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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas feasting

EDIT 27/12/09: Latest food pics added at the end of this post

Roast turkey or seafood?

I love that despite the heat of an Australian summer, so many of us continue to indulge in the traditional English Christmas dinner of roast turkey, gravy, plum pudding and all the trimmings. Our family has always done leg ham and seafood - it's so much easier with minimal preparation, and besides, Mum always hated being hot and would ban use of the oven!

Over the past week, everyone's been talking about what they're doing for Christmas. Most of my questions involve asking about the food.

I love hearing about family traditions - the annual trek to the Fish Market or the alarm set at dawn to start the turkey. Legs of ham are glazed and studded with cloves. I've heard about roast legs of pork cooked on a Weber - guaranteed succulence with an armour of crackling, I'm told. Friends with scattered families overseas get together for an Orphan's Picnic every year, sharing dishes they've made and creating their own family for the day. An English friend pines for brussel sprouts because it's not Christmas dinner without it.

For several years we used to have Vietnamese gui cuon prawn rolls for Christmas lunch - an easy do-it-yourself meal that everyone gets involved in. These days it's a cold buffet of cooked prawns and massive slices of leg ham alongside a potluck of salads and a pavlova to finish.

So what are you doing for Christmas? Leave a comment or, even better, send a photo of your Christmas feast to grabyourfork@yahoo.com.au and I'll upload the pics. It doesn't have to be fancy. A shot on your camera phone will do.

Thanks everyone for reading Grab Your Fork throughout 2009. It always surprises me to find out who reads the site, and your feedback and comments really do make all the effort worth it.

Have a lovely Christmas and happy feasting!
- Helen

What people ate for Christmas Eve 2009

"Christmas eve dinner at work + pol roger: slow roasted sirloin yeahhh"
- Lex (Vue De Cuisinier) via Twitter

"- oohh babbyy turkey for 2!"
- Richard (Here Comes the Food) via Twitter

"Spatchcock with parmesan crusted polenta, anchovy zucchini,
roast fennel, spinach" - Eating with Jack via Twitter

"Corndogs and spring rolls for staff xmas eve"
- Dan Hong via Twitter

"The Christmas feasting has started! If this isn't a feast I don't know
what is... Don't judge me..."
- Billy (A Table for Two) via Twitter

"Duck within duck w cherry + pistachio"
- frombecca via Twitter

"Roast pork resting, with the best ever crackling!"
- Mrs Pig Flyin via email

"Seafood xmas feast @ golden century.
Hello, abalone shabu shabu and market prices. *burp*"

- Yas (Hungry Digital Elf) via Twitter

"Christmas Eve dinner about to begin. Oysters, prawns,
glazed ham and one 7kg turkey"
- Grab Your Fork
(that's me!) via Twitter

What people ate for Christmas Day 2009

"Too drunken to post this yesterday:
our good friend porky enjoying xmas eve at the in-laws..."
- Demis (Sydnerati) via Twitter

- Reemski (I Am Obsessed With Food) via Twitter

"Christmas lunch. Merry Christmas everyone!"
- Grab Your Fork (that's me!) via Twitter

"Crew lunch: Prosciutto wrapped monk fish. Big feast at dinner!"
- Mrs Pig Flyin via email

"Mince tarts"
- Reemski (I Am Obsessed With Food) via Twitter

"Gravadlax cured w juniper & gin, doused in martini. Skin fried.
Matched with Larks pepperberry martini"

- Ed Charles (Tomatom) via Twitter

"Christmas lunch = yes"
- Lex (Vue De Cuisinier) via Twitter

"Mr. Snowman getting demolished...Om nom nom so good!"
- Stephcookie (Raspberri Cupcakes) via Twitter

- Dan Hong via Twitter

"Merry xmas!! Oink oink!!"
- Dan Hong via Twitter

"Complete and ready to be served. Tortellidizucca with burnt butter, Parmigiano and sage"
- Stefano Manfredi via Twitter

"Christmas pavlova. little "heavy" on the topping though :)"
- Simon (The Heart of Food) via Twitter

"Not bad 4 a bone-out number, works well with watermelon rind pickle + Monteith's cider"
- Juan-Carlo (flavourfirst) via Twitter

"Christmas feasts with a view. Merry Christmas everyone!"
- Trina (Foraging Otaku) via Twitter

