Thursday, January 5, 2012

Europe pig-out 3, actually, a cook-out

The butcher who sold us 3 ducks. He wants me to send this photo to him!
What made this holiday so special was a big Christmas dinner with our wonderful friends in Munich. We had arranged a big cook-out for 14 of us and had set aside the whole Saturday to do this together. Looking back, this turned out to be one of the key highlights of the entire trip for me. I feel so bonded to Munich now because of good food and even better friends. Here's a recap of the day in pictures.

Here are some scenes of the local market. I love everything I see. I could really live there, minus the cold. We bought 3 ducks from the Mr Butcher here - he gave us the recipe in German over the counter - stuff the ducks with apples and onions and roast it at 180C for an hour.

We then went to our friend Anika's parents house where we would commence cooking. There I saw these 4 red candles and was told it is a tradition in Munich to light one candle every Saturday in December. Apparently, it's practised by Christians there. I've never heard of it despite being a Christian myself.

We munched on Anika's homemade Christmas cookies throughout the afternoon as we cut and cooked.  They looked as pretty as they tasted and I like them in this deep cake tin.

This is a really interesting appetiser to have - dates wrapped in bacon and roasted in the oven for a mere 10-15 minutes. It's for guests who are hungry before dinner but of course, everyone helped themselves generously to this! I'm so going to try this...and very soon.

Free-range ducks. They're huge! And certainly not cheap. But they look very well cleaned to me.
Sandy got these apples harvested a few months ago. I love them for being so imperfect!
My wonderful friend Sandy who organised the dinner together with Anika and her mom. We cooked everything in this pretty little kitchen. 

Shredded organic fennel, drizzled in extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, then tossed into a salad of oranges and toasted pine nuts. Super nutrients in a bowl!

The moment of truth for me as an extra virgin chef - someone had to carve the 3 ducks when they were done! Thanks to a youtube tutorial by the French Culinary Institute I saw, I managed to carve some chunks out of the bird.

Here's my carved duck!

Now, what's this? Potato au-gratin? I remember it looking really rustic on the table. I need to go back and ask Sandy about this one.

I got too busy with my truffle oil mushroom soup which I got polite reviews on. Personally, I liked it. I used Jamie Oliver's mushroom soup recipe and it felt like I got closer to how he had intended the soup to taste because I was using ingredients from his region! My fussy-eater son went back for a second helping.

OK, so we had some professional help in the kitchen!

It was a wonderful dinner and such a joy to share food with my friends and their families. And look what they gave us for Christmas - a cute basket of home-made sauces, cured German cheese, local ham, and a whole bunch of munchies and goodies to last the holiday. Everything in it made everyday feel like it's Christmas.

And a very special gift just for me - a cheese grater for EVC! Now I can act like Jamie Oliver if I can't cook like him, kekeke! I so love this thoughtful present. And we are all so in love with Munich now!

Please click here to see Europe pig-out 4

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