Christmas Food Hits and Misses

Wednesday 9 January 2013
After all my careful festive meal planning things didn't all go according to plan due to illness. Thankfully my Mum is now hopefully on the road to recovery but unfortunately my folks only managed to spend a couple of days with us as opposed to the planned week. As such menus were juggled a bit but being Christmas the show must go on.

Both of my pre-made and frozen fish dishes from my Feast of Fish class worked out really well. I should have covered up the Crab Smoked Haddock, Leek and Parmesan Tart with some tinfoil for reheating as it got somewhat cremated on top but still tasted great. The Christmas Eve hearty fish pie with crumble topping was a real hit. I'll definitely do a savoury crumble topping again (flour, butter, rolled oats, cheese, parsley) especially as it gives the opportunity to serve with potatoes on the side.
Crab Tart, Potato Bundles & Roasted Butternut Squash
Potato Bundles Ready for the Oven
Both fish dishes were served with the wonderfully indulgent Pioneer Woman Potato Bundles. So tasty and can be prepared well in advance and cooked when needed. Desert on Christmas Eve included homemade brandy snaps. My first attempts at these were a wee bit ropey but by the end of the batch I got the hang of them. Tasted just as good as I'd remembered.
Wooden Spoons, Spurtles and Brandy Snaps
On to the big day itself and the huge hit was the Gratin of Brussel Sprouts. It was surprisingly gorgeous and will be a Christmas staple from now on. During the meal, discussion ensued on Christmas meats and the decision was taken that next year we'll be having Goose. Not something I've ever cooked before so that will be a first. Any hints and tips on what to do with it and where to buy would be most welcome.
Sprout Gratin sans topping
I was also really pleased with my homemade Cranberry and Cumberland sauce. I do love the sound of cranberries popping when they are cooking. I made this in advance and froze it however a couple of days later I spotted a recipe for cranberry and cherry sauce and fancy giving it a go next year or perhaps combining the best of both.
Popping Cranberries
Christmas Dinner
In the absence of parentals we invited friends over on Boxing Day and all thoroughly enjoyed the Nigella Ham in Coke served with Dauphinoise Potatoes and Turnip & Lentil Pie. The four kids made short work demolishing the gingerbread house and giant gingerbread men. An addition to the best laid plans a couple of days later when I used the liquid from the Ham In Coke dish to make Black Bean Soup. Very interesting sweet flavours. I binned the liquor last year so pleased to have tried it this time round and would do so again.
Boxing Day Gingerbread Desert
I had planned to make three types of homemade ice cream. Mint Choc Chip, Vanilla and Banana. Unfortunately my ice cream maker decided that this was the time to give up the ghost. The banana was not too bad as it did semi freeze but the mint choc chip was a total failure so I didn't even attempt the vanilla.
Doomed Mint Choc Chip in the making
Not to be put off I took the opportunity to treat myself to a new model. The old one being a hand me down from my Mum. Its now arrived but I've yet to try it out. Watch this space.
My new toy
The next dish that I wasn't so happy with this year was my Game Terrine.  This is the third year I've done it and its probably time for a change. Seemed a bit dry even when served with my Red Onion Marmalade and Spiced Apple Jelly. Think I'll give The Hairy Bikers Coarse Country Terrine a go next year after spotting it in one of my Christmas pressie cookery books.
Game Terrine's last outing
Another miss was my trusty Whisky Neeps. Unfortunately the neep was absent from my Christmas veg order from Fernieflatt Farm and I had to buy three titchy swedes from the supermarket at an extortionate price. Sadly one had obviously gone to seed and it tasted grim.

The most disappointing non event was my attempt at Feurzangenbowle. I bought Gluhwein, Zucker Hut and a Zuckerzange in Munich and was really excited about trying it out but despite dousing the sugar cone in copious quantities of brandy we couldn't get it to set alight. Next time I'll try it with my new blow torch and hopefully that will do the trick.
Better luck next time
Three of the dishes on my meal plan got missed out entirely. I'll definitely make the apple and pear crumble again at some point. The Panetone Bread and Butter pudding will be brought forward onto the 2013 Christmas meal plan but it did taste delicious toasted for brekkie. The leg of lamb for the Persian Spiced Pulled Lamb remains in the freezer but the dish will definitely be made at a later date. Possibly for husbands birthday party.

I hope you enjoyed all that you cooked over the festive season. I'd love to hear about any particular successes. Its never too early to start planning for Christmas 2013. I may even have bought myself a new apron from the Not On The High Street sale in preparation.

My first purchase for Christmas 2013


  1. What a lovely post and reassuring to know that even you have endeavours that don't quite go to plan.

    Pioneer woman is great but her recipes don't do much for the waistline ... by the looks of her she mustn't eat half of what she cooks.

  2. I made cherry salsa (that has cranberries in it) to go with ham this year and it was fantastic and will now be a permanent fixture. I made the persian lamb in my slow cooker after I read you were going to do it and it was sooooo delicious. I can just imagine your disappointed face Claire with the blow torch....

  3. So glad you liked the sprouts, they're pretty darned good aren't they?


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