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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Stomachs Eleven Christmas Dinner 2013

Prawn cocktail and homemade Christmas crackers at the Stomachs 11 Christmas dinner 2013

Let's face it. Christmas is all about presents when you're a kid. It's not until you're older that Christmas becomes more about family - in whatever form they come. It's the crazy clan of relatives that no outsider could ever fully fathom; it's the network of friends and confidantes who get you, put up with you, and sometimes make you laugh so much you feel like you've just run a marathon.

Christmas inevitably involves frantic last-minute present shopping but it also gives us the perfect excuse to congregate over good food. I love that most Aussie Christmas dinners include fresh seafood, a baked ham and the quintessential pav.

To say we look forward to the annual Stomachs Eleven Christmas dinner is an understatement. Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin' aren't just phenomenal cooks, they're incredibly generous in spirit - and spirits!

Origami Christmas trees
Origami Christmas trees

We arrived to find a table festooned with origami Christmas trees folded by Silvrlily. She also made a very clever centerpiece using a tangle of lights curled within an upturned glass bowl.

2002 Pol Roger vintage champagne
2002 Pol Roger vintage champagne

Mrs Pig Flyin raided her cellar for an incredible bottle of vintage Pol Roger. The party definitely started when the champagne cork hit the ceiling with a bang!

Smoky Bloody Mary oyster shots
Smoky Bloody Mary oyster shots
Sydney Rock oysters with homemade smoked tomato and horseradish sorbet

We kicked off with oysters three ways. The smoky Bloody Mary oyster shot was incredible, inspired by Movida's signature dish, but given a twist by Pig Flyin with horseradish added to his home-smoked tomato sorbet. I neglected to get a photo but there were also raw Sydney rocks with a gin and tonic dressing. Perfect for summer!

Oysters Rockefeller
Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters Rockefeller rounded out the trio - plump Pacific oysters covered with a parsley butter sauce and flashed under the grill.

Home-cured and home-cold smoked salmon
Home-cured and cold smoked salmon using alder wood chips

Pig Fyin likes to smoke... with his barbecue, that is! A side of salmon had been cured and then cold smoked using alder wood chips.

Homemade cold smoked salmon
Homemade cold smoked salmon with pressure-cooked mustard seeds

Thick slices of cold smoked salmon were smoky and firm with a lovely springiness in the mouth. Pig Flyin pressure-cooked a heap of mustard seeds to take the heat out of them, and then added them to the salmon for textural contrast.

Prawn cocktails
Prawn cocktails with cos lettuce hearts, avocado and homemade cocktail sauce

We kicked back with old skool prawn cocktails - enormous king prawns perched on a bed of creamy avocado with homemade cocktail sauce and crisp cos lettuce hearts. Such a classic combo.

Deep fried turkey wing tips
Deep fried turkey wing tips

Turkey is popping up more and more at Christmas dinners but I love that Pig Flyin decided to highlight that often overlooked treasure - the turkey wing tip! These deep fried babies were deliciously crunchy - and enormous too!

Crispy deboned turkey mid-wings with turkey gravy and cranberries
Crispy turkey mid-wings: deboned, brined, sous vide and pan-fried served with turkey gravy and cranberries

The turkey mid-wings had been deboned, brined and then cooked sous vide until tender. Pan-fried to a crisp, these were served with a turkey gravy made from the turkey legs. It's worth remembering too that the turkey mid-wings are about three times the size of a chicken's!

Deep fried onion rings
Giant onion rings made with Italian salad onions

More deep-fried happiness came in the form of onion rings. Pig Flyin used Italian salad onions that are mild in flavour, dipping them in a slow-rise yeast batter with added Trisol for sustained crunch. Trisol is one of Ferran Adrian's Texturas powders, and gives a long-lasting crunch to products even after they've cooled. These were still crunchy two hours after frying! Trisol is a soluble fibre made from wheat.

Stuffing log with chestnuts and bone marrow
Stuffing log with highlights of chestnuts and bone marrow

There was a giant log of stuffing, hidden with surprises of peeled chestnuts and pockets of bone marrow. The entire thing was covered in toasted hazelnuts.

