An Early Feast

Tomorrow, Phil and I are taking a train up to Newcastle to spend Christmas and the few days surrounding it with his family. Of course, I'll miss my family - it will be the first Christmas I've spent without them. But I'm really looking forward to meeting the rest of Phil's family and experiencing Christmas in a completely different way with a LOT more people! Phil's aunt and uncle are graciously having me in their home, even with all my dietary restrictions. I'm extremely grateful! To lighten the load of our suitcases that we're bringing up north, Phil and I decided to have our own little Christmas day yesterday. It started with blueberry pancakes (for Phil) and present opening by the tree in the morning. Then I had to rush off for a hair appointment all the way in East London. It took an hour and a half door-to-door. Blah! But I love the new 'do!

When I got back, we started preparing our Christmas dinner. Last year, we did something similar, with me having a small roast chicken and Phil having a nut roast. But this year, I thought we should have the same thing. So I put my Leith's knowledge to good use and cooked up roast salmon, roast potatoes, honey parsnips, and fried brussel sprouts. Yum! Not your typical Christmas dinner, but some of the components were pretty classic. I'll tell you all about dessert tomorrow - it deserves its own post!

Here's a nice close-up of the brussels sprouts (and a very blurry me in the background!)

Salmon with Ginger and Orange

From leith's

The particulars:

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pieces of stem ginger
  • grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp syrup from stem ginger
  1. Place the salmon fillets in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut the stem ginger into fine sticks and put into the bowl with the salmon. Add the orange zest.
  3. Mix the orange juice with the ginger syrup and pour over the salmon. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Heat the grill to its highest setting.
  5. Grill the salmon on one side until crisp. Turn over and baste with the orange and ginger mixture. Grill the second side for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Serve.

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Lime & Parsley

Adapted from a waitrose recipe

The particulars:

  • 2 handfuls brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Cook the sprouts in boiling water and drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the drained, cooked sprouts. Squeeze the lime juice over the top and sprinkle over the chopped parsley leaves. Keep stirring for a few minutes. Fry until sprouts get browned on a few sides.

Honey Roasted Parsnips

The particulars:

  • 2 large parsnips
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 500F.
  2. Peel the parsnips, chop the ends off, and cut into quarters lengthways. Remove the woody stem in the core.
  3. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with the canola oil and honey. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Ross with your hands to coat all the parsnips with the oil and honey.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking constantly and turning around. Be careful the honey doesn't burn!

Lesson learned: Each part of this meal had quite strong flavors. I wouldn't recommend serving them altogether. Especially the salmon: the orange and ginger is such a wonderful combination, but is quite intense, so is probably best served with a blander veg on the side.