Excited to have the Epicure Good Food cover today with this story on Christmas meals that went right:
Pressure. Expectation. Family. For people hosting Christmas lunch or dinner it’s a yuletide cocktail that is not always sweet. Although many breathe a sigh of relief when Christmas Day passes, there are a few of us who have cracked (at least, the culinary) Christmas code. From accompaniments, mains and desserts to novel alcoholic punches, here are the insights gleaned from some people who, for one year at least, have nailed Christmas.
The year: 2012
The chef: Carolyn Creswell, businesswoman
The advice: read the instructions
The owner of Carman’s Kitchen was in NSW’s Mossy Point with her family, about to host 15 people for Christmas lunch when she discovered the rental house didn’t have a proper oven. Lumbered with a smallish microwave convection unit instead, she sat down and spent 10 minutes reading the instructions and used a meat thermometer to turn out a perfectly roasted turkey (regular checks with a meat thermometer were key). “It was absolutely amazing, I think, because everybody’s expectations were disastrously low,” she says. Creswell’s other tips include keeping notes (including recipe tweaks and reminders) for each Christmas and setting the table early to give the impression to guests that you are on top of your game. “That was my mum’s housewife tip to me,” she says.
The year: unknown
The chef: Guillaume Brahimi, Guillaume
The advice: less is more
“Christmas is all about being organised and less is more,” says the Sydney chef. His sensible advice is best illustrated by a Christmas dessert recipe passed down to his wife Sanchia from her aunt. Each year the Brahimis fill a plastic Christmas tree mould with a mixture of vanilla bean seeds, chopped up Mars Bars, Bounty Bars and Fry’s Turkish Delight and a 2 litre tub of vanilla ice cream. After setting in the freezer overnight it’s turned out on Christmas Day with uniform success. “When you de-mould it – well, let me tell you, everybody is happy at home.”
The year: 2002
The chef: Scott Pickett, Estelle and Saint Crispin
The advice: keep them guessing