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GobbleFest 2015: Roast Turkey

I’ve been meaning to try roasting my own turkey for a while now.  At our last GobbleFest I only made the sides and we bought our turkey from Turkey Point Cafe, which has since closed shop.  The years after that there were issues getting halal turkey, and there was one year when all the suppliers just decided to protest and not import turkeys at all.  This year, finally we are seeing an abundance of imported and local halal turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas (Cold Storage was selling them for RM29.90/ kg at one point and I missed out – darn!), and I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity again.  GobbleFest 2015 is on! The menu:

Roast Turkey | Creamy Cauliflower and Bacon Soup | Mashed Potatoes | Brown Butter Cornbread | Classic Sausage Stuffing

Handling a turkey was definitely interesting; I underestimated the effort it took even to just cart it around the kitchen, and butterflying it wasn’t as straightforward as it is with chicken, with random hard-to-cut bones along the backbone I had to manoeuvre around with my kitchen shears.  When roasting, I should’ve followed my gut and tested it for doneness instead of following the recipe cooking time too faithfully, so I ended up with a slightly overcooked turkey.  Nonetheless, butterflying the turkey and cooking at a high temperature created such crispy skin and cooked the turkey super-fast, so this is the only way I’ll roast my turkey.  Brining the turkey gave it amazing flavor, which makes this recipe a keeper.  All in all it was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait for next year’s Gobblefest!

Based on the recipes by Ree Drummond and SeriousEats.

Recipe and photos updated 25 Dec 2016.

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GobbleFest 2015: Classic Sausage Stuffing

Since turkey is conventionally served with stuffing… well, here we are.  I don’t really know what “good” stuffing is supposed to taste like, or what the texture is supposed to be, but I’m told it is supposed to have a pudding-like texture.  This recipe definitely had a soft texture, very much like a savoury bread pudding, and taste-wise it is quite decent, but Rudy still doesn’t care for it so maybe my search for the perfect stuffing recipe continues.  My conclusion for this recipe: the taste of your sausages will greatly determine how your dish will taste, so pick a sausage you really like!

I made this a day ahead; after transferring the stuffing to the baking dish, I let it cool before wrapping it with aluminium foil and sticking it in the fridge.  I let it sit at room temperature for over an hour, before finishing it in the oven.

Based on the recipe by SeriousEats.

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GobbleFest 2015: Mashed Potatoes

We need our filler for Gobblefest, and I can’t make everything in the oven because the turkey’s gonna be roasting there, so I decided on this super simple, super basic mashed potatoes recipe.  Guests totally kicked it up by adding bacon bits, spring onions, the turkey gravy, even the cauliflower soup.

Based on the recipe by SeriousEats.

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GobbleFest 2015: Brown Butter Cornbread

When putting together the menu for this year’s GobbleFest, I asked the Round Knights for suggestions and Azuan pointed out that we were missing a bakery item.  Serious Eats had already put together an amazing classic Thanksgiving menu, and this cornbread recipe was on the list, so I decided to try it out.

I’ve tried other cornbread recipes, and while some were okay, Rudy liked none of them – too grainy, too dry, etc.  That was until he tried this one; moist and soft and buttery with yummy salty bits, this is definitely my new go-to cornbread recipe from now on.

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GobbleFest 2015: Creamy Cauliflower and Bacon Soup

One must have soup as a starter for any dinner party (well, mine at least), and this recipe by SeriousEats caught my eye.  Not only were we able to fulfil our veg quota for the night (together with the stuffing), the garnishing that came with this hearty soup was also great for kicking up our mashed potatoes.  And yes, this was absolutely delicious and was the first dish to run out.  I served this with home-made white bread.

One thing to note is, unlike conventional bacon which apparently renders tons of fat when cooked, beef bacon (or breakfast beef, oh ye sensitive ones) is too lean and renders virtually nothing if cooked without adding any fat.  So I added a generous amount of olive oil in hopes it will absorb enough flavour from the bacon to give the soup its smoky taste.

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Dinner Club: Roast Lamb Shoulder

Last night Rudy and I had the Round Knights over for a long overdue Dinner Club meet.  Merv was very kind to help me get the lovely lamb shoulder we roasted for the main course, and boy it was a great dinner with awesome company.  The menu last night:

Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Potato and Carrot Mash | Parker House Rolls | Couscous Salad with Cucumber, Red Onions and Herbs | Banana and Cinnamon Tea Bread

I’ve concluded that the best way to cook lamb is by slow roasting.  Nothing beats juicy, tender meat falling of the bone.  Moar, pweash!

Based on the recipe by Jamie Oliver.

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Dinner Club: Parker House Rolls

For last night’s Dinner Club session, I needed a few good sides to serve with my roast lamb shoulder, and while surfing around the Net I came upon this site which lists out some really good side dish suggestions.  Who can resist good dinner rolls, let alone rolls completely coated in butter before baking.  I just had to try this out, and they did not disappoint.  I don’t think I’ll be making dinner rolls any other way from now on.

Updated 25 Dec 2017 with new photos.   Made this again for this year’s TurkeyFest.  I was reminded the hard way how my Kenwood mixer really wasn’t for me when it comes to making bread dough, so I ended up going old school and kneaded the dough by hand.  The dough was still wet and I used a bit more than 5 cups of plain flour.  I’m going to try using bread flour next time to see if this yields better results.  I also decided to divide and shape the dough by hand instead of using a cookie cutter, which saved me a lot of time and avoided any wastage.  Delicious!

Based on the recipe by the Kitchn.

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The Dinner Club: Chilli Con Carne and Chili Con Queso

The last time I did a Tex Mex dinner party I made a Chilli Con Carne and Chilli Con Queso combination, and it was indeed a very good dish to have.  I wasn’t blown away by the Carne, but the Queso was delish.  This time, I decided to bring back the Queso, while putting my own twist on a new Carne recipe.

We served this over fries, but the leftovers are great with tortilla chips or even plain boiled rice.  Enjoy!

Based on the recipe by BBC Good Food, and Emeril Lagasse.

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The Dinner Club: Taco Salad

For the recent Dinner Club meet, I wanted to balance out all the cheesy goodness with some semblance of a veggie dish.  It also has to be something that isn’t so “healthy” it ends up just being ignored the entire night.  So I ended up with this taco salad, which turned out to be a hearty, delicious surprise.  Highly recommended!

Based on the recipe for the Quick Taco Salad on MyRecipes.

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