It's hot here; not exactly the weather for a big heavy roast dinner. Goodness knows why we continue with northern hemisphere traditions like that, but we do, and it wouldn't be Christmas without
I fixed up my Christmas dress the day before yesterday - I originally made it with a rather fitting skirt, which promptly split as I was getting into my car to come home from my work party. Luckily I'd bought a heap of fabric, so I removed the original skirt and made another - extremely full this time, it's about one and a quarter circles:
I rather feel as though I need a frou-frou petticoat to go under it and make the skirt stand out!
I started this morning with a piggy breakfast of crêpes with lemon juice and sugar. It's my favourite way to eat an egg.
Notice the lack of whipped cream? Admirable restraint on my part I felt.
Next job was to cook the goose. This goose was a gift from my friend Stephen, it's quite a young goose, and a wild one. It required a certain amount of time with my eyebrow tweezers before I felt it was ready to go anywhere near other food items.
I've never cooked a goose before, so I consulted the web and Mrs Beeton for guidance. Mrs Beeton says the only way you can go wrong with a goose is to overcook it, and I found a hunter on the net who said to remove it from the oven as soon as it hits 160°F (70°C) in the thickest part. The thickest part is certainly the thigh; this particular goose has almost no muscle at all on its breast - possibly because it hadn't learnt to fly yet.
Anyway, I stuffed it with sage and onion stuffing, and tied it up with string before putting it in the oven. One of the really nice things about geese is that they have a large body cavity - you can fit a lot of stuffing in them. I also cut its skin to let any fat out - there didn't seem to be much, but Mrs Beeton said to do that so I did:
Yesterday I picked a bunch of gooseberries from my gooseberry bush, Mrs Beeton recommends gooseberry sauce with a goose (presumably that's why they're called gooseberries), and I rather felt like having a lighter and less sweet dessert than the traditional Christmas Pudding or trifle or pavlova, and thought I might make a gooseberry fool.
I stewed some of the gooseberries last night so they'd be cold by today. I put a little aside to have with the goose, and mixed the rest with whipped cream and put it in the fridge to set.
I peeled some parsnips and kumara (dry-fleshed sweet potato) to roast, and washed some potatoes. It's hard to get floury roasting potatoes at this time of year, and it seems a waste to roast the delicious little new ones that are in season, so I boiled some and roasted a couple. For my green vegetable I picked and podded these broad beans from my garden:
Far from having to cut the goose's skin to let fat out, I had to add some butter so I'd have enough fat to baste the thing in. It didn't take very long to get to 70°C though; only about three quarters of an hour, and I was a bit worried that it wouldn't really be cooked. But there was no pinkness oozing from the hole the thermometer made, so I took the bird out of the oven and put the veges on.
Here's the bird with the roasted veges:
Yes, I have quite a lot of leftovers. A bit silly when I'm off to Australia in two days, but you can't just roast enough vegetables for one person.
And here is my Christmas dinner:
A nice big pile of sage and onion stuffing in the middle, with some goose and gooseberry sauce, a couple of roast potatoes, a couple of bits of roast parsnip, ditto of kumara, and a nice healthy pile of broad beans, all coated with the gravy I made from the pan drippings and stock from boiling up the neck.
The goose was scrummy. Juicy, reasonably tender, and not gamey tasting at all.
I had to wait quite some time before I felt able to eat any dessert, but I managed eventually. Here it is, some gooseberry fool with home-made vanilla gelato:
After that I had to have a little snooze.
Now what am I going to do with the leftovers?