There’s nothing like home-cooked Christmas meals, which usually (for us, lah) comprise of one or two things we’ve never cooked before, which causes great concern among the family-folk, who know that I don’t exactly eat healthily.
But, thanks to one of the many cookbooks we have on our shelves, we made a great gratin, whose recipe (when executed properly) is such that someone inevitably asks, “how much cheese you put inside?”, to which we inevitably answer, “no cheese”, to which they say, “really? it tastes like there’s cheese”, to which we respond with a smug flourish, “nope, no cheese at all, good huh?”
Having a four-course meal increases the chances of your guests liking at least one of the courses, and because there were guests at this year’s family Christmas Eve dinner who didn’t eat beef, didn’t like milk, didn’t take cream, afraid of carrots, petrified of bread rolls and had a phobia of fish, we were very pleased that the reaction to dessert was unanimously positive.
But because this is not a food blog, and I am not a chef, and because we sorta made it up ourselves, we don’t have the exact recipe for the dessert here. All I can say is that we sorta adapted it from what we had a week ago at a friend’s wedding:
Fuzzy recipe for Strawberry, watermelon and pomelo fruit salad with white wine, strawberry and mint granita:
A few punnets of strawberries, sorta diced
Some watermelon, sorta diced too
Some pomelo, sorta broken apart with your hands
Some caster sugar
Some white wine from the bottle after you’ve had a couple of glasses
A few sprigs of mint
First, you pour some wine and some sugar and some water into a large saucepan, fire up the stove and cook some strawberries in it, until it’s sorta pulpy, then you take the strawberries out. Then you put some mint into the thing and boil it some more. Then let the thing cool. Then put it in a bowl and put it in the freezer, checking and stirring the thing every half an hour or so until it turns into a sorbet-like thing. This thing is the granita.
Then you boil some more strawberries in a saucepan with some more caster sugar, but not as pulpy as you’ve made the other thing earlier. Then you put it aside in the fridge when it cools, to cool some more. This strawberry jam-like thing is the, um, strawberry jam-like thing.
When it’s time for dessert to be served, make your guests wait a bit as you go into the kitchen to fix it up. Get your mum’s serving glasses and fill about a third of each glass with the strawberry jam-like thing, then another third with the uncooked strawberries, pomelo and watermelon pieces, and the last third with the granita, after you’ve scraped it out of the bowl, because you forgot to stir the thing every thirty minutes.
Serve, sit back, and wait for your guests to ask for some more. Then go make some more.
What we usually do on Boxing Day is rue the fact that it’s not a public holiday in this country, plus the fact that it’s been raining cats, dogs and every other household pet.
Then we cook something hearty, like oxtail stew:
Anyhowly Sorta Italian Oxtail Stew
Several pieces of oxtail
Coupla cans of whole tomatoes
Some Worcestershire sauce
A dash of mustard
Some olive oil
Put some olive oil into a large pot, slice one onion, some garlic. Throw oxtail, garlic, onion into large pot and fry till oxtail pieces are brown. Then open two cans of whole tomatoes and put them in. Add mustard, worcestershire sauce, carrots and bring to boil.
Then leave to simmer, stirring a few times every now and then. Then go out and pick up the wife from work, agree to go for an hour’s foot reflexology and massage, and then fight traffic all the way home.
Remove burnt bits from large pot and transfer edible bits into a smaller pot. Cook some rice, watch a bit of telly, then serve with some parsley.