As my other half is American, we always celebrate Thanksgiving in style. The last Thursday in November is Thanksgiving which means TURKEY AND TONS OF BUTTER-Yay! If you are interested in finding out what it’s actually about, you can read about it here . However, I won’t attempt to explain as I’m bound to get something wrong and be ostracised by Patrick’s family!
We love Thanksgiving and whilst in Dubai it has grown from 8 close friends sharing a turkey to last year when we opened up our balcony in Dubai and had almost 50 guests for dinner, a beer pong tournament and a LOT of drinks. That poor balcony (and the turkey’s carcass) has never looked the same again….
Anyway, as we have just arrived in Lagos and I don’t know 50 people we decided we would invite a few of Patrick’s colleagues to celebrate the holiday. So I set about writing my list, checking it twice…oh wait, wrong holiday.
As there is a very random selection of supermarkets, boutique grocery stores and in delis in Lagos it’s a bit of a challenge to get everything at one shop so I spent Wednesday driving round with Lawal trying to find everything we needed.
Despite going to 6 shops, some American items simply do not exist here and I know they aren’t even sold in the UK so I used my initiative (and my bestie Google) to make these subs.
- I couldn’t find sour cream for my cheesecake so used Greek yoghurt which seems to be more expensive than gold here. Over N4000 (£11) for a small tub so looks like that will be off the shopping list for the foreseeable future.
- British style sausage meat- everything seemed to have the weird South African sausage taste which would not suit by stuffing recipe so after taste testing 4 different types of sausages (what a shame!) I decided upon plain pork mince instead and seasoned it to taste like sausage meat.
- There were no fresh or canned cranberries or cranberry sauce so I improvised with dried cranberries and rehydrated them and drained them of the added sugar and boiled with orange zest, lemon and orange fresh juice, a pinch of cinnamon and finished with Tapioca flour as I don’t buy processed flours such as wheat and cornflour for the house.
- There were no Saltine’s so I used Jacobs Cream Crackers instead which worked a treat. So we were good to go….
The Bird Family Nigerian Thanksgiving 2016 Menu
NB: I’ve linked any recipes I used from the internet for your reference. I also forgot to take photos of everything as I was busy hosting and cooking but , take my word for it, it all looked and tasted amazing.
Cocktail hour food
- Lobster dip – I used fresh lobster tails and butter poached and finely chopped them before adding them to the dip mixture. I also doubled the sriracha to cut the creaminess and also because I am obsessed with spicy things. It was incredibly rich so would be good served with some veggies as well as crusty baguette and crackers.
- Jalapeno popper dip – My sister in law recommended this recipe so I whipped up a batch. I hate mayonnaise so I left that out and added extra cheese and it went in about 5 minutes flat. A definite crowd pleaser.
- Mini pigs in blankets with a honey mustard dipping sauce– I wrapped the sausages I had bought, but I deemed unfit, for my stuffing testing in streaky bacon and grilled them until crispy and served with a mix of real honey and mustard mixed together with some mayo (aka the devils condiment)
- Champagne, wine and whisky obvs
The main event
- Garlic butter roasted turkey- I make my own fresh garlic, herb butter with salt and pepper and rub it all underneath the skin into the meat and a bit on the top and cover with bacon rashers and whack it in a really hot oven for the first 15 -20 mins to get it crispy and brown then turn down to cook covered in foil.
My friends laugh at me as I own 3 different meat thermometers but I just don’t trust timings as our turkey was ready almost an hour before the recommended, calculated time of many cookery books and websites and NOBODY likes a dry turkey. I like to keep my wings wrapped in foil until the end so they stay nice and moist also. I subscribe to minimal basting, no brining or messing about-just butter and a meat thermometer and you have a perfect juicy turkey every time. Certainly not the healthiest option but it’s fucking delicious!
- Whipped mash- I bake my potatoes in their skins then when they are fluffy inside, remove the inner spud, add butter, S&P, milk and a dash of cream and whip with a hand whisk. The potatoes have a roast potato taste within the mash which is the best of both worlds.
- Giblet gravy- Get a pan and add the giblets, turkey neck and any other stray bits inside the turkey with onion, garlic, carrot and celery chunks for about an hour on a simmerand drain. Remove the giblets and chop them very finely and add back into the drained cooking liquid. Chuck away the veg and neck etc and leave the giblets and stock to cool in a large pan. Once your turkey is cooked, take it out to rest, drain the juices into your stock/giblets pan and add hot water or wine to the hot roasting tray to deglaze then add that to the juice/giblet mix and bring to a rolling boil. Make a slurry-I used tapioca flour but you can use cornflour or any thickener with cold water and mix it then add into the hot pan little at a time until it is your desired consistency. Season to taste. I could literally just drink this and be happy.
- Sausage, sage and onion stuffing – I changed it up a bit by adding in a load of sage and I used butter instead of margarine as margarine is full of chemicals and crap and tastes like plastic (just my opinion). I stuffed my bird with it so all the turkey juices oozed into it and it was AMAZING!
- Scalloped corn- 1 sleeve cream crackers, 1 can creamed corn, 1 can milk, 1 egg – mix and bake until golden
- Cranberry sauce -detailed above
- Creamed corn – can of creamed corn
- Honey and spice roasted carrots- carrots roasted with honey, cinnamon and nutmeg roasted until soft
- Broccoli and courgette
- Creamy parmesan mushrooms – basically cook mushrooms in butter and whack a load of cream and parmesan cheese in with it
- and boxed Kraft mac n cheese (Patrick’s childhood fave so he refuses to let me make ‘real’ mac n cheese!)
- Baked cheesecake – I changed the base for Oreos and Digestives but would half the butter they mention as it was far too much and made it hard to cut. I also thought it was incredibly sweet so would half the sugar also but I suppose that’s the American taste so went well with thanksgiving but was far too sweet for me. Obviously didn’t make the topping but added double stuff Oreos as the topping as they are PB’s favourite cookies.
I stripped the turkey or meat and boiled the bones overnight in the crockpot with some onion, garlic, carrot and celery and used the stock to make a spicy turkey noodle soup.
Also, obviously wolfed down a plate of leftover stuffing, mash and gravy the next day as it was SO GOOD!
Well, back to reality and on the healthy eating train now and i’ll let you know my gym and fitness class reviews and some of what i’ve been cooking next week.
Have a lush day,