Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Redux

We continued our tradition of celebrating a pre-Christmas feast at the vineyard at Murrumbateman this year. It rained heavily throughout the evening (the Sunday before Christmas) forcing the freshly shorn sheep and lambs to the shelter of the trees and making us miss out on seeing the usual spectacular sunset behind Mt Nanima.

The rain made it a perfect evening for feasting. We all contributed dishes according to our allocated ingredients. Judy dressed her oysters in 4 different delicious ways and created an ode to peas in plating up her scallops. I captured Wayne helping with the plating-concentrating hard on creating perfect scoops of pea blancmange!

Maxie made an Ottolenghi inspired goat's cheese and caramelised onion pie (her ingredients were eggs and cheese) which was served with my beans and hazelnut and orange salad (also Ottolenghi).

Jennie served George Calombaris style lamb cutlets as a delicious appetizer with our glass of Marjella, then roasted lamb backstrap for our main course, served with my roasted sweet potato and pecan and maple salad and my burnt aubergine with yellow pepper and red onion salad. As her other ingredient was nuts Jennie also served macadamia nut tartlets as our first dessert course, later.

Shane the expert vine grafter was there again this year, along with the beautiful young Sophie, the vine wrapper. He provided a freshly caught whole snapper for our feast, which Jennie had baked with Asian seasonings.

My ingredients were cream and salad. I created muffin size date, chocolate and nut meringue cakes served with cream, shaved chocolate and macerated strawberries. Because I wasn't too sure about the meringue cakes I also made some chocolate brownies (Jamie Oliver's bloomin beautiful brownies in fact). I needn't have worried as the meringue cakes were just fine and the brownies were just a delicious overkill. Anke also contributed fresh strawberries dipped in Lindt chocolate to finish off the meal.
As usual it was an awesome, delicious feast with Thomas, Maddie and Sophie (and Maggie the Jack Russell) providing the accompaniment to Christmas carols as usual. Our carol singing was much louder than usual this year because it was staged in between second and third courses after we'd drunk at least two glasses of Marjella and our first round of the gorgeous Rieslings offered that night.

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