Watermelon, feta, tomato and mint salad
Watermelon, feta and tomato salad with homegrown mint

Salads were light and refreshing, including a juicy watermelon, feta and tomato salad with homegrown mint and a cucumber and Italian onion salad.

Cucumber and onion salad
Cucumber and Italian onion salad with pressure-cooked mustard seeds

Timballo - Mrs Pig Flyin's now signature Christmas dish

Apparently the timballo has become Mrs Pig Flyin's signature Christmas dish. The amount of work required is worth reserving only for special occasions!

Timballo pasta tubes stuffed with mini meat balls, boiled eggs and peas in a homemade tomato sauce from locally grown tomatoes
Pasta tubes stuffed with mini meatballs, boiled eggs and peas in a homemade tomato sauce 

Cooked pasta tubes are placed vertically in a baking dish then stuffed with mini meatballs, boiled eggs and peas. The entire lot was then covered with a homemade tomato sauce made from locally grown Italian tomatoes. The timballo is baked in the oven until the outer tubes become wondrously crusty. It was one of my favourite dishes of the evening - rustic and made with so much love.

Kurobuta Berkshire ham from Victoria Churchill with a homemade Christmas spiced orange glaze
Kurobuta Berkshire ham from Victor Churchill with Christmas spiced orange glaze

There was an audible gasp when the Kurobuta Berkshire ham hit the table, mostly because there was a mad scramble to make room for the beast.

Carving the ham
Carving the ham

Still warm from the oven, the ham was incredibly soft and juicy, crowned with caramelised chunks of fat that had been glazed with a Christmas-spiced orange syrup.

Christmas cracker spoils: Lego mini figure, Lindt chocolate, farm animal and scratchie
Best Christmas crackers ever! Lego mini figures, a farm animal and a scratchie 

And let's not forget the Christmas crackers! Silvrlily and Super Mario assembled these using a DIY Christmas cracker kit. The kit includes the paper hat, joke and gunpowder strip but you get to add your own trinkets. Our crackers included a Lego minifigure, farm animal and a scratchie - I scored the diner waitress and the pig. Both highly appropriate! No money won on the scratchie but diner waitress! On rollerskates!

Homemade pavlova with homemade passionfruit curd, mango, raspberries and redcurrants
Pavlova with homemade passionfruit curd, mango, raspberries and redcurrants

Dessert was the good ol' fashioned pavlova, oozing with homemade passionfruit curd, fresh mangoes, raspberries and frosted redcurrants. It was amazing. I had a second slice just to make sure.

Homemade mini Baileys Christmas puddings and ice gingerbread men
My mini Baileys Christmas puddings and iced gingerbread men

I brought along petit fours on a Christmas tiered platter I scored from a local market for $20. I'm determined to use it as much as I can during the festive season! I made iced gingerbread men biscuits and mini Baileys Christmas puddings. Everyone was way too full to eat many but that's what take-home bags are for!

Thanks again Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin for another memorable evening, and our Stomachs Eleven family for a night of fun.

Have a brilliant Christmas wherever you may spend it, and here's to plenty of good cheer and laughter :) 

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Stomachs Eleven Christmas - 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008
25 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/24/2013 02:16:00 am


  • At 12/24/2013 8:36 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    now that's an xmas feast. happy christmas helen.

  • At 12/24/2013 9:07 am, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    I was missing your Stomachs Eleven posts. I'm making wishes to meet friends like your hosts next year... ha! Have a merry Xmas!

  • At 12/24/2013 9:34 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Hi Helen! A very Merry Christmas to you & your loved ones. What a phenomenal meal to kick start your festive season! I'm truly amazed by the delicious varieties. Wow from smokey Bloody Mary oysters, to df turkey tips. Lego prizes (on roller skates) and your lovely gingerbread folk!

    Enjoy the silly season!

