The best Christmas Turkey I ever made was from a recipe by Jamie Oliver. Turkey can get dry, so you have to cook it just right. Finding a decent turkey in Santorini is mission impossible. I needed one big enough to feed 10 to 12 people, but it had to fit in my oven. Jamie recommends using cider in the stuffing, but we don’t get cider here. So I substituted it with light ale and apple juice.
Cooking turkey and all the trimmings is hilarious. It takes hours and hours, plenty of time to imbibe as you chop, slice and baste. If you’re anything like me, you’re already sozzled when guests arrive. By then, you’ve completely lost track of turkey timings. And start praying for a miracle. Gaby, my best friend, came over to help at midday. Mostly she topped up my wine and texted on her mobile. Let’s blame her for the drunk chef.
A bunch of people turned up around lunchtime – the uninvited pre-guests. People who were calling Gaby and saying “where are you?” – “I’m here with Joanna, come over for a drink”. I have a bar bench with stools which serves as my table (don’t like proper sit down tables, they’re boring and un-cosy). It was a sunny Christmas day here in Santorini. The front door was open, and people kept on coming. Out with the snacks, out with more wine. There’s me thinking “are they all going to stay for lunch-teatime-afternoon-turkey?”.
This is Marco from Torino. The turkey was also Italian. It seemed appropriate that he spent most of the evening taking selfies with the turkey and giggling. Ah, the joys of wine. Behind him is Dimitri, otherwise known as Jameson for obvious reasons. He was one of the uninvited guests who liked my home better than his – he ate half the turkey by himself – literally.
Tolis and his wife are turkey haters. Or so they thought. They came expecting to starve. Until everyone started ganging up on them with “C’mon, try it, you might like it – Joanna cooked it”. The bar was so laden with goodies and the turkey so big, that the final touch of pineapple slices sautéed in butter and roasted sausages simply had no where to go. Being a practical person, I chucked them on top. It ended up looking like a 3 storey house. Have you ever been in a room where no-one speaks for twenty minutes? And all you can hear are the sounds of munching and jabbing forks? It was pretty much like that. It took us all night, but we did us proud. We have now joined Piranhas Incorporated.