"This bird is 4.6kg, so yes. We will be eating off it for the next few weeks!"
- Kelly Siew via email

My first attempt at Red Velvet Cupcakes and I tell you what: They freaking rock!
- Kelly Siew via email

"Xmas dinner at dads..tamarind mud crab, viet dried fish salad, deep fried quail"
- Dan Hong via Twitter

"Christmas glazed ham with Guinness, mustard, marmalaide and pineapple juice"
- Ellie (Almost Bourdain) via Twitter

"Christmas dinner, what to have after a 5 course lunch..."
- Eating with Jack via Twitter

"Momofuku porky, roasted capsicum & pumpkin salad,
prawnies, mash, sashimi, chilli lobster and deep fried mantou"
- Chocolatesuze via Twitter

"He wasn't cheap, but the final results were worth it. Thanks Pinchy!"
- Lachie (Gourmet Husbands via Twitter

"Apricot, peach and mustard-glazed ham;
cranberry, warm walnut and blue cheese salad with orange dresssing;
and Mum's famous sausage rolls"
- Steph Bond via email

"Family Christmas feast"
From top: Couscous, beetroot and labneh salad, chocolate with salt and olive oil,
homemade gravlax, pulpo a la gallega, prawn spring roll, scallop lollipop,
roasted tomato and capsicum on crostini, chicken roulade with pistachio
and cranberry, Southern spicy drumettes
- Pig Flyin via Twitter and flickr
30 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/24/2009 12:34:00 pm


  • At 12/24/2009 1:45 pm, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    Even when I come from a southern hemisphere country, my family's Christmas dinner (on the evening of the 24th) has always been oven-roasted turkey, rice, apple puree, a rich salad with cooked veggies and mayo, panettone and hot choc. This year my sister, my husband and I (the ones who live in Sydney) will have a lighter and fresher version of it: turkey breast with pecan-cranberry stuffing, caprese salad, potato/mint salad (no mayo!), asparagus/broccoli salad, plus triffle for dessert. For lunch on the 25th we'll follow our family's tradition: Peruvian style Cantonese food.

  • At 12/24/2009 2:09 pm, Anonymous MrsPigflyin said…

    Dear Helen, Thank you for sharing so many of your delicious food adventures with us in 2009, wish you a very happy holiday with lots of great feasts!

    Ham and home-made gravlax salmon are must-haves for our family Christmas dinner, will let you know what else we have this year.

    dairokkan, I am very intrigue by your Peruvian style Cantonese food, can't wait for photos!!

  • At 12/24/2009 2:10 pm, Blogger Kate said…

    Wishing you a truly wonderful Christmas Helen! Thankyou so much for all your effort throughout the year on your brilliant site. Reading your blog each day has allowed me to feel part of something and the wonderful food has inspired me to eat again after being do sick this year. Christmas for us starts at 4am at the fish markets on Christmas Eve morning (a tradition since I was 3. Christmas day will be with close friends and to make sure no one misses out, there will be seafood AND roast turkey. Christmas pudding AND homemade ice cream and cookies. Enjoy tomorrow, many people will be thinking of you. Happy Christmas!All my love

  • At 12/24/2009 2:46 pm, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    My family traditionally has never 'done' Christmas, and I used to spend it with a close friend's family instead. Since meeting my husband, we've always had Christmas with his family. This year it will be an orphan's gathering as multiple friends have parents who've decided to escape overseas, leaving the kids to defend themselves!

    Merry Christmas, Helen =)

  • At 12/24/2009 6:33 pm, Blogger Y said…

    Merry Christmas to you, and all the best for the New Year :)

    Our family Christmas is pretty eclectic. A mishmash of cuisines to suit as many palates as possible. Just the way I like it actually, because previously you would have found my mom trying to roast a turkey whilst having the air-conditioning on full blast. Probably not the most sensible way to celebrate!

  • At 12/24/2009 8:11 pm, Anonymous Mark said…

    Thanks for the post. I'm from NZ but lived in the UK for six years. I could never get used to the indoor Christmas (an indoor menu) for Christmas day over there. Happy to be back down under and will be feasting on the following:

    pancakes and eggs bennedict

    christmas lunch:
    seafood, and lots of it
    lots of asian style salads
    pig on a spit mmmm

    merry christmas to you and yours =)

  • At 12/24/2009 8:28 pm, Blogger trashtastika.com said…

    As someone who works for the RTA monitoring the traffic and sees the chaos every year near the fish markets, I just shake my head and chuckle. Last night and today were woeful.

