This will be my second Christmas in Australia. Last year we had dinner in family (just the three of us) on the 24th, as is the tradition back home. However, we decided not to eat our “traditional” dinner (roast turkey, applesauce, Russian salad, rice, panettone and hot chocolate, which is perfect for the Northern Hemisphere but does not make sense at all in Lima) but to lighten things up a bit and match the weather. We prepared a stuffed turkey breast, two salads and a mascarpone triffle with berries. On Christmas day, we did follow our family tradition of eating the Peruvian-influenced Cantonese food we call chifa, but this time homemade rather than from a restaurant. That night Alvaro and I went to the Buddhist centre to share a big dinner with our friends, with a roasted leg of lamb, roasted veggies, two salads, mince tarts and Tim Tams.
This year we’ll start a bit earlier. Dinner at the centre will be tonight. Our Russian friend Andrey wanted to have a taste of a traditional Christmas dinner and I thought we could do that, but a few people opposed because a) it’s boring, b) it’s too hot for that kind of food, c) it’s too much work. I agree with reasons b) and c), but how boring can be to eat the same meal only once a year? I know a person who has the exact same lunch every freaking day. Anyway, democracy always wins so we decided to make a non-traditional, easier and weather-friendly meal. I came up with a list of foods and assigned them to each of the people who will attend. I’ll bring Thai-marinated prawns and a frozen ricotta dessert I found in the SMH: torronata with berries and pistachios. The event will be posted here shortly.
Then, on the 24th we’ll have dinner at Alinda & Salvatore’s home. They’re the ones who live in Liverpool and invited us to Alinda’s birthday dinner at Zino. As usual, I’m bringing dessert (this time ricotta cake) and Gladys a bottle of wine. We decided to bring gifts for the families (Alinda & Salvatore plus kids, Alinda’s mum and dad, Alinda’s brother Alfredo & wife Analú) rather than for individual people. I’ll bring edible homemade presents: a jar of granola for each family, with festive decorations.
Finally, we’ll have family brunch on Christmas day. We’ll prepare some savoury muffins and ricotta hotcakes with berries. The details will go in a separate post.
Last night I prepared the granola, following the proportions given by Clotilde Dusoulier in her basic granola formula. The one I baked had the following ingredients: rolled oats, almonds, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, mixed dried fruit, honey, coconut oil, vanilla essence (Peruvian, better than the local ones), cinnamon, cardamom powder, ginger powder, nutmeg, and salt flakes.
I also made the torronata, which is amazingly easy to prepare, you just mix ricotta with sugar, chopped nougat, lemon and lime zest, and whipped cream, then freeze the mix. I suppose the trick here is getting good ingredients, I’d strongly suggest getting proper ricotta and not the commercial ones you find in any supermarket. My rule of thumb is to buy from a deli you trust, go with the ones that come in baskets or make it at home. The recipe for the torronata can be found here.
In case I don’t have time to post anything else before Christmas… Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you have a great time with your loved ones! Eat as healthy as you can and get some exercise. I promise I will.