Merry Christmas Lunch Ingham Turkey and Strawberry Santa

I hope you're all having a great start to the holiday season! I certainly am (besides not having finished my Christmas present shopping) and have kicked it off with a lovely Christmas lunch. So… I've never ever made a roast whole anything not chicken or turkey or quail and decided it was time to take the plunge when I received some Turkey samples from the wonderful people at Ingham.

One of the samples I received was the Whole Turkey Breast Buffe which came pre-marinated, making it a little less daunting for a first timer. The breast buffe weighed in at 3.6kg, and having been kept in the freezer thus far I took it out to thaw in the fridge for a couple of days (13hrs for each kg). Once it was thawed, I pat the turkey dry with paper towels, slipped some rosemary into the skin, stuffed the cavity and placed it on a rack in a roasting pan wih 2 cups of water and into my conventional oven it went. Simple! For the first hour I covered the turkey with foil and added a bit more water to the roasting pan and for the next hour I let it roast foil off until golden brown. Wanting to keep my stuffing simple I used what I had on hand – quartered lemons, rosemary, thyme and garlic. The turkey took around 2.5hours until it was roasted to perfection – a tip to use a meat thermometer so that it reaches 80C to ensure the turkey is cooked. Though the skin was not an even colour and had broken in a few places, when carving the turkey up it revealed the juicy and succulent meat which I was happy with. My family were also impressed and enjoyed our first Christmas lunch wih turkey as the centrepiece – usually we'd have sashimi and seafood…not very Christmassy. As it was my first time roasting a turkey, I was surprised at how simple and effortless it was, making my job a whole lot easier for the day.
While my turkey was roasting away I made a quick and easy warm potato salad with asparagus, leek and crispy pancetta.
As the salad only took 20mins to prepare, I also made a start on dessert Choux Pastry filled fresh cream custard – by making a custard and  combining it with fresh whipped cream you're left with an amazing to die for filling.

Ingham Whole Turkey Breast Buffe

Warm potato salad, asparagus, leek and crispy pancetta

Choux pastry with fresh whipped cream custard
Also, thank you to all the lovely readers who have commented on the Strawberry Santas I made for various Christmas gatherings ๐Ÿ™‚ As some of you have asked for a recipe, it's very very easy to make!
Strawberry Santa Recipe
Wash the strawberries (preferably large strawaberries), remove the leaf and cut the strawberry into two 1/3 from the tip for the hat and the remaining 2/3 will be the body of the Santa. Whip some fresh cream with sugar, ensure that it is stiff so that it can hold up the strawberry hat, and squeeze some onto the body and onto the tip of the hat. Carefully place a black sesame seed for each of Santa's eyes and place the strawberry hat on top. Easy! These are perfect for decoration to a cake or impress with these super cute and easy to make snack.
Strawberry Santas
Hope you all have a safe holiday season and wishing you a Merry Chrismas!

Ayana’s Green Tea Macarons

Two weekends ago, I finally found the courage and pushed myself to try my hand at making macarons. I set aside a whole Saturday afternoon to make these babies and opted to make the Italian style macaron rather than the French style, because the Italian recipe seemed much simpler – equal ratios of almond meal and icing sugar.

I think watching Masterchef has instilled a fear of making macarons for me and so I had prepared myself for failure and disappointment. A good thing really because I failed… like three times ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So off I went and made three major boo boo’s:
First the almond meal was a bitch to sift through so I only sifted it once (in hindsight I should have used a food processor to grind the almond meal more) so it probably wasn’t the most fine of almond meal.
Secondly, when boiling my sugar to 118degrees EXACTLY, I had formed sugar crystals which hardened, so I had to start again. (I made toffee from the failed sugar boiling attempt though)
Thirdly I was scared to overbeat the egg mixture so I didn’t get the stiff peaks I needed = runny mixture.
After all the prep, I was ready to give up, but it would’ve been such a big big waste of time and effort, so I continued to pipe them. The piping was relatively easy and I had piped perfect little circles, but since my mixture was too runny the circles started to look like ovals and then just splats of mixture – oh well. Into the oven for 10mins and lo and behold – my macarons had pied!!! (Pied is the little rough frilly bit at the bottom of the shell). Unfortunately because my oven is tiny they burnt a little and the green has discoloured to a murky green with a hint of brown (I didn’t use any colouring for the shell). Quickly made some green tea ganache filling, squeezed onto one half of the shell, twisted the other half of shell on top – all done! I was really happy with the taste and the texture, crisp on the outside but chewy inside – the only disappointing thing was the look of it.

