What happens when Christmas is over and you’ve had the post Christmas Boxing Day veg out – late start to the day (or it’s already afternoon) and you lie about reading, watching movies a and grazing on leftovers: smoked salmon and ham. Lots of ham. So sandwiches and rolls with homemade habanera mustard. What do you eat/cook next?
This time of year – between Christmas and New Year – always feels like quintessential holiday time. It’s hot and there’s absolutley nothing to do. So it should follow that meals will be simple and easy and quick. I cooked for and hosted two Christmas functions this year: Christmas Eve dinner – for friends of my daughter and my folks – and Christmas Day. I cooked a lot. Which means I planned and shopped and prepared a lot. On Christmas Eve we had:
- seared tuna wrapped in nori with a lemon soy dressing and wasabi mayonnaise
- pork loin (marinated in soy sauce, fish sauce, mirin, ginger, garlic and chilli) with freshly pickled cucumber and a watermelon, coriander and fried shallot salad
- basil pannacotta with raspberry jelly and fresh raspberries and blueberries.
On Christmas Day it was a long, languid event with many breaks in between:
- champagne jelly with white peaches and raspberries
- oysters with a red shallot reduction
- smoked salmon with tahini soy dressing
- seared scallops on black pudding with a minty pea puree
- bloody mary prawn rolls
- baked ham with a waldorf(ish) salad
- pork and green mango salad
- sticky Orange Christmas pudding with whisky
Turned out we’d all had enough after the ham so the pork salad was left to another day.
Boxing Day however got the better of me and we opted for leftovers. So the pork was the next night’s meal. Simple and quick. So far so good. We’ve made do with everything on hand and there was no need to leave the house, except for a movie on Saturday and another on Sunday, which inevitably led my mind to thoughts of food: what to eat/cook next?
Try as I might, I cannot go for very long without thinking about food and what to make next. It isn’t just the eating, its actually about the making of food and the anticipation of flavours and textures. Cooking is not a chore for me, its a pleasure. It is something that I genuinely take enjoyment in. And its a great thing to do to clear my mind; while I’m cooking I’m totally focussed. That’s not say I don’t enjoy a conversation and a glass of wine when I cook: yes I cook with wine and sometimes I even put it in the food! (apologies, I couldn’t resist) Just don’t get me distracted – it never ends well.
And so to New Year’s Eve with a special friend who comes visit this time of year to indulge in all things Sydney. What to cook? Drunken prawns with wood ear mushrooms and mung bean noodles; duck salad with pomelo and lychees; tomato and lemon salad (courtesy of Ottolenghi) and seared tuna; oysters; freshly smoked trout and black russian baby tomatoes that are growing in our garden, and burrata. For a picnic: schnitzel and coleslaw and dill pickles in fresh bread rolls. Mmmm… food, glorious food.
Bon appetite and Happy New Year.