The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 9 December 2013

Celebrating Christmas early

My younger sister came from Sydney to visit us for about a week and a half, mostly to meet the new baby and spend some time with her nephew. I was grateful to have her around to help, and the timing worked out well because she arrived on the night before my husband went back to work. She was great especially with my 5-year-old son who has no doubt felt the effects of having a baby sister at home and occupying a lot of my time. My sister has spent a lot of time with all her nephews and nieces (including a year of living with us in Japan and helping out with our son just after his 1st birthday), and I think she is well-primed and prepared for when the time comes for her to have her own kids! Since we had family around, we decided to celebrate Christmas early this year. Once again, the timing was good because it was around Thanksgiving, which we don't celebrate, but it meant that turkeys were aplenty. Home with a 1-week-old newborn obviously meant that I wasn't going down the DIY route, nor were we going to take the newly born bub out to a restaurant and risk exposure to all sorts of airborne germs and pollution (the crowds and poor air quality in Hong Kong are especially bad), so a takeaway turkey it would have to be.

Hubby and I were keen to try the turkey from the Mandarin Cake Shop, which we'd heard was a really good choice and has been on our must-try list for three years now. The "small" turkey was 7kg (HK$1988), which I was told could feed about 10 mouths. It was obvious that we needed to invite a few more people to help out. I certainly didn't think we would be entertaining guests at home less than a week after getting discharged from the hospital, but I did make it easier for us by using disposable plates, cups and cutlery, and asking a friend to bring salad. We kept to our Christmas tradition of inviting a Japanese family, and our friends told us that this was their first time having roast turkey for Christmas. We also invited an Australian friend who had recently relocated to HK for work, a good friend of my sister's from her childhood. We all had a good time, especially the kids who had a ball making a huge mess of the living room with my son's toys. The turkey itself was really good, a lot better than the one we ordered for Christmas in 2010 (which was pretty good too). The sides that came with the turkey - roast pumpkin, mashed potatoes, nut-free stuffing (as we requested for our allergic son), giblet gravy and cranberry sauce - also got our thumbs' ups. The turkey and the trimmings fed six adults and three kids at lunch, with enough leftovers for dinner for four adults and one kid, both meals supplemented with vegetables and one large baguette.

The huge box that the turkey and accompaniments came in, and the smaller one that held the pumpkin pie we'd also ordered from the Cake Shop:

It was like unwrapping a Christmas present:

The 7kg roast turkey:

The kids were more interested in playing than eating...

... but the adults had their priorities straight:

The pumpkin pie (HK$298) was very good, and there were none leftover to enjoy the next day. I especially loved the buttery pastry crust:

Good company, delicious food and a Christmas tree - all that's needed for a good Christmas celebration at home!

The Mandarin Cake Shop
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
5 Connaught Road
Central, Hong Kong
Tel. +852 2825 4008

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