Guys, it was such an effort – I started at 2pm and finished at 6pm (including the washing up), but I did have a sense of accomplishment that my first attempt weren’t inedible and in fact tasted pretty good, though I was disappointed with the look of it. I was dead tired but I’ll probably try again sometime this week because I’m craving Salted Caramel macarons XP

Ooh they’re glossy, all piped and ready to go

Wafu style Macarons – Green Tea Macarons
(see how my pied/foot got burnt and a little discolouration on the top)

Cooking MAMA! 2

Back from playing house with the bf which was fun – I cooked, he vacuumed, I washed up, he did the laundry and made my bath and made the bed and most importantly made me tea XD

Twice Helen and Jase came over and it was so so so much fun cooking for them and um having Nerf wars XDD
One night Bill wanted to host a Pizza party where he had prepared a "buffet" style table with Pepperoni, Pineapples, Crispy Bacon, Red Capsicum, Roma Tomatoes, Cheese and Teriyaki Chicken – this is Bills type of "cooking". Helen also made her Signature Egg Noodles with Egg in Oyster Sauce.
Prior to that we had a homemade gyoza party and I think we went through close to 100 gyozas and 4 salads between the four of us. The gyoza’s were homemade and we also had  ra-yu gyoza’s too which were PINK – they’re just normal gyoza filling but wrapped in a skin which has been infused with ra-yu (Japanese chilli oil).


I love love love gyoza’s
I could eat them everyday

A few of our eats in the past week…
Ruby Red Grapefruit for breakfast
Garlic Mushrooms and Roasted Tomato on a Toasted Rustic Farmer’s Loaf (from Luneburger)

Homemade Bruschetta Entree
Meat and Three Veg
Rib Eye Fillet, Green Beans and Chilli Tomato
Garlic Butter Kipfler Potatoes
Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pie made with last night’s leftovers

Now I’m back to the rents spoiling and feeding me. Tonight we’re having sashimi :9

Cooking MAMA!

For the past week I’ve been playing house with Bill, trial living together and we’ve settled into a nice routine over the past week. But we’re starting to notice things about each other that  we didn’t really care about before such as he likes really flat pillows whereas I need a full fluffy pillow, he’s pedantic about laundry and cleaning the dishes, he probably also finds me putting the toilet seat down annoying.. and constantly hogging the blankets. Anyways he also loves his computer so I’ve been banished to my own area with the computer so I don’t annoy him while he plays games and what not….so I’m finding I have more spare time for myself than I would usually have… which also leads me to cooking more often. It’s one of things I really enjoy about living together is cooking for him ๐Ÿ™‚ though it took some getting used to… the dinners I’ve been making is enough for four people (but we’ve been taking the left overs to work for lunch so it doesn’t work out too badly)

We tried our best to stay in and cook every night… also to save money but that kinda failed… hard.
On Thursday we ate out at Chat Thai (20 Campbell St Haymarket) for dinner. I love love love the Mu Bhing a kind of skewer with char grilled pork omg so tasty!! and we also tried the crisp fried snapper there for the first time – initially we were going to order the Snapper with Red Curry but Bill really wanted Mussaman curry so we ended up ordering the Bpla Lard Prik crisp fried snapper with chilli and it was really really chilli. Most of the desserts were not available so we ended up just getting a small Coconut and Pandan jelly cake… forgot what it’s called.

On Saturday we pigged out and feasted with Helen, Jase and Jamie at the Sydney Fish Market in Pyrmont (did you hear they may be getting a $40m facelift?!) on three dozens of Sydney Rock Oysters from Tea Gardens and Pacific Oysters from Hawkesbury?! and we also picked out a huge live male Mud Crab from Christie’s Seafoods. We also bought some Prawn Cutlets and Calamari Rings from Doyles at the Fish Market for our deep fried fix.

Oh and we had KFC for lunch on Monday ๐Ÿ˜€ and I think we’re planning on eating out tomorrow night as well…after we do grocery shopping.

Anyhoo, a few photos of the food I DID make for us…

Let’s Cook!
Really simple home food :)) and easy to make
Penne with Roma Tomatoes Boccocini and Basil, Beef Croquette
Japanese style Curry Rice , Penne with Roasted Tomatoes and Eggplant Puree
Oyako Don

DIY TanTan Tsukemen Ramen with Chashu
Add noodles, some chashu, watercress and dip it in the tantan sauce!

Also not pictured is a potato bake with the lot – we chucked in chicken, bacon, mushrooms, onions, pasta…

Anyways I’m pooped.. off to bed.