Monday, December 13, 2010

Salmon Ceviche and Babushkas for Christmas

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

Main course
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? 


brismod said...

Your menu is perfect Jane - your guests are lucky you are not just opening the tin of beetroot that some in-laws of mine do for the Big Day!!

And that story about the shoes and the orange does put Christmas into perspective...a good reminder in a crazy consumer world. x

Jane said...

Ooh, Jane, can I bring a spare chair? That sounds scrummy. I'm a trifle girl from way back, but with peaches. And yes, that last photo oozes deliciousness. J x

Makeminemidcentury said...

I love your blog, Jane! I love how you're so organised.

I have the Sylvanian Families dilemma with my nine-year-old ... I've tried in vain to source the retro caravan and saloon car ... I've been told the company that makes them has been shocked by their resurgence in popularity and can't keep up with demand ... needless to say it's almost impossible to get.

It'll all flood the stores come January!

Apart from that, Christmas lunch at your place looks as if it'll be divine and you'll pull-it-off with aplomb ... have a pinata out the back for some stress relief!

Jane said...

I am ashamed to say that we have that caravan. We love it! I also found a website run by a girl who has 323 Sylvanian animals!

Raina Cox said...

When should I be 'round? I'll even volunteer to make that trifle.

P.S. Last night, we hosted a holiday party for my husband's staff. We had just over 30 people in the house including 8 children under 4. I'm still cleaning up.

Sarah B said...

Wow Jane, that is one impressive menu! I always go to mum and dad's for lunch and she always does a traditional lunch, rain, hail or shine :)
Aren't the little Sylvanian families cute. For memory I had a few small pieces when I was young. It's nice to see these things come back.

Emma said...

mmmm, that menu sounds delicious! I am also hosting Christmas this year and it is my first time. Thanks for sharing your menu, I am going to borrow heavily from it! xx

Makeminemidcentury said...

just now got a call from a toy shop to say the Sylvanian retro caravan etc is now in! I sort of wish it wasn't after reading the orange story ...

Ann said...

So you're searching for Sylvanian lifestyle accessories and I'm sending an envoy to China for Bey Blades (friend's husband is there on business and fully briefed on our needs) Clearly the world has gone mad... nothing like a pile of recipe books to remind us what's really important at Christmas... food.

By the way thanks for the tip about follower numbers - it made perfect sense and I tried it but blogger won't save the change, annoying!

Rebecca said...

The nectarine trifle sounds Devine!!
Good luck!

Loz said...

Sounds like you'll be in for a great day. Let's hope Melbourne's weather is kind to us

A Room For Everyone said...

The letters to Santa are gorgeous and your menu sounds delicious. It is a great thing about hosting lunch - getting organised. Hope it all goes well..Rachaelxx

Laura said...

I would like to come to your house for Christmas dinner, please. My dad used to give my sister and me oranges in our stocking a la Little House on the Prairie. We always found it cute but riotously funny. Ah how times have changed.

Maxabella said...

I love how you say "this intimidating number (for me)"... for whom is 20 to a sit down lunch NOT intimidating? I would like to meet them!

I think you are going to have the most divine lunch, Jane. How delicious this all sounds! You're like me, too, STACKS of magazines to wade through to find the perfect meal. Takes ages, but good ages!! x

Amanda (Small Acorns) said...

I love your Santa letters Jane. I kind of wish I had Sylvanian families on mine - Eva's is going to be hard to pull off this year I'm afraid, unless you have any tickets to Fiji you can spare?
Your menu sounds just fabulous! I agree with your do ahead philosophy. And make sure the wine is close by. xx
P.S Loved your comment on Kerry's blog about followers and encouragement. I so agree.

Mise said...

Brave and resourceful you - good luck with the lunch. And yes, the big present (one big present only) should come from Santa - there'll be time enough to have to resort to parents.

UK said...

Love all the cute tiny stuff toy you have and they have a great list for Christmas.

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