Saturday, January 9, 2010

Christmas Dinner 2009

The holidays are no small affair in our family, and for the second year running, Jim and I were happy to host Christmas dinner for both sides of our family. Dinner for 13...

The centerpieces that I designed and created for the tables.
Christmas dinner menu:
Roasted turkey
Baked spiral cut ham
Mashed potatoes
Wild rice pilaf with cranberries and thyme
Steamed carrots
Steamed green beans
Cranberry sauce
Dad's sausage stuffing (inside the bird, and out)
Bread sauce
Decorating the personalized gingerbread cookies that would double as seating card and favor!
I always love to have some kind of dessert that can be beautifully decorated, so this year I opted for a classic red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and piped the poinsettias with additional frosting. It tasted as good as it looks!
Pear and cranberry pie. English classics: tiffin and caramel slices. When we lived in England, every Saturday we would go to the local bakery to pick up freshly baked bread, and my sister and I would get a special treat - caramel slices. Delicious shortbread, a layer of sticky caramel, topped with the best english chocolate. I've never seen anything like it here in the states, but when Jim and I were in Australia I fell in love with it all over again. Every cafe and restaurant we ate in, I had to try their version if it was on the menu. I found the best one in a little bakery in The Rocks district and made sure to bring plenty home with me! The recipe I used here is a combination of my grandmother's english shortbread, an Australian caramel recipe, and basic ganache made with the best chocolate I can find. Fan.Tas.Tic.! The dessert spread (from bottom): Red Velvet Cake, Sticky Toffee Pudding (plate decorated with sugared rosemary and cranberries), Chocolate cookies, Anise snowball cookies, Sugar cookies, and Chocolate chip cookies. The other side of the dessert table (from left): Tiffin, Caramel Slices, Pear & Cranberry Pie, and Butterscotch Pie with Gingersnap crust. It was difficult to decide, but my personal favorite was the butterscotch pie. The sticky toffee pudding followed by a close second. To me, why waste the calories on dessert if it's not chocolate, but these chocolate-less desserts were divine! I also got rave reviews on the other desserts - I was thrilled with all of it! The whole spread. We had 13 for dinner, plus another 6 for dessert, and plenty of leftovers!