just as he would have back in the days when he was a waiter serving celebrities and the Prime Minister.
However, it was all worth it. From the moment the bon bons were cracked open and the drink was flowing, it was clear that the preparations were well worth the effort.
Everyone was happy with the turkey and it wasn't too long before the effects of the food crept up on us and food comas set in.

We couldn't stop though!

The desserts were still to come.

The standard cheer and applause came as we doused the puddings in brandy and Andy set them alight. In hindsight, we have gone a bit overboard dessert-wise. Serving trifle, pudding and cake may have been a bit too much for our guests to manage.
It was damn tough work, but totally worth it. After all, isn't it a sign of true content to be pouring yourself a glass or port out of a fire truck shaped bottle?

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