Although my family is not large, this year I am having 20 people for Christmas lunch. This intimidating number (for me) has had the rather nice unintended side effect of forcing me to get organised in advance.
I have therefore had rather a lovely time looking at all the Christmas food magazines and pulling out my old Christmas cookbooks to plan the menu.
My sole criteria is that at least half the food be able to be done ahead of time. And I always do turkey. And never an entree. And given the insane variances of Melbourne weather, I want to have a menu which is traditional with a modern twist (ha, what a meaningless phrase) to allow for the possibility of a 40 degree day (as happened in 1999) and a 12 degree day (as happened in 2007 I think it was).
In between cookbook reading, I have had to attend to the important matters of the Santa List.
This list was eventually produced by my daughter who initially said she didn't want anything at all. Nothing at all morphed into two pages of hilariously detailed requirements, including a babushka with 11 inside (12 total) (if you want to know where to find these, go here - you are looking at $380 for a babushka of this size) to lots and lots of Sylvanian family items.
These creatures are called Calico Critters in the US and are made in Japan. You can buy furniture for them, and houses, and cars, and food, and boats, and a windmill and a tree house. It's endless. And they just keep creating new families, so it is impossible to keep up.
My son had some help with his list. Somewhat scarily, he has put things on this list he already has. This may be why the 'Santa won't come' threats are not working that well on him. He knows that it doesn't really matter either way.
We are having a small related problem which is that growing up my husband only received tiny things from Santa and presents from his parents. My situation was reversed, a big present from Santa and nothing from my parents. I prefer it this way because how can you use the Santa Bribe on the children if they know they are only getting a sparkly pencil or some other rubbish from Santa?
In this time of rampant consumerism, you should take the time to read this story, about a little girl in the South of the US who received a pair of shoes and an orange for Christmas. This story has stayed with me ever since I first read it last Christmas.
So, to food.
This is what I have in mind so far:
Canapes (all do-ahead)
Salmon Ceviche (see above image but not in those glass)
Corn and chilli cakes with avocado salsa
Blinis with sour cream
Roast Turkey with chestnut stuffing
Potatoes (plain roast or hasselback am undecided)
Chipolatas wrapped in pancetta
Ham (my mother does this)
Green beans with lemon
Some kind of green salad maybe asparagus with feta
Dessert (all do-ahead)
Nectarine and Vanilla Trifle
Plum Pudding with Brandy Butter
Icecream Plum Pudding
Look at this trifle, on the cover of the Donna Hay Christmas magazine. Isn't it divine?