Let's face it. Christmas is all about presents when you're a kid. It's not until you're older that Christmas becomes more about family - in whatever form they come. It's the crazy clan of relatives that no outsider could ever fully fathom; it's the network of friends and confidantes who get you, put up with you, and sometimes make you laugh so much you feel like you've just run a marathon.
Christmas inevitably involves frantic last-minute present shopping but it also gives us the perfect excuse to congregate over good food. I love that most Aussie Christmas dinners include fresh seafood, a baked ham and the quintessential pav.
To say we look forward to the annual Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner is an understatement. Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin' aren't just phenomenal cooks, they're incredibly generous in spirit - and spirits!
Origami Christmas trees
We arrived to find a table festooned with origami Christmas trees folded by Silvrlily. She also made a very clever centerpiece using a tangle of lights curled within an upturned glass bowl.
2002 Pol Roger vintage champagne
Mrs Pig Flyin raided her cellar for an incredible bottle of vintage Pol Roger. The party definitely started when the champagne cork hit the ceiling with a bang!
Smoky Bloody Mary oyster shots
Sydney Rock oysters with homemade smoked tomato and horseradish sorbet
We kicked off with oysters three ways. The smoky Bloody Mary oyster shot was incredible, inspired by Movida's signature dish, but given a twist by Pig Flyin with horseradish added to his home-smoked tomato sorbet. I neglected to get a photo but there were also raw Sydney rocks with a gin and tonic dressing. Perfect for summer!
Oysters Rockefeller rounded out the trio - plump Pacific oysters covered with a parsley butter sauce and flashed under the grill.
Home-cured and cold smoked salmon using alder wood chips
Pig Fyin likes to smoke... with his barbecue, that is! A side of salmon had been cured and then cold smoked using alder wood chips.
Homemade cold smoked salmon with pressure-cooked mustard seeds
Thick slices of cold smoked salmon were smoky and firm with a lovely springiness in the mouth. Pig Flyin pressure-cooked a heap of mustard seeds to take the heat out of them, and then added them to the salmon for textural contrast.
Prawn cocktails with cos lettuce hearts, avocado and homemade cocktail sauce
We kicked back with old skool prawn cocktails - enormous king prawns perched on a bed of creamy avocado with homemade cocktail sauce and crisp cos lettuce hearts. Such a classic combo.
Deep fried turkey wing tips
Turkey is popping up more and more at Christmas dinners but I love that Pig Flyin decided to highlight that often overlooked treasure - the turkey wing tip! These deep fried babies were deliciously crunchy - and enormous too!
Crispy turkey mid-wings: deboned, brined, sous vide and pan-fried served with turkey gravy and cranberries
The turkey mid-wings had been deboned, brined and then cooked sous vide until tender. Pan-fried to a crisp, these were served with a turkey gravy made from the turkey legs. It's worth remembering too that the turkey mid-wings are about three times the size of a chicken's!
Giant onion rings made with Italian salad onions
Stuffing log with highlights of chestnuts and bone marrow
There was a giant log of stuffing, hidden with surprises of peeled chestnuts and pockets of bone marrow. The entire thing was covered in toasted hazelnuts.
Watermelon, feta and tomato salad with homegrown mint
Salads were light and refreshing, including a juicy watermelon, feta and tomato salad with homegrown mint and a cucumber and Italian onion salad.
Cucumber and Italian onion salad with pressure-cooked mustard seeds
Timballo - Mrs Pig Flyin's now signature Christmas dish
Apparently the timballo has become Mrs Pig Flyin's signature Christmas dish. The amount of work required is worth reserving only for special occasions!
Pasta tubes stuffed with mini meatballs, boiled eggs and peas in a homemade tomato sauce
Cooked pasta tubes are placed vertically in a baking dish then stuffed with mini meatballs, boiled eggs and peas. The entire lot was then covered with a homemade tomato sauce made from locally grown Italian tomatoes. The timballo is baked in the oven until the outer tubes become wondrously crusty. It was one of my favourite dishes of the evening - rustic and made with so much love.
Kurobuta Berkshire ham from Victor Churchill with Christmas spiced orange glaze
There was an audible gasp when the Kurobuta Berkshire ham hit the table, mostly because there was a mad scramble to make room for the beast.
Carving the ham
Still warm from the oven, the ham was incredibly soft and juicy, crowned with caramelised chunks of fat that had been glazed with a Christmas-spiced orange syrup.
Best Christmas crackers ever! Lego mini figures, a farm animal and a scratchie
And let's not forget the Christmas crackers! Silvrlily and Super Mario assembled these using a DIY Christmas cracker kit. The kit includes the paper hat, joke and gunpowder strip but you get to add your own trinkets. Our crackers included a Lego minifigure, farm animal and a scratchie - I scored the diner waitress and the pig. Both highly appropriate! No money won on the scratchie but diner waitress! On rollerskates!
Pavlova with homemade passionfruit curd, mango, raspberries and redcurrants
Dessert was the good ol' fashioned pavlova, oozing with homemade passionfruit curd, fresh mangoes, raspberries and frosted redcurrants. It was amazing. I had a second slice just to make sure.
My mini Baileys Christmas puddings and iced gingerbread men
I brought along petit fours on a Christmas tiered platter I scored from a local market for $20. I'm determined to use it as much as I can during the festive season! I made iced gingerbread men biscuits and mini Baileys Christmas puddings. Everyone was way too full to eat many but that's what take-home bags are for!
Thanks again Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin for another memorable evening, and our Stomachs Eleven family for a night of fun.
Have a brilliant Christmas wherever you may spend it, and here's to plenty of good cheer and laughter :)
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2012
Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2011
Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2010
Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner 2008
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12/24/2013 02:16:00 am