So with all the feasting that ensued on the night of The Christmas Dinner, I entirely forgot to take a photo of the actual roast chickens. However, as the following photo essay demonstrates, there’s still plenty to see. I’m seriously exhausted, and it’s pretty late so I’m going to be dialogue-lite and let the pictures largely speak for themselves.
Above: I whipped up some pomegranate ice cream on Sunday morning, after I returned from the vege market. Literally – get it – Whipped? Cream? Okay, I told you I was tired, which is a perfectly legitimate excuse for dodgy puns.
Above: In front, Pear and Cranberry stuffing, and in the back, the cornbread stuffing. I may have made a bit extra so that they could stand in as another vegetarian dish. Inexplicably, I never liked stuffing as a child so you can see I am making up for lost time here.
I bought a brace of peppers at the market on Sunday morning and roasted them as soon as I got back. They seemed to just get silkier and more delicious as the day went on and were perfect served at room temperature, so the rich olive oil, clean fresh pomegranate, and salty caper flavours shone through vibrantly.
Chargrilled Peppers with Pomegranate (Nigella Christmas)
6 red and/or yellow peppers (although I got 7 to allow for muck-ups and nibbling-while-cooking)
Seeds from 2 pomegranates (although one is more than fine, Nigella)
2 T fresh pomegranate juice (just give the fruit a squeeze while seeding)
2 t lime or lemon juice
60ml extra virgin olive oil
15ml garlic olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
3 T drained capers
Set your oven to very, very hot – like 250 C. Cut the peppers in half, removing seeds and stalks, and place cut-side down on a baking tray. Roast in the oven till they blister – about 15 mins. Remove and carefully chuck them all into a bowl, quickly covering it with gladwrap till the peppers cool down considerably. From here it will be very easy to remove the skins – just pull them off. Tear the peppers into strips and place them in a serving bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Serve at room temperature. I made mine at about 11am and served it at 8pm, so it benefits from a bit of a sit. I just kept it covered and on the bench, although it won’t come to any harm in the fridge.
The involtini is another one that tastes best when it’s not piping hot. This turned out to be an amazing combination of flavours and textures, so much more than just a token vegetarian dish. There was hardly any left afterwards but what was there made for a luxe lunch the next day, microwaved for a bit and served with salad and leftover roast veges.
Above: The marvelously summery Sangria (and yes, we used those tacky plastic ice cube things…well, they’re practical! And this was hardly a classy joint to begin with.)
Poinsettia, a mix of cranberry juice, cointreau, and sparkling white wine (1 litre, 125 mls, and 750mls respectively) is an enchanting combination that completely owns Buck’s Fizz in terms of festive drinkability. Tip of the cap to Nigella, for all that she half-heartedly protests that she’s not much of a drinker, she can certainly navigate her way round a liquor cabinet.
The table! We managed to fit eight of us around it, not entirely comfortably though…
Above: The roasted pepper salad and boiled new potatoes with mint from our herb patch. Notice the gorgeous yellow bowl which was a Christmas present from the parents last year, and the beautiful Christmas crackers which were really way too classy for us. They contained real presents, like pens, corkscrews and measuring tapes. Nifty or what? True to form, as well as forgetting to photograph the chicken, I forgot to bring the parsnips out of the oven at all until after we finished the main course. They instead became a refreshing palate cleanser between meals, something to consider for your next dinner party perhaps…After dinner we played charming parlour games (well, we played Scattergories, is there a more satisfying game for bookish, wordy BA students to tackle?)
Drama! Tim is the only one in our flat capable of turning jelly out of a mould. He may be the only person in the world who can do it…perhaps we can never know.