Sunday, 29 November 2009

Air and water

Since Christmas is on a budget this year I am already looking at ideas for Christmas dinner with just the four of us, and Boxing Day for twelve of us. Christmas dinner will be simple and tasty and easy, it is the larger gathering that will be testing. The offerings of the freezer stores with their large packs and exciting so-called sophisticated adverts have been sort of appealing but each time I go in and look around I am taken aback by the air and water used to bulk out the food. When I cook and eat I like to feel like I have eaten and that I feel good and I just know that after an over-indulgence of these freezer celebration foods is the fastest way to need the toilet a lot! And then I reckon I could make something nicer for much less.

Laying in bed this morning I am thinking I wouldn't mind so much if the turkey was injected with water as it is in the freezer shops, but water alone is no flavour enhancer. And then bingo, the penny drops. Son has been raving about and requesting our favourite Christmas Turkey recipe, especially as he likes the idea of leftovers and being able to graze for a few days, and as space is limited in our new home and finding somewhere convenient and cool to keep a turkey in a bucket of brine would be a challenge, why not by-pass the soaking and just inject the flavouring and let that marinade a bit. That way I can control what flavouring goes in and can actually reduce the quite expensive shopping list required for the marinade of our favourite brine recipe.

Though I now need to acquire one of these flavour injectors and make sure I get one that is robust enough. I'll look through the various online recipes until I find one that really appeals. Our oven is not so big so that will be fun to juggle cooking the vegetables and roasting what needs roasting but that can be done when the turkey is resting after it has cooked. Once again some military precision is required. And I'll be the picture of cool, I hope.

I haven't said what my plans are for pudding but once again on a budget and homemade but I am quite excited. It involves getting Mr Doris (as he is now the master cake maker of the household) to make five Victoria sponges in traditional Victoria sponge tins which we have. These will be made a couple of days before hand. I'll lay them on top of each other and carve out a sort of ball. The carved off pieces of cake will be left to dry out to make a trifle for Boxing day. The ball cake will be layered with some filling that works for everyone and then the whole lot covered in a rolled out brown fondant icing. The resulting ball will have a layer of white dribbled over the top and decorated as a Christmas Pudding. No-one in our house eats Christmas Pudding or fruit cake (despite me making it year after year!) and the kids generally don't like it but this could be fun and work. It will certainly make a good disposable centrepiece for the table.

We are celebrating this Christmas even if I have to do it single handed. We have made it through another year and have positioned ourselves to move forwards in the year ahead. Very unlike the misery I have been in the run up to the last few years. It's December soon and I can get the advent calendars out. Yaaay!


Anji said...

I cook the turkey as it is but I make my own stuffing with brown bread crumbs and sage from the garden. The only reason why I started to make my own stuffing is that you can't buy packets here. My stuffing is much nicer and the sage is very pretty when it's in flower.

Christmas is always a challenge of organisational skills, budget and will power. I love that moment when we all sit down and ENJOY the special meal together.

The week I defrosted the freezer I realised how much some of the frozen items cost (my shopping bill was lower than usual) - another good reason to make your own.

Josephine said...

I like Christmas pud!! Save some for me ;-)

And that's one scary syringe you have pictured there Doris!! Make sure you don't inject the bird with H or something eh?!! (or it'll certainly be a Christmas to remember...!)