Saturday, December 31, 2011

.. and that brings us to the end of 2011

We have been off work on our Christmas break for a week now, and it has been a great festive season which we have shared with family and friends, enjoying lots of yummy food in the most desirable manner, with the best company you could ask for.

Apart from cooking turkey for Christmas lunch, the kitchen has been very quiet, what with a couple of days away in the South-West, then returning home to a couple of the hottest days this Summer, we have tended to do it easy.

Having nothing planned yesterday and the fact that it had cooled off a little changed that and Jack was in the kitchen cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I would not have had it any other way.

We started the day off with a light, but scrumptious breakfast of ham, cheese and tomato omelette, some toast and coffee. 

After breakfast we took a drive up to Drovers in Joondalup as I wanted to stock the freezer, before we return to work in a few days time.  Drovers marketplace has  just about everything you could want including a huge butchers shop, fruit and veg store, a fish monger, bakery and a fantastic gourmet deli which stocks some of the harder to find delicacies, I love going to Drovers despite the long drive to get there.

Having our supplies of meat, vegetables and a few YUM YUM items from the deli, I suggested we have a look through the fish mongers wares, Jo was keen for me to cook her something with prawns, we found some awesome King Prawn flesh and while doing so Jo spotted a tray of freshly shucked oysters, the look on her face told me she was keen to have some, so a tray went in the basket, these items were to become our lunch on returning home. 

I prepared a small salad to go with the prawns, which I pan fried in some garlic butter, they were delicious, as was the chilli infused olive oil I used for the salad dressing,

For the oyster's I combined 2 teaspoons each of tomato and chilli sauce with a tablespoon of Worcester, I spooned just enough of this over each oyster so as to completely cover, then sprinkled chopped bacon I had prepared earlier over the top with a few grinds of pepper, these went on a wire rack and into a hot oven for 6 minutes, whilst I cooked the prawns.  Finished off with a squeeze of lemon, and washed down with a glass of Watershed SSB, they were divine.

Whilst we were shopping for meat, Jo suggested we purchase a tray of chicken legs for dinner and that we could end our day with a picnic down at the beach. 
I marinated the chicken legs in a paste I made with a small tub of yoghurt mixed with 2 tablespoons of Sherwood's Tandoori Paste, these went onto the tray I had cooked the oysters on and into the oven to cook while we enjoyed lunch.  

I have hung my apron up for 2011, as today is New Year's Eve and we are planning on a day at the races for the Perth Cup, which is being run on NYE for the first time that I recall, it is usually run on New Years Day, so we will not be cooking today, apart from a couple of slices of toast to get us under-way, if the day is half as good as the one we enjoyed yesterday, we are in for a great day!

Happy New Year to you all from Jack and Jo, we hope 2012 is a great year for you and your families and we hope we can share some good food and times with you all sometime during the year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Murphy Christmas 2011

Christmas Day 2005, celebrated at Monica and Michael's home in Riverton
Growing up in a large family has it is moments, none more so than at Christmas, waking on Christmas Day and walking into our lounge to find the Christmas Tree laden with gifts, 12 excited kids in their PJ’s noisily picking out the gifts they hoped would be theirs and waiting with baited breathe in anticipation, these are memories I share with my siblings and I think we will all remember them days, till we depart this world, as treasured memories.

The twelve of us are all grown up now and have families of our own, and for more than half of us the family members include our grand children, so all of us gathering on Christmas Day to celebrate is a thing of the past, the family has become enormous, and it is nice now, for each family to share Christmas in their own way, together as a family on Christmas Day.

Nowadays, when the Murphy Family gather to celebrate Christmas, we do so the week before, gathering at one of the siblings homes and sharing the load, with each family bringing  food and drinks to share.  This year 88 of us gathered, hosted by my brother Kevin and his wife Debbie, at their home in Marmion.  In all two-thirds of the entire family attended, a great turnout, an event like this is big, it is noisy and in so many ways chaotic, but at the same time so enjoyable, to see all the kids so excited, running and playing around the gardens is fantastic, knowing that these kids will treasure these memories for years to come, makes it all the more enjoyable for my Mother, brothers and sisters.
Ready for the oven

Our contribution to the communal table was this wonderful leg of pork, all seven kilo’s of it, after scoring the rind, I ground some sea salt with fennel seeds with mortar and pestle and rub this into the rind, then applied a liberal dose of good olive oil, before baking for 40 minutes at 240°C and then reduced the temp to 180°C and cooked a further 3 hours.
Crackling up nicely
Ok, so a seven kilo leg of pork is pretty big, but I was still concerned whether it would be big enough to feed 88 people, so just in case I threw a 2.5 kilo lion of pork on the BBQ.

The leg came out of the oven looking unbelievably spectacular, I was so delighted, it looked mouth-watering.

I would have loved to rock up at the party carrying it in on a tray ready for carving, but to help make the night run smoothly the request was to bring the meat carved and ready to serve, so after resting  for 20 minutes the crackling came off and the carving commenced.

We arrived at Kev and Deb's to find kids running and playing in the garden, just as we expected, up the drive and into the carport came the first evidence that a lot of work had gone into preparations for a sit down dinner for 88, the venue looked wonderful.

The food was laid out on a large square table and it looked amazing, so many of my favourite salads and vegetable bakes, I could not wait to dig in, it took a lot of will power not to get a jump start on everyone else!  We did not have to wait too long though, as I had timed our arrival so as to have the pork laid out just prior to serving so it was still warm.

Off with the covers, it is time to eat.

Mums, gather the children and plates begin to fill

They look pretty happy, now it is time for the adults to dig in.

Curried eggs always go quick!
It's time to chow down!
Kate and Matt

The Brady Bunch
Fran and Chrissie look pretty happy!
One of the biggest highlights of a Murphy Christmas has always been and still is the lighting of the Christmas Pudding, my Mum makes the pudding and it is magnificently rich with many kinds of fruit and nuts.  My sister in law Wendy has been charged with making the brandy sauce ever since becoming a Murphy some 45 years ago, it too is magnificent, add a dollop of cream and ice cream, it is impossible to say no to a serve, regardless of how full your belly may be.  I was saddened to have missed the moment the pudding was set alight, but it was made up or by seeing Mum there in her element serving it up to her family of 87 present, including children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, just as she has since she was the matriarch on of a family of three.

The 2011 Murphy Christmas was such a happy occasion, many thanks to Kevin and Debbie for hosting the event at their beautiful home and for all the hard work they put in to make it such a wonderful night.  Thanks also to all the family members that contributed so many superb dishes to the table and for their company and to the kids for being kids, always a lot of fun to have around, especially at Christmas time when there is so much fun to be had with the ones that matter the most in life, family.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all, love and best wishes to the ones unable to be there last night, you were missed, but we all had you there in spirit, love to you all from Uncle Jack and Aunty Jo xx.
Hope we see you all again soon.

Now watch the video, enjoy!