Simply Having Wonderful Christmastime

I am sure you all know that Wonderful Christmastime is a 1979 Christmas song by Paul McCartney. It enjoys significant Christmas time popularity around the world. McCartney recorded the song entirely on his own during the sessions for his solo project McCartney II.

This post is not to discuss about this song but I think ‘Simply Having Wonderful Christmas Time’ is just what we need during this time of the year. Most of us have a busy and demanding life and it is often hard to find the time to really appreciate the importance of capturing the Christmas Spirit.

Why Wonderful Christmas Time?

Christmas is a season of joy and peace, sharing and giving. A period to to show love and spend time with our loved ones.

For me, one particularly wonderful thing about Christmas was that I had the opportunity of cooking dishes that we, Indonesian don’t normally cook at any other time of the year. 

In addition to that, this year I could plan and prepare a special Christmas menu for my family:  

  • my version of smoked turkey salad complete with the salad dressing
  • my version of pigs in the blanket (bacon wrapped sausages)
  • my version of mighty meaty meatloaf complete with its glazing and sauce
  • my version of baked pumpkin
  • seedless grapes
  • Christmas cup cakes  

I spent FIVE hours working in the kitchen to cook and ‘create’ my version of all these Christmas dishes myself except the cup cakes (I bought them in one of the famous cup cake stores in Jakarta) and the seedless grapes.   

Here I would like to share with you my special Christmas dishes:

My Smoked Turkey Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 big red tomatoes, deseeded and  thickly sliced, length-wise 
  • 2 red bell peppers, deseeded and thickly sliced, length-wise
  • 250 grams lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • one whole big onion, thinly sliced, rounded
  • 200 grams smoked turkey, thinly sliced

The Salad Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 3 lemons, cut into half, squeezed to get the juice
  • Pour the lemon juice into the olive oil
  • Stir well to combine
  • Add salt and pepper

My Pigs in the Blanket

Ingredients:

  • 12 cocktail pork sausages
  •   6 slices streaky bacon

Preparation:

  • Heat the oven to 180C/Gas 5
  • Using the back of a knife stretch each bacon slice then cut into 2 equal pieces.
  • Tightly wrap each sausage with a piece of bacon.
  • Use tooth pick to secure the wrap
  • Lay side by side on a baking tray.
  • Cook in the preheated oven for 30 mins or until crisp and golden.
  • The sausages can be wrapped the day before, even the week before and frozen. Defrost thoroughly before cooking.

My Baked Pumpkin

Ingredients:

  • 500 gram pumpkin flesh
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of All Purpose Seasoning (*)

(*) Note: All Purpose Seasoning contains  1 teaspoon dried leaf basil, crumbled, 1 teaspoon ground mace, 1 teaspoon dried marjoram,1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon leaf oregano, crumbled, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes, 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon savory

How to make:

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 5.
  • Cut the lid off the pumpkin
  • Scoop out the seeds with a spoon 
  • Coarsely chop the pumpkin flesh
  • In a baking pan , pour in a splash of olive oil, then add the chopped pumpkin
  • Add in the All Purpose Seasoning
  • Bake the pumpkin for for 10 minutes or so until the pumpkin has softened.
     

My Mighty Meaty Meatloaf

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 kg of ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup full cream milk  
  • 3 tablespoons of  barbeque sauce (I use Delmonte)
  • 2 tablespoons of  Worcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup fine dried bread crumbs

The Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup barbeque sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (optional)

Step by Step of Making Meatloaf:

  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, parsley, garlic, salt, basil, thyme, and black pepper.
  • Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and lightly golden, about 6 minutes.

  • Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, put the ground beef and  smoothen with wooden spoon or with clean hands. Be sure to wash up afterward.

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs , full cream milk, barbeque sauce, dried basil, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce, and whisk to combine.

  • Add the egg mixture to the meat mixture along with the cooled vegetables and bread crumbs.

  • Mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to a aluminum foil and  using your fingers form into a loaf 
  • Using  the wooden spoon, smooth the top into a rounded loaf shape. Wash hands again.

  • To make the glaze, combine the barbeque sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and hot chili sauce, if desired, in a small bowl.
  • Stir to blend

  • Spread the mixture evenly over the top of the meatloaf.

  • Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes to 1 hour .

To make the meatloaf sauce:

  • using oven mitts or pot holders, carefully tilt the meatloaf pan away from you and  drain off the excess grease from the pan and move it into a sauce pan
  • Add in 3 tablespoons barbeque sauce
  • Add in  2 tablespoons of Worchestershire sauce
  • Cook and stir well  for around 2 minutes   

It turned out that the FIVE hours labor of LOVE  spent in the kitchen was so fruitful. All my special Christmas dishes were successfully done as planned. My family members loved and enjoyed all of them, they even finished EVERYTHING! 

 

 

And while we were busy eating our Christmas meal, the youngest member of our family, Miu Miu, came to join us as our very special Miss Santa ……. 

 

I felt exactly like the McCartney’s song….the mood is right, the spirits up,  were here tonight, and that’s enough  ……..             simply having wonderful Christmas time.

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