Monday, December 30, 2019

After living in London for three years, we finally shared our Christmas Eve traditions with Turkish friends we’ve befriended here.

Since hubby and I both had to work half days on Christmas Eve, we planned to share the cooking and shopping responsibilities with our friends. I had half the groceries delivered via Farmdrop and the remainder our friend picked up for us. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we had talked about what to cook for our meal. The most important thing is to have seven different fishes per my hubby’s Italian-American traditions.

Do you remember one of our first Christmases abroad in Istanbul?

Well, once we arrived at our friends’ flat, we unpacked the groceries and opened up some wine. Of course, you need to have a glass while cooking up Christmas dinner, especially after all the holiday hours I worked this month.

Our first course contained two fishes – marinated anchovies and Scottish smoked salmon.
Our second course was fried calamari made by the other husband. Delicious! Even our friends’ two-year-old really seemed to enjoy it.
Our third course was a version of Turkish karides güveç – a prawn casserole served in a spicy, buttery sauce.
An hour later around 8 p.m., we’re on the fourth course (the fifth fish) which was my version of pan-seared scallops served with a curried butter over butternut mash and fresh fennel. I found a recipe of Chef Charlie Trotter’s in one of my old cookbooks and gave it a go. Delicious combo was the verdict!
Another hour later, slowly pacing ourselves, we rolled onto the fifth course which was English clams cooked in a white wine sauce over linguine. My mother-in-law often serves a dish like this, so hubby carries on the tradition for her.
Funny enough, our last fish course finished cooking an hour later around 10 p.m. – oven-roasted sea bream stuffed with fresh herbs. A dish all four of us have eaten many times in Istanbul.
Now, normally, I’m not a huge seafood fan, but with our Christmas meal paced out over several hours, I actually didn’t mind. I enjoyed every dish – to an extent – and we all had time to actually enjoy ourselves and chat.

After another break with washup included and a good game of Cards Against Humanity, we ended our Christmas Eve dinner with my homemade chocolate yule log filled with a raspberry mousse. Even our friends’ son enjoyed the dark chocolate cake!
Well, another Christmas is over, and I think that means we need to do some dieting in the new year. At least, it was fun!

What Christmas traditions do you have?


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Jason said...

Many thanks to my favorite chef as well as our friends for helping me keep the tradition alive!