#merry #moroccan #christmas

Our family is away at a holiday house where most of us have gathered together for a week of festivities and relaxation together.

The week we have been balancing spoiling ourselves with eating well.

Tonight’s menu focussed on Moroccan themes once again using some tried and tested recipes and adding some new!

Also with the limitations of a holiday home pantry, some ingredients are substituted but the overall outcome was just as good. That’s how family cooking should be.

Menu:

Cauliflower and orange salad

Tonight was a great example of how ingredients can be mixed and matched , depending on what you have on hand catering to to different tastes e.g no coriander, and still having lovely meal.

Chicken B’stilla
Couscous with zuchinni and carrot

A Christmas #salad #wreath

I made a Lamb Briyani tonight …which is the same recipe as Durban Indian Chicken Briyani .

I served it with Tarka Dhal and made this Christmas salad wreath with a cucumber raita centre to add a festive flavour to our Pre-Xmas dinner at our holiday home in the Mornington Peninsula.

I just put a small side plate in the middle of the platter and then layered the salad around it with a simple vinegar, oil and sugar dressing. The colour and texture are up to you. I used finely chopped iceberg, shredded carrot, quick pickled red onions and wedges of tomato. I filed the centre with cucumber raita but this Grape and Apple Raita would be lovely too. (The deseed chillies are decorative)

Festive salad and cucumber raaita wreath
Salad Xmas wreath
Lamb Briyani

Old #Tapas favourites at new beach house #morningtonpeninsula

Lovely days settling into our #airbnb beach house at Koonya Beach in Blairgowrie, on the edge of the Mornington Peninsula National Park at the very southern tip of Victoria. This is a very special part of Australia.

View from point overlooking Koonya Ocean Beach, Mornington Peninsula, Australia

Today we went for a walk to Koonya Ocean Beach which is the nesting site of endangered birds and visits form wild seals. The coast is rugged and stunning with swim warnings along the way. After our walk we felt we deserved a lazy tapas lunch on the deck and a lazy afternoon, made extra special with time spent with our love,y new 6 month old granddaughter.

Lovely relaxing times in the lead up to Christmas.

Surveying the beauty!
Wild seal resting!!!

Here are some photos and recipe links for old favourite Tapas dishes and menu for lunch!

Tapas lunch

Menu included:

Prawns with chilli and garlic

Catalan chickpeas with spinach and raisins

Roasted capsicum with tuna filling

Potato and onion tortilla

Fried chorizo

Caperberries and olives

Cheese Plate with Manchego and delicious nectarines…

Oven crisped Baguette to sop up the prawn juices!

A lovely relaxed meal conducive to siesta on the deck!

#Bengali inspired #Prawn Curry #nigellaseeds

The combination is inspired by Bengali curries that use of Panch Phoran Five spice mix, except I substituted some of the spices with fresh ingredients to add zing, and added a “Tadka” style garnish for an extra layer of flavour.

The Nigella seeds are key to adding their unique almost maple syrup tones complementing the sweetness of the prawns.

So, the key ingredients for this curry are fresh prawns, nigella seeds (kalonji in Hindi), fennel seeds, lemon, fresh coriander and lots of ginger. I add two whole red chillies to impart some heat but they can be removed or allocated to the spice lovers!

I finished the prawns by adding my version of a Tadka, by slow frying thinly sliced onions in butter and adding fresh ginger and coriander. This “garnish” added another layer of flavour to the dish, resulting in quite a scrumptious outcome.

Can be served in lettuce cups, naan and/or with rice.looks great on a bed of turmeric rice.

Prep time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 500g shelled and deveined green prawns
  • 2 brown onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, double that amount of ginger
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 3 red chillies
  • 2 Handfuls of curry leaves (or use 2 bay leaves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Fresh Coriander and ginger for Tadka

Method

1. Prepare all the fresh ingredients: a) shell and devein prawns, b) finely dice only 1.5 of the onions and finely slice the other half into thin half moons (keep seperate), c) finely dice the tomatoes, d) pound to make a paste the garlic, equivalent amount of fresh ginger and 1 red chilli together with 1/2 teaspoon salt, d) zest lemon and juice it.

2. Heat oil in shallow wide saucepan, add cumin seeds, add 2 red chillies left whole and curry leaves and cook on low heat until fragrant and leaves stop sputtering. Add diced onions only (not the sliced half moons), cook over low heat until just transparent.

