Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Food.

I love Christmas even if I do tend to get maudlin. And the food is always excellent. Over the years, I’ve fallen into routine and been in Madras for Christmas as my Grandparents, from both sides, live there but I wasn’t able to make it this year and hence will have to eat vicariously.

When my Grandfather was alive I have recollections of large Christmas parties with hundreds of people, two bars and a mahogany dining table that fair protested under the sheer weight of food. And what a spread it was.

Post-Church breakfast, on Christmas day, was always appam and chicken stew, with a side of egg roast. And dinner, that followed the massive lunch (detailed below), is almost always from Buharis or Blue Diamond. Buharis, being past its prime (even if it did create the original Chicken 65, chicken kebab was item number 65 on their menu and no other explanation is valid.) has more or less given way to the fabulous Sri Lankan Muslim food from Blue Diamond, egg and kheema parathas, ghee parathas, mutton kurma, kotthu paratahas…oh, so good.

Yes, so on with lunch. Us being Mallu, there’d have to be some food from “Our Land”, usually a chicken curry, beef fry, fish fry, red fish curry, two vegetables, papad and some pickle, and the ‘Continental’ side would feature roast turkey, roast chicken, duck if we were lucky, glazed leg of ham, sausages, roast potatoes, gravy, stuffing, Russian salad, bread rolls and crumb fried fish. The menu almost never changed, and still remains the same, except for one year when the Grandmother decided that a roast pig would be a good addition. Minor variations are allowed, some years we have smoked salmon and the Mallu food is prone to change. But the basic nature of the buffet remains unchanged, to this day. Dessert is always a steamed Christmas pudding (with a silver coin in it, for one lucky soul to wish upon.), served with brandy butter, lemon juice and Bosoto Brother’s cream (cream so thick you could invert the tub and it wouldn’t fall.)

This year, being in Bangalore and not having access to my traditional meal, I dined at Sunny’s. They had a set menu, which featured a French onion soup or a pumpkin and apple soup (both were good. Thought the latter could have used more spice to hide the overbearingly sweet base.), starters of smoked salmon rolls, fried nori shrimp, Vietnamese rolls and grilled Shitake mushrooms (all of them, barring the rolls were very good.), a salad of warm goats cheese, green apples and romaine (a fabulous paring but rocket would have worked even better.), a pomegranate sorbet (excellent. But obviously made from juice and hence maybe a little too sweet.) and a main course of turkey served with a sweet potato puree, stuffing and cranberry jelly. (I'm betting that it was a Butterball turkey. Not bad, but I like mine more flavorful, leg meat and all. Good gravy, I can't stand the cranberry jelly, and the whole thing was too nouveau with the sweet potato crap. I wanted roast potatoes. Stuffing was okay, but politically correct as it had chicken sausage and no organ meat) Unfortunately, there was no glazed leg of ham. And the X'mas pudding was more a cake. And no cream and piddlingly little brandy butter.

But for the company, I’d rather have been in Madras.

So, what did you eat for Christmas?


Anonymous said...

Those were the days. Funnily enough on Christmas Day I couldn't stop thinking about our usual Christmas Day feasts.
My menu consisted of:-
1) Breakfast:- 1 1/2 cups of coffee and a cigarette
2) Lunch:- Fried Rice from a Thai take away restaurant
3) Dinner:- 2 Hot Dogs and 2 Corona's.

Our Guests at the hotel must have enjoyed their dinner though. The menu:-

◊ Christmas Day Specials ◊
Monday, December 25, 2006

Calabasa Pumpkin Soup
with Maple Crème Fraiche

Chilled Orange Pekoe Poached Caicos Lobster
with Stolichnaya Spiked Apricot Essence, Won Ton Crisps
and Radish-Carrot Slaw

(Carving Station)
Traditional Roasted Turkey and Ham
with Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli, Giblet Gravy,
Sage and Walnut Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce

◊A∙p∙p∙e∙t∙i∙z∙e∙r∙s ◊

Tasting Assortment of Providenciales Lobster
blackened lobster with tomato marmalade
lobster salad with creole salsa
lobster tempura with bok choy salad