  • At 12/24/2013 11:28 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Turkey wings - what an amazing idea! Merry Christmas Helen - hope you have a great one :)

  • At 12/24/2013 11:38 am, Anonymous Chocolatesuze said…

    Sounds like another incredibly epic feast! Merry Christmas!

  • At 12/24/2013 1:52 pm, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    Oh wow the pasta dish is very impressive! Who'd thought to put them vertically? Looks like you had a wonderful feast!

  • At 12/24/2013 3:55 pm, Anonymous Cindy (A Foodie's Joy) said…

    OMG Helen! What a spread, what a feast! How wonderful to have a recurring tradition with such wonderful friends who are part of your family! A Happy Christmas to you too! May the new year be a joyous one for you and your family!

  • At 12/24/2013 4:18 pm, Anonymous Kelly @ MsBrulee said…

    How lovely of Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin to make such mouth-wateringly incredible dishes. I mean how can everything look so delicious?!?! I always look forward to these stomachs eleven posts, they're very inspirational :)

  • At 12/25/2013 2:14 am, Blogger YaYa said…

    How I love your Stomachs Eleven dinners, have a great Christmas everyone!

  • At 12/25/2013 4:56 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Such an absolute dream! Sometimes I'm still surprised that, when I met this Mr and Mrs, they weren't actually magical beings from another chef galaxy.

  • At 12/25/2013 2:31 pm, Anonymous Chris @ MAB vs Food said…

    Merry Xmas Helen! Everything looks delicious especially that Xmas ham! I'd like the whole leg please!

  • At 12/25/2013 9:01 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Yum! How on earth do you get in on this action. Gimme a bucket of those onion rings and I'm happy.

  • At 12/26/2013 10:26 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I always look forward to your stomachs Eleven dinners.. they are always so epic. Once again everything looks great especially that ham yum!

  • At 12/26/2013 1:35 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    what an epic feast! so jealous of your stomach right now...

  • At 12/26/2013 7:42 pm, Anonymous sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    I always look forward to your stomachs eleven christmas posts. Delicious as always!

  • At 12/26/2013 11:58 pm, Anonymous Christine @ Cooking Crusade said…

    Wow! What an incredible Christmas meal. I would look forward to this all year for sure. The pavlova looks especially amazing. Yum!

  • At 12/27/2013 12:20 am, Blogger CQUEK said…

    These are absolutely lovely! Merry Christmas!

  • At 12/27/2013 11:36 am, Blogger irene said…

    Merry (belated) Christmas, Helen! The feast looks absolutely amazing, I personally love the look of the Timballo the most!

  • At 12/28/2013 8:30 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Merry (belated) christmas to you! This looks absolutely amazing! home cooked you say? that is quality food... and your gingerbread men, looks so adorable, and the puddings look amazing!

    Happy holidays!

  • At 12/29/2013 5:25 pm, Anonymous Gourmet Getaways said…

    That is hands down the most amazing Christams dinner I have ever seen!!! I jut can't imagine the preparation that went into such an event.
    Great story and Merry Christmas, I am sure you had a wonderful day.

  • At 12/30/2013 2:51 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    Oh wow! Holy amazeballs! That looks absolutely incredible!! My Christmas lunch seems so inferior, lol!

    xox Sarah

  • At 1/01/2014 7:31 pm, Anonymous Arwen (Hoglet K) said…

    The pasta tubes sound fiddly but amazing. What a feast! Happy New Year!

  • At 1/02/2014 2:13 pm, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    Oh my goodness, what a spread! That's definitely restaurant quality.

  • At 1/02/2014 5:20 pm, Anonymous Iron Chef Shellie said…

    Wow amazing!!!!
    Those origami trees are incredible, wonder if I can remember them for this year's Christmas!
    And mini meatballs in pasta tubes.... sign me up nowwwwww!!!

  • At 1/02/2014 5:21 pm, Anonymous Iron Chef Shellie said…

    Wow amazing!!!!
    Those origami trees are incredible, wonder if I can remember them for this year's Christmas!
    And mini meatballs in pasta tubes.... sign me up nowwwwww!!!


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