3. Add ginger and garlic paste, nigella seeds and fennel seeds, mix through the onion mixture and cook until just fragrant, taking care so it doesn’t stick to the pot.

4. Add tomatoes and mix through, add the other 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer with lid on until tomatoes break down, adding small amounts of water if necessary.

5. While tomatoes are cooking, make the onions for the “Tadka” garnish: in a seperate pan, melt butter add sliced onions and cook slowly until caramelised. Chop 2 handfuls of coriander, finely slice ginger into matchsticks together with coriander. Set aside

6.When the tomatoes have broken down into a saucy consistency, add 1/2 lemon juice, the prawns and cook for 6-10 minutes, simmering until as much excess water that might come from prawns has evaporated but ensuring prawns don’t over cook. Pour over rest of lemon juice.

7. Garnish prawns with the “Tadka” and serve with rice, naan and/lettuce cups.

Bengali inspired prawn curry with nigella seeds

#Christmas Day Menu and #Recipe Links

These are the recipes for our family Christmas favourites.

After years of rifling through handwritten notes and writing and rewriting lists of ingredients, I think I have finally recorded all the recipes on the blog.

This year our daughter Julia and her partner Ben will be recreating these recipes without us up in Townsville, while we will be making them with our Melbourne family. So whilst we will be apart, we will be united by the menu!

We brine the Turkey overnight so a new bucket is always on the shopping list we started doing this about 10 years ago and it really does make for a scrumptious, juicy Turkey.

Here’s the recipe for the Best Turkey is a Brined Turkey

I do need to still document the process of cooking the Turkey better which I will do this year, along with the gravy and potato salad recipes, but hopefully this will be a reference for us and you for the future. And I think a good Pavlova recipe is a much needed addition still required.

Anyway, hope you get some ideas from or try our family recipes.

First course: We vary the starters with Seafood like fresh or grilled prawns and/or bugs with tartare and/or seafood sauce (mayonnaise, tomato and Tabasco mix) and lots of fresh lemon. Last year we had a delicious Roast peach salad with prosciutto, spinach and bocconcini…or some years we have had a more formal plated starter like Pan-fried scallops.

Pan fried scallops on bed of pea puree

More recently Annie’s Festive Duck roll has become a favourite, and this year Annie will be on hand to make it!

Annie’s Festive Duck Roll

Festive Duck roll with pistachios and cherries

Main course:

We always want potato salad leftovers and to eat with the Christmas ham, so we make both roasted vegetables and potato salad. That way there are roast vegees to have with Turkey and gravy too.

We don’t always make the same salads which leaves some room for new ideas and dessert depends on who is making it. I haven’t decided if we’ll have a Christmas cake this year but if we do it’s usually a lighter fruit cake or some store-bought Christmas pudding?

Glazed Christmas Ham

Roast Turkey with homemade stuffing The stuffing can be used in a Turkey buff roll or in a whole Turkey. We are going the whole “hog” and getting a whole Turkey this year. Makes for great Boxing Day leftovers.

Roast turkey with traditional family stuffing

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Potato salad

Roast vegetables with thyme: pumpkin, eschallots and potatoes

A green vegetable salad like: Brussels sprout and broccolini salad

Orange date pistachio salad

Homemade gravy (with the pan juices from the Turkey)

Dessert: Dessert depends on who is making it! It has ranged from traditional Pavlova to pannetone ice cream sandwiches amd ice cream cakes! I think it’s Pav and berries this year!

Pavlova with fresh berries

Nigella’s Christmas cake made with a jar of Nutella!?

#Christmas #Cranberry #sauce

This Nigella inspired Christmas Cranberry sauce is better than any you will buy but is delicious and looks stunningly red and tastes of Christmas. Perfect with the Turkey.

Homemade cranberry sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 350g dried cranberries
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry liquer or cherry brandy or equivalent of blood orange juice if you don’t have red liquer
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 100ml water plus some extra

Method:

1. Put all the ingredients in a small deep saucepan

2. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes or until cranberries burst. Add more water here if needed.

3. Best to take it off the heat before all the liquid is gone, as it will thicken when cooled.

4. Give it a good mix before serving as it will clump up if you have made in advance.

5. Leftovers should stay out of the fridge as it will harden too much. You can always loosen it up by heating again with a bit of water if you need the next day.