Saturday, 15 March 2014

Christmas 2013

Yes, I know. It’s mid-March. But I have only just got round to transferring pictures from my iPhone, itself a complete novelty for me, and found these.

It was a relatively warm Christmas in 2013. My mother avers that Christmas in Melbourne is always 25˚C and overcast, but we’d had a spell of hot weather and it was a bit more summery than that.

Neither of us is particularly bothered about Christmas, and we’ve never done it conventionally. Turkey etc has only appeared if we went to relatives’ homes for Christmas, and I’ve not eaten meat since I was about 13 anyway. Moreover, quite a few Christmases have been spent with other vegetarians.

My proposal for the 2013 Christmas was plant-based dishes, and some meaty/cheesy accompaniments for my carnivorous mother, in a kind of mezze-ish arrangement.

As usual, the inner North came up trumps for interesting and reasonably-priced provisions. On the (vegan friendly!) plate are:

Organic baby spinach + organic orange salad;

Organic heirloom radishes (purple, red, white) with Mount Zero salt;

Tomato, red onion, avocado;

Roasted Japanese eggplant with pomegranate arils;

Roasted asparagus (which was a ludicrous 25c a bunch) and roasted chopped almonds.

Plus gigantic Macadamia nuts; Edwards pumpkin seed sourdough; fruit loaf (can’t remember which bakery - either Philippa’s, La Madre or Zeally Bay, courtesy of the Brunswick IGA).

For Madam Carnivore, Chianina bresaola and Fromager d’Affinois with truffles (from DOC Delicatessen), plus butter from Isigny Ste-Mère.

Dessert for the omnivore was Pavlova. I bought half a kilo of cherries from the Vic Market, paid a (relatively) scary sum for red currants, and got some wildly cheap strawberries (not cheap in taste, fortunately). The pavlova recipe was nothing special - Google will yield many, all basically the same. I might have used ACV instead of white vinegar, but otherwise no fiddling there. The cream was vanilla bean cream, though I had originally planned to use marscapone.

I gorged myself on cherries, nearly (but not quite!) sickening myself of them in the process. 

I think the most significant lesson from this was that the odd luxury item, like a pomegranate, can make an enormous difference to a dish. Realistically, a couple of dollars on the odd special ingredient shouldn't be kept only for Christmas. So I will probably make the eggplant dish more often. 

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