    We CAN eat seafood any time, people! But I guess for some people the tradition is so important they are prepared to face a long wait in queues.

    I'll be in Cambodia, so will be eating amok or luc lac or similar:)

  • At 12/24/2009 8:52 pm, Blogger YaYa said…

    Thanks so much for an entertaining foodie year, best wishes for Christmas and Happy New Year! We always have a designated Christmas dish to bring but being pigheaded foodies everyone always brings extra stuff anyway and we end up with a joyous potluck, too much food of course!

  • At 12/24/2009 10:03 pm, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Helen, it's been wonderful meeting you this year! I'll be having lamb on the spit-"Greek style"! Lots of tzatziki and lots of Greek sweets. All the best for the festive season!

  • At 12/24/2009 10:10 pm, Anonymous I<3Helen said…

    HHEELLEEENN! I am your no. 1 fanboi!! Thanks so much for all your wonderful posts of '09

    Here is to many many fooding adventures of the brand new year ^^!

    Merry Xmas!

  • At 12/24/2009 10:42 pm, Blogger Yas @ hungry.digital.elf. said…

    Very Merry Christmast to you Helen! And wish you even more exciting eating adventure on your way next year - and you know I'll be happy to come along!

  • At 12/24/2009 11:22 pm, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Merry Christmas Helen!! Hope the new year brings you lots more deliciousness :) I shall be feasting on prawn cocktails, turkey, duck and lots of cake and shortbread!

  • At 12/25/2009 11:59 am, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    Merry Christmas Helen!! May it be filled with lots of food!

    My Xmas eve consisted of turkey, ham, roast spuds, prawns and salad. Was very happy because I don't get to eat turkey often enough. For us it's always seafood and Malaysian food but I'm sad cos there were no oysters for the first time :(

    Chrissy dinner will be with the in-laws and I'm hoping for another traditional 'English' dinner. Sad to miss out on my relo's dinner though - I heard they hired a satay man!!

  • At 12/25/2009 1:35 pm, Blogger Swee San said…

    oh yum!! Merry Christmas to you Helen, have a happy holidays !!

  • At 12/25/2009 2:03 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    dude merry christmas! heres to lots of tasty eats!

  • At 12/25/2009 2:17 pm, Blogger Forager said…

    My parents have never really gotten into Christmas being very traditionally Chinese, but courtesy of my adopted family - i.e. my bf's family I know enjoy the best Christmas feasts. But it's nice to know about everyone elses too (love the twitter feed!). Hopeing yours is a very Merry Christmas Helen!

  • At 12/25/2009 9:14 pm, Anonymous Kelly said…

    Merry Xmas!!

    I did the traditional turkey + eggnog for xmas. Photos can be found at http://kelly-siew.xanga.com/718815447/so-this-is-christmas-and-what-have-you-done/

  • At 12/25/2009 11:12 pm, Anonymous ladyironchef said…

    merry xmas helen! :)

  • At 12/25/2009 11:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Merry Christmas Helen! Many many more eating to come :)

  • At 12/26/2009 10:17 am, Anonymous Simon said…

    For likely the third time, Merry Christmas! It's nice that between feasting, friends & family we still care enough to share a little something for Twitter and the like. :)

  • At 12/26/2009 11:34 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    merry xmas helen! I am still amazed at your xmas eve dinner and the xmas lunch was only few hours apart! Somehow you brought the Ramadhan out of the Xmas ! LOL

  • At 12/27/2009 12:20 am, Blogger lex said…

    Merry Christmas Helen! Let me know of any creative and different ways you going to use what's left over of that 7kg turkey haha

  • At 12/27/2009 7:06 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    What great food everyone had! When I saw the duck in duck, it reminded me of a turducken straight away!

  • At 12/27/2009 2:44 pm, Anonymous Trissa said…

    I loved this post Helen - it is so interesting to see what everyone had for Christmas - alas, I was not able to take any photos - too many hungry family members threatening to inflict harm if I took any photos! Oh well... maybe next year!

  • At 12/27/2009 3:02 pm, Blogger Simon Seow said…

    OMG. So many food.

  • At 12/27/2009 6:52 pm, Anonymous Miss Dissent said…

    Happy holidays Helen. A great post, lovely to see such a diversity in the ways food bloggers spend Xmas!

