Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas celebrations, round #1: family

Posted by lea at 2:54 PM
Christmas celebrations started off on Saturday 19th December with our Parkside Family Christmas lunch (my sister Glenda is now a Chang and I'm a Gomez, but we can't forget our Park roots). Attendees: my parents (who squeezed it in between a funeral and a wedding - they're so popular), Simon and Liz (brother and sis-in-law), Glenda and Juan (sister and bro-in-law), nephews Christian (15) and Reuben (13) and niece Hannah (3), Nathaniel, myself and Elena (sis-in-law).

On the menu:
Seafood platter

The traffic going to and from the Sydney Fish Markets was CRAZY but the resulting seafood platter was worth it. By the way, the platter pictured is a representation of my intended presentation rather than the actual presentation, which was much better but I hate to boast. Not. On the platter: fresh salmon sashimi, Sydney rock oysters, and delicious grilled prawns.

Quick directions for delicious grilled prawns: 30min before cooking, take prawns out of the fridge and marinate with chopped garlic, chopped continental parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Let it sit before grilling on a BBQ or hot plate. Yum.

Sirloin roast with gravy spread

Quick directions: Buy a good cut of beef (mine was a 2kg sirloin which cost freakin' $80!! More than any of the presents I'd bought for my family! Tip: ask your butcher how much per kilo before asking for 'the best cut for roast' and blithely agreeing like you know something.

Take the meat out of the fridge around 1.5-2hrs before you plan to roast to bring it down to room temperature. Rub spices all over it (I used a Moroccan spice mix, paprika, cumin and whatever was in the cupboard), sear in a hot pan (or better still, in the baking tray) and place in a pre-heated oven at 220 deg C for 30min. Lower to 160 deg C and if you can manage, ladle the pan juices over the roast, then back to the oven for another 15min per 500g.

Brief directions for gravy spread: Make the gravy as per usual while the roast rests, using 2 tbs of the meat juices, 1 tbs flour, 1 cup of beef stock and salt and pepper. Then let your husband take over the cooking while you go upstairs to do your make up. By the time you come down, he'll have added another tablespoon of flour thinking you read the recipe wrong, and voila: gravy spread. Seriously, you couldn't even shake it out of the gravy boat (which is really a milk jug but who really knows the difference, right?).

I also served my famous ('famous') Thai-influenced marinated chicken skewers, with recipe to come.

A platter of summer fruit
There's nothing better than summer fruit like watermelon, mangoes, strawberries and cherries. Yum!

Everything was eaten in fast forward because everyone came late and my parents had to rush off to a wedding in an hour and we all wanted to get to the gifts.

So when we were done, my parents took their new GPS and personalised calendar chocka block full of pictures of their kids and grandkids and toddled off to their wedding. Christian wouldn't take off his new sneakers and Country Road bag. Reuben insisted on 'testing out' his new iPod speakers so we had Blasting Benjamin or My Chemical Romance or whatever blaring over the top of the Christmas music. Hannah immediately put on her inflatable floatie and hugged the in-built palm tree (to provide shade) and wouldn't take it off despite the fact that it squished her sideways on the beanbag. Then she and Glenda had a deep and meaningful conversation:

Hannah: Hannah doesn't have a penis. Isaac has a penis.
(Isaac is Hannah's friend, also aged 3)
Glenda: Where is Hannah's penis?
Hannah: (thinks for a while) It's at home.

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