Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Party 2008

This year, we continued with our little "tradition" of having a few close friends come by for Christmas dinner. I decided to plan for a relatively easy-to-prepare meal, comprising:
Mushroom consomme. Sweat about 50g shallots (chopped) in 2 tablespoon of butter for about 3 minutes, add 400g of chopped fresh shitake mushrooms and continue to sweat for a further 5 minutes. Add 300ml of chicken stock and 570ml of water (I substituted by using turkey stock made from the bones of two large turkeys that had been served for the office Christmas party on Christmas eve). Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour. Sieve the soup, discarding the mushrooms. Alternatively, for a more creamy soup with a stronger and earthier mushroom fragrance, puree the mushrooms in a blender.
I loved this soup. It was really tasty, even without me adding any salt.
Twice-cooked Roast Duck, Neil Perry style, with orange sauce. Season the duck with sea salt, inside and out. Steam for 45 minutes and allow to cool. Rub with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, and roast in an oven at 230 deg C for around 45 minutes or till skin is crispy brown, turning over the duck midway through (I roasted for 1 hour, and turned on the grill for the last 10 minutes to get the desired crisping effect).
I can't remember how I made the orange sauce - through lots of trial and error, but the party seemed to love it and finished it up.
The taste of the duck was quite good and fragrant, although I personally felt that the texture was rather touch (E later reassured me that the natural texture of duck meat is rather tough so that was to be expected). Nothing really special about this dish though, I would probably do something else next time.
BBQed Asparagus. Trim the tough ends off the stalks of medium sized asparagus, and do some further peeling if necessary. Toss the stalks in a bowl with sea salt and olive oil. Sauteed over a hot grill for 2 min on each side. Serve with a small squeeze of lemon.
Delightfully smoky in taste while still preserving the bite of the stalks and subtle sweetness of the asparagus.
Dessert was a fruit assembly of sliced peaches, kiwis and sweet korean strawberries, served with a generous topping of a ricotta cheese-egg yolk custard, designed, supplied, and (partly assembled) by my friend TT. I also served home-made cranberry ice cream as well as coffee with chocolate chip ice cream which were also very well received by my lovely friends and husband - recipes will be posted at later date.
Here's looking forward to a great year-end celebration and New Year ahead!

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