    It's been a pleasure reading your 2009 posts!

  • At 12/27/2009 8:44 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    That's a great Christmas roundup! I love seeing what everyone had for lunch. Have a happy new year!

  • At 12/28/2009 2:15 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Dairokkan - Ooh your Christmas dinner sounds lovely and Peruvian-style Cantonese food sounds fascinating

    Hi Mrs Pig Flyin - Thank you for your endless hospitality and your kind comments. I keep meaning to make gravlax but never do - lol - and I can only imagine the wonderful Christmas feast you have in store this year!

    Hi Kate - Thank you so much. Your comments are quite touching and I'm truly humbled :) Your Christmas sounds wonderful - I love that you get up so early on Christmas Eve. Christmas pud and homemade ice cream sound like a perfect combo too. Hope you had an amazing Christmas too :)

    Hi Mademoiselle Delicieuse - Orphan gatherings are sometimes the best fun of all. Hope you had a lovely Christmas with your friends - when the cat's away...!

    Hi Y - Oh I love a mish mash of cuisines. Always good to have variety. Hope you had some treasured time off work to relax with friends and loved ones and Merry Christmas to you too :)

    Hi Mark - I actually relished the chance to have a full-blown hot roast dinner in appropriate zero-degree weather. Plus the added bonus was you could actually eat more! Your Christmas feast sounds delightful though and hello, pig on a spit! Oh I'm crazy envious! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas too :)

    Hi The Fashionate Traveller - Ahh yes I can only imagine how the traffic must look like, esp on time lapse! Hope you're having fun in Cambodia :)

    Hi YaYa - Too much food seems par for the course at Christmas, but then I am always the type to want to try a bit of everything anyway. lol. Hope you had a lovely Christmas and best wishes for the New Year to you too :)

    Hi Peter G - Such a pleasure to hang out with you. I feel like I've known you for ages :) A Greek-style Christmas sounds fantastic - and I've always wanted to taste a real lamb on a spit. What time should I come over? lol

    Hi l<3Helen - I'm guessing this is someone I know? lol. Merry Christmas to you too :)

    Hi Yas - Hope you had a lvoely Christmas and yes, definitely looking forward to many more delicious escapades with you next year - many of them presumably involving pork crackling. lol

    Hi Stephcookie - Merry Christmas to you too. Your snowman cake looked so cute and tasty! Here's to more tasty treats in 2010 :)

    Hi Karen - A satay man? That sounds so wrong, and yet so good! lol. Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas, and yes, mine had lots of food!

    Hi Swee San - Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and happy holidays to you too :)

  • At 12/28/2009 2:15 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Chocolatesuze - Thanks dude :) Looking forward to plenty more edible adventures with you ahead!

    Hi Forager - It's always great to adopt more celebrations through extended family. Presumably your bf relishes the chance to partake in CNY celebrations too :) Hope you had a great Christmas too :)

    Hi Kelly - Ooh turkey and eggnog are the perfect combo for Christmas. Thanks for the pics too!

    Hi Ladyironchef - Merry Christmas to you too Brad!

    Hi Ellie - Hope you and your beautiful family had a lovely Christmas too. Thanks so much for being such a gracious host and yes, definitely looking forward to more eating adventures ahead!

    Hi Simon - Ha, Merry Christmas to you too. Oh yes, we're all so giving, even to Twitter. lol

    Hi Billy - lol. It's quite amazing how much the body is capable is capable of eating once you put your mind to it. lol. Hope you had a very merry xmas too!

    Hi Lex - Actually the turkey was at a friend's place but lol, I'm sure the internet abounds with creative uses for it!

    Hi Joey - Never had the chance to try turducken. And yes, much fun to see what everyone else had for dinner - I'm always food-nosey!

    Hi Trissa - Ha that's why sometimes I snap a photo of my plate, lol. Am sure you enjoyed a wonderful feast :)

    Hi Simon Seow - I think that pretty much sums up Christmas. lol

    Hi Miss Dissent - Not everyone above is a food blogger but yes, always fun to check out what people are eating. And thank you - I look forward to reading yours too in 2010 :)

    Hi Arwen - Nothing like a round-up to celebrate food voyeurism I say :) Happy New Year to you too!

  • At 12/28/2009 8:45 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Thank you Helen for a wonderful yummy 2009 and looking forward to you weaving you blog magic for all of us in 2010.


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