This time last week I was so relieved that the first of many planned Christmas meals was a success. I spent the day before on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to London fretting that the goose had not arrived. As in previous years, a generous gift of a lovingly reared Goodman’s goose had been ordered for a December delivery by Investment Banker Friend and Shoe Lady.
We are having a tough time in Britain these days. Bad weather forecasts, bad economic forecasts, public sector strikes, labour shortages caused by Brexit, England not even making it to the World Cup semi-finals. When FedEx sent a message to say the goose would be delayed, I wondered how we could re-plan the Roast Goose lunch.
I am a firm believer that whatever the circumstances, we need to soldier on. I would spit-roast two whole chickens instead for Friday’s lunch party of eight. That being said, what can you do when you are 36,000 feet in the air? It’s not like I could pop out to the supermarket to choose the chickens.
So I did the sensible thing which was to read, sleep, eat and then watch Top Gun: Maverick. I watched this film because a) I enjoyed it immensely when it was released in the cinemas and b) all I could think of was the goose. The famous line from the film which Maverick (Tom Cruise) says to his flight partner Goose (Anthony Edwards) kept on repeating in my head: Talk to me, Goose.
Upon landing in London I headed to Waitrose immediately to procure two plump chickens. However, the goose did arrive at 9.30am the next morning, much to our relief and delight.
I had woken up at 5am to prep some vegetables (jet lag was very good for me this past week as I made a head start each morning with the day’s meals). With help from Mr Gochugaru, my parents-in-law and Junior 3, we managed to get the goose and vegetables ready in time for a 2pm lunch. We had spiced red cabbage, roasted potatoes, cauliflower in yoghurt and some sausages wrapped with bacon. I needed all the help I could assemble because I also had a hair appointment at the salon, which was the only day I could do before Christmas.
The goose was tender and flavourful and a joy to eat. We made good progress at lunch, but there was enough for the evening meal. The carcass yielded 2 litres of stock and we kept back some slices of the breast meat to use in fried rice. There is also plenty of goose fat left for roasting potatoes or for making confit duck legs.
The main serving of goose, with a side serving of roasted leg meat
One litre of the goose stock went into my ‘kimchistrone’ which is minestrone + 3 heaped serving spoons of kimchi for heat and flavour
The small bit of goose meat remaining was chopped up to make fried rice with eggs and beans
Our goose lunch made a very good start to a week of sharing meals with our extended family. I will write more about the other meals we cooked and ate in the next post. For now all I want to say is that this Christmas was extra special for me because I did not think I could make it back to London in time. I had already called the airline to ask if I could delay my flight, and also put Mr Gochugaru on notice that he would have to work with the children to manage the housekeeping and catering. But a miracle of a full-time maid arrived in time to help with the house in KL, so I could leave.
The thing I will remember about this Christmas is that everything was planned, managed and executed whilst I was away. The dried foods were delivered on 13 December, the cheeses and drinks were delivered on 18 December, the mince pies and gluten-free chocolate noisette cake were delivered on 21 December, the same day as the vegetables and fruits were collected from Waitrose. I arrived back on 22 December. The goose and porchetta were delivered on 23 December. This is one of the positives from the Covid pandemic – we are now so au fait with online ordering we do it without much thinking or blinking.
It is almost New Year’s Eve as I write this. Many people have resolutions for the new year but I don’t have any. I always just want to get through another day without crashing. Then I want to get to the end of another year without regret. I think I have managed it in 2022, and I thank all my friends and family who so persistently and faithfully pray for me.
Goose from Goodman’s Geese
Mince pies and our alternative Christmas cake (made with ground hazelnuts, as my mother-in-law was recently diagnosed as being gluten intolerant) from Konditor
Wine from the Wine Society
Good friends from long ago, everything else including the washing up gloves from Waitrose
The Christmas tree at my hairdresser’s salon