Christmas has been a great success. Table set for 19, thanks to borrowed chairs and an extra table from friends next door.

Heston Blumenthal’s potted duck with apple chutney was appreciated by both young and old. Which was good as the duck involved overnight marinating in salt and spices followed by eighteen hours cooking in goose fat. So a degree of forethought required to manage the cooking of same. We were pleased with how the turkey came out – our first shot at cooking a whole bird.

All seven kilograms. Purchased from a Collingwood institution, Tennents Poulterers in Gold Street. The remaining brother serving there bears an uncanny likeness to his produce. Told us the bird came from Numurkah. Hope it had a happy life.

We put the oldest guest to work as she is the best carver, but

took the opportunity to ensure some skills transferrence. Considered opinion in the kitchen was that it could have been cooked some more than the three hours it got, just a little. And that a five kilo bird would have been sufficient. Stuffing was coarse burghul, preserved lemon, brandied currants, roasted pine nuts and caramelised onion. Vegetarians were served stuffed butternut pumpkins. Dried fig compote was a sweet condiment. Glazed ham and mountains of pumpkin, potato and beans rounded out the main course.A choice of three desserts. Moscato jelly, berry salad, sabayon and sparkly meringues was refreshing, delicious summer pudding made with panettone was rich and luscious, and if you had room (and wanted to rediscover your inner child) a slice of chocolate ripple cake prepared by our second youngest guest (nine years old). Ten bottles of wine, including an aged (and delicious) magnum of champagne to wash it all down. All very satisfying. And served and eaten without tears.Afterwards children retired to play games, mid-teens took to the PS 3 but oldest and youngest boys shared the joys of Lego, and a friendship bracelet kit kept three generations of girls amused. All in all a happy Christmas Day.


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