Thursday 30 December 2010

Book Group Christmas Dinner 2010

I started this post much earlier in the month, but have been down for a couple of weeks with a chest infection (early unwanted christmas gift!)  It was our annual Christmas dinner for bookgroup in early December and all the ladies bought me this gorgeous Christmas table centre as a thank you for hosting book group and feeding them throughout the year.  Isn't it beautiful?  I just love the colour combination of the lime green orchids, the red roses and the gold leaves.  Thanks ladies :-)  (It even stayed fresh for Christmas day!)

I always make the ladies something crafty, either to put in a cracker or as a table decoration that they can take home with them.  This year I made paper ornaments using my delightful new stamps from Waltzing Mouse which fit perfectly in the traditional ornament nestability.  I love these vintage style ornament stamps and I stamped 5 to make each decoration into a sort of bag to hold some candy canes and the second hand-made gift of a badge. 

I saw this sentiment on something earlier in the year and thought it would make a great badge - appropriately worded for a group of busy readers....  I rolled out some sculpy, stamped the sentiment into using an Elzybels alphabet stamp.  I covered with glossy accents once baked and added christmas tinsel glitter to the edge.

Dinner itself is always the traditional turkey with all the trimmings, but one of our ladies turned veggie this year, so I had to come up with a vegetarian option for her and I have to say, I wanted to eat it myself so I thought I'd share it with you.

To begin with I peeled and cubed a small butternut squash and pan roasted the cubes along with diced onion, and diced courgette.  I added cumin and a little alfez lemon stir fry paste for warmth and flavour.  I dry roasted some cashew nuts and then blitzed half of them with half a pack of pistachios - I wanted to leave some for texture and crunch but wanted the ground up nuts to form a mortar to hold the dish together.  Finally I stirred through the remaining nuts, a pack of cubed feta, lemon zest and lots of fresh parsley. I would have added a few diced apricots ideally but my vegetarian friend doesn't like dried fruit.  The resulting mixture can be seen below.

I arranged 6 feuille de brique sheets so that they overlapped to form a rectangle, brushing each with butter to make them stick together.  If you can't find feuille de brique, filo would be a prefectly good substitute, but I would make sure I used more so that it was double thickness everywhere as the brique sheets are stronger and less likely to tear than filo.  I put the filling in the middle, rolled and put seam side down on a baking sheet.  I brushed the top again with butter and sprinkled with sesame seeds and baked in a hot oven for 15 minutes until warm throughout and crispy on the outside.  It went down a treat with the vegetarian guest and was also pretty decent cold for lunch the next day. 

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