Trio of Conch
conch tacos with tomato and ginger chutney
conch tempura with sashimi sauce
conch creole

Degustation of Duck, Shrimp, and Vegetable Spring Roll
with sweet & sour sauce, beetroot and ginger dressing

Providenciales Conch Chowder
with mild cherry pepper and aged rum

Sushi Crab Roll of Smoked Salmon
with asian salad drizzled with wasabi and a ginger dressing

Tartar of Ahi Tuna
with a tower of cucumber and tomato
served with flour tortillas topped with lime & lemon yogurt

Goat Cheese and Shitake Mushrooms
wrapped in carpaccio of beef on toast,
blueberry vinaigrette scented with rice vinegar
Spinach Salad
with brie cheese, walnuts, raisin and herb vinaigrette
Chilled Consommé of Tomato
with crab and baby corn

◊ S∙a∙l∙a∙d∙s ◊

Mixed Green Lettuce in a Plantain Ring
with herbs and honey vinaigrette

Romaine Lettuce Hearts
with garlic croutons, bacon, a light caesar dressing
sprinkled with aged parmesan cheese

◊ E∙n∙t∙r∙é∙e∙s ◊

Seared Filet of Red Snapper
with shaved fennel and beignet of sweet potato, served with tapenade sauce

Rare Cooked Ahi Tuna
marinated in sweet chili sauce served with sautéed bok choy
and pickled carrot, sour cream and horseradish

Sautéed Sea Bass
served with bok choy, blackened parisienne potatoes
and tomato salsa dressing

Mahi Mahi in Papillotte
with julienne of leek and celery, served with sticky rice and stir fry sauce

Grilled Providenciales Rock Lobster Tail
complimented with carrot mousseline, plantain chips
and draw lobster butter

Ravioli of Lobster
oven baked shitake mushrooms and freshly sautéed bok choy,
served with ginger reduction

Roasted Magret of Duck
with crispy skin, duo of potato and asparagus with warm honey dressing

Broiled Rack of Lamb
garnished with couscous scented with mint, tian of eggplant,
lime and lemon infusion

Oven Baked Free Range Chicken Breast
filled with conch, fried sweet potatoes and risotto of christophine,
served with sweet and sour mango sauce

Seared Veal Tenderloin
served with mushrooms and homemade potato gnocchi
drizzled with marsala reduction

Grilled Filet of Beef Tenderloin
served with fondant potato and oven baked tomato, infusion of cardamom

blr bytes said...

Dang dude. Some menu that! Didja get leftovers?

corporate whore said...

mouth is watering.

my christmas menu was a lot less yummy but a whole lot more happy-in-the-belly.

white wine, beer, rum, plumcake, homemade ginger wine, date and walnut cake, kalkals, guava cheese, goan pork sausages, luncheon meat, brownies, baguettes.

blr bytes said...

More liquid than solid eh? A most *merry* X'mas indeed.

Anonymous said...

What I ate on Christmas Day

jemgal said...

i had delicious kaju masala and kashmiri pulao ond aloo jeera on the revolving 14th floor of om towers in jaipur with life traditional music. all was excellent. Whereas traditionally i would have had a pumpkin or beetroot soup for starters an main course beefsteak with mushrooms in red wine sauce accommpanied by some green leafy salad and boiled or roasted potatoes. 2nd day then the goose with dry fruit filling of plums, chestnut, raisins walnut and else. 2nd day roast leg of lamb with tomatoes, carrots and -guess what- boiled potatoes or aloo kofta you would call that.
whereas i had a special rajasthani veg buffet on the first day which was unbelievably fantastic and the 2nd day i have simply forgotten as i didnt register it was still christmas for me. I loved the food and didnt mind at all it was the opposite really of what i use to have.

blr bytes said...

That's what X'mas is all about, yes?

Family, fun, food and togethernesss. What you eat doesn't matter so much as that you eat it together.

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