Whenever December hits I get incredibly excited. I know a lot of people get excited by Christmas, but I am particularly strict about festivities not seeping into November or, god forbid, October. So when December 1st hits, I go at christmas full throttle. Everything must have a christmasy twist to it, and appropriate music should be continually playing in the background. Right now, Frank Sinatra is singing “I’ll be home for christmas” to me with his dulcit tones.
Yesterday my very good friend Tom came for dinner. You haven’t met him yet, but he’s very important and deserves a mention. In January he is getting married! And I am reading at the wedding. I have written a poem for the event and I’m hoping it goes down well.
Tom is an ex-rugby playing, proper lad’s lad of a man when it comes to food. It was his stag doo a couple of weekends ago, and one of his primary requests was that they dine at one of these brazilian all-you-can-eat meat feasts. That gives you an idea. So I wanted to cook him something suitably full-on (would I ever do anything different?) but also healthy, and now also festive. This is what I came up with:
Large lamb meatballs
served with tumeric cauliflower egg-fried rice
and cranberry brussell sprouts
The large lamb meatballs were basically just lamb burgers, but cooked in delicious tomatoey juices. I fried up an onion and a handful or 2 of cranberries (festive – boo ya!) in a splash of good old olive oil, then added garlic (as much as you wish) and half a tin of chopped tomatoes. When this mixture had begun to thicken, I added the burgers, turning occasionally. Once they seemed brown on both sides I placed the dish in the oven at 200 degrees C for about 15/20 minutes while I prepared the sides.
The cauliflower egg-fried rice I served with the lamb was a much simpler version than that which I wrote about earlier in the year, because this was a side rather than a full meal. I just grated up a whole head of cauliflower and then fried it in a little sesame oil, before adding a tsp of tumeric, a tsp of cumin seeds, a tsp of paprika and half a tsp of black onion seeds (I love these little fellas). Be sure not to cook the cauliflower gratings for too long – it is nicest when still a little crunchy.
For the cranberry sprouts, I took a very little bit of advice from the notoriously un-healthy american holiday of Thanksgiving. I haveheard tales of brussell sprouts dripping in oil, and sweetened. This sort of sounds fantastic, but slightly defeats the object of serving this incredibly nutritious vegetable! So I didn’t go quite so far. I steamed my brussell sprouts, then tossed them around in a pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil and another handful or 2 of cranberries. Cranberries are a beautiful and nutritious festive addition to any meal. Read all about them here.
It certainly created a very colourful plateful, which Tom subsequently cleared away. Must have been alright then!