In our family we share out the meal preparations. Everyone brings a dish or two, but with much consultation to ensure we have everything properly covered. And - important perhaps only to me - to ensure that it all matches. As with most families in New Zealand we've developed our own food traditions over the years, a combination of the classic British traditions and our own suitable-for-warm-weather favourites (It was 29 degress here in Welly, the hottest Christmas Day since Nineteen Thirty Something).
|Balmy Wellington, and proof that I do domestics other than cooking.|
I have to say I like it this way. Our traditions are a roast chicken, a cold ham, new potatoes, salad, freshly podded peas and/or asparagus, Christmas pudding (always made, so far, by my English mother-in law) and another cold pudding. This year the salad was red capsicum and feta (as it often is) with the peas in the salad and asparagus on the side. The cold pudding was chocolate mousse and strawberries. I usually make a platter of bite-sized food to eat during the morning present-opening session and whenever anyone finds a space to fill during the day.
|My line up at Gran's Christmas table (actually, they weren't ALL mine)|
A more recent tradition I am keen to nurture is ham sandwiches for tea (supper/dinner) - and with this year's fresh homemade rolls and ham from just down the road that won NZ's best ham of 2012, along with the salad leftovers, it couldn't have been better. It being so hard to squeeze all your favourite christmas food in to one belly in one day, I am also happy to have it at other times instead. I had fruit mince pies in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and my mother usually makes a cake that gets divided up amongst the family to be chomped through over January. Cherries always feature somewhere too, of course.
I like the flexibility of our traditions, and the way that if anything takes your fancy you can fit it on to the menu. Sometimes the potatoes are roasted, other times we have boiled new ones. Beans straight out of the garden are another favourite, especially for my Dad. We have a done a turkey before, and one year I was really keen on trying salmon, and we had a magnificent, huge salmon instead of chicken and ham - fantastic!
I'd rather like to be able to slip a bit of salmon in to the day every year if possible actually. This year I bought a few slices of smoked salmon, sliced it finely, and mixed it with creme fraiche and lemon juice and served on small rice crackers. Besides some feta and brie, our other nibbles were sweet:
Biscuit truffles - One packet of flavoured chocolate biscuits - mint or berry flavoured Tim Tams, or Mint Slices, blitzed to crumbs (or rolled with a rolling pin to crush), mixed with one pot of cream cheese and rolled in to balls. Dip in to melted chocolate to coat, and refrigerate.
Hedgehog slice/Refrigerator slice - Chopped plain biscuits mixed with butter, sugar, coconut, vanilla, sultanas and egg. Press in to slice tin, ice with chocolate icing and put in fridge to set. Soak the sultanas in alcohol first if that makes you feel more christmassy. More details here.
I'd love to hear about what you had for Christmas, and how you feel about traditional foods vs mixing it up a bit.
I'm looking forward to talking with you a bit more about sugar, and actually, will be asking soon how your sugar reduction is going. I'll just give you a few more days to recover from Christmas and get back on track before you have to share! You'll be pleased to know I have plenty of things in mind to learn about this year, and will even post a new recipe tomorrow to make up for the quiet over the last few weeks.
I've added a new page to The Cook's Sponge - you'll see a tab at the top called Recipes. This will help you (and me) get quick access to anything you've seen here. I look forward to hearing about your experimenting. And don't be a sneaky reader, let me know you're out there, remember bloggers LOVE comments.
See you tomorrow. X
|No I didn't teach her that.|