We have two dear farming friends, a father and son, who have allowed us a very special glimpse into rural life.  Over the last six months we have visited almost weekly, and seen lambs, goslings, poults, calves, chicks, native birds nesting, and all manner of surprising and wonderful things.  The children have milked a cow, fed chickens,  bottle fed calves….   and “borrowed” baby turkeys to look after.

How do you thank someone for sharing their lives so unstintingly?

As I have followed the farmers and my children around the farm with my camera, a photobook record of our time there was one thing that came to mind.

iPhoto book

Of course, we then needed a dinner to present it. 😀

I love entertaining, though some of those skills were a little rusty.  The addition of four children to the mix of planning and preparing something special is…… certainly different!

dinner!

It was great that the Chicklette is now old enough to enjoy helping with details.  She illustrated the bottom of each handwritten invitation with a scene of geese and goslings, and the back of the envelopes were illustrated to match.

On the day,  Miss 11 gathered the jasmine to decorate the table, and Miss 7 helped to keep Blossy from exploring the table once it was set.

Our Menu?

Elegant Wild Rice Soup

Roast Goose

with Prune and Apple stuffing

Creme Brulee

Selection of Cheeses

Coffee and Chocolates

A big thank you to Dandelionmom for sharing her Elegant Wild Rice Soup recipe.  ((Hugs 😉 😛 ))

Having never cooked roast goose, or goose of any other description, I went to the font of all wisdom: the Aussie homeschool forum 😀  Kind ladies raided international recipe books, spoke to European relatives, and provided me with some valuable insights into the complicated world of …stuffing.

That’s right – stuffing.

apple, bacon, onion, pine nuts

I don’t eat it.

Stuffing so inevitably contains wet bread.  It’s not my cup of tea, folks!  But one of the ladies suggested that stuffing the goose with apples and sultanas is very nice. (no bread – yay!)  So, I decided to experiment a little, and fried some apples, bacon, onion and pine nuts, the day before.

Just before roasting the geese, I added  prunes which had overnighted in fresh orange juice to the stuffing. The result was sweet and fruity, with a little sharpness.  I would absolutely eat that again!

The goose was delicious, tasting rather more like a smoked beef  with a fine grain texture to it.  I read maybe (at a conservative guess..oh, say…) a million different articles on how to cook goose, but in the end went to the farmers who raised them, and the recommendation was to put them on a rack in an oven dish, with water below,  cover the whole business with alfoil, and leave in a low oven for a few hours.

I trembled at the thought.  Wouldn’t the skin be soggy and …bland looking?  It was sounding more like poached goose than roasted.  But the birds were young, the meat fell off the bone in all it’s smokey deliciousness, and the skin was lovely and brown.  Mmmmm!

How to serve roast vegetables for twelve people while my oven was full of goose was the next challenge.  We had three of these little ovens going;

bench top ovens

And dessert?

Our family has a tradition of multiple dessert courses.  It is really Mr BB’s fault.  In this case I was happy to indulge him, as the creme brulee leaves a LOT of egg white to deal with.  So…

pavlova

Pavlova!

Ah, it was a thing of beauty. It should have made me famous.

in the oven

Glorious, yes?

So full of promise!

I left it to cool in the oven; came back delighted, only to find that the part you can’t see at the back, was burned.  At that point I thrust aside my serene, in control, Martha persona; cursed that electric oven for the vile fiend it is, and mourned and lamented the loss of both my pavlova, and my old gas oven.

I decided that some days, one dessert course and a cheese board is an adequate sufficiency.

creme brulee

Mangoes, blueberries, strawberries… and a dusty goose!

creme brulee

I always like to have something chocolately to finish, and yet, if your guests (particularly on the days when both dessert courses are sucessful! ) are sated, it seems wrong to have those chocolate yumminesses go to waste.

lindor balls to have with coffee, or take home

By presenting them wrapped,  to each guest, it gives the option of enjoying them with the coffee, or taking them home: and even with just the one dessert, several opted to carry them home.

I had a lot of fun (despite my ruinous pavlova, sob!) and it reminded me why we used to entertain often: it is so pleasant to gather family and friends, and to share a meal and conversation together. 🙂

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