On the menu: Christmas week



Friday was, of course, Christmas Day, this year we were at home, so I got to cook, yay! For the heavy duty meat eaters, i.e. not me, I made Nigella’s Slow Cooked Black Treacle Ham, a much smaller hunk of meat than her recipe called for though, so the ham cooked according to the packet instructions instead but I kept to the principle of the recipe by adding the glaze in the last half hour. The result was very popular with the meat eaters (I for the record had veggie sausages, yes I know, I had planned to make a really luxurious veggie pie, prepared the day before and kept in the fridge until ready to bake but I ran out of time to make it on Christmas Eve, probably wouldn’t have had room in the fridge anyway and as it turns out definitely did not have room in the oven – I had as a plan B planned to have some cumin roasted butternut squash, as I had some in the fridge for the pie that didn’t happen but I didn’t even have room to cook that, so I had to rustle for something in the freezer).


Also on the list of things cooked from scratch, were Jamie Oliver’s roast potatoes, which I always do if I’m making roast potatoes, although this year he changed the recipe up a little by lightly squashing the potatoes halfway through cooking time, so to increase that crispy area. I wasn’t convinced as I did this, I didn’t think it made my roast potatoes look that roast potatoey, more like very crispy, lumpy mash potato with some of them but oh, I should have more faith, they were delicious.

Also made from scratch (and you can see it in the photo, which was missing from last week’s blog post), was Nigella’s Sweet and Sour Slaw, which unfortunately, after a night sitting in the fridge, did not improve on its slightly bland flavour.


Christmas dessert was this dark monstrosity aka Nigella’s (I really couldn’t cook Christmas without her) cider and 5-spice bundt cake, this was delicious, dense and dark and so aromatic!


Christmas lunch is all well and good but my favourite Christmas meal is always tea (and yes I know I went for the veggie option at lunch, yet am eating parma ham for tea, the Italians and the world’s bacon farmers are pretty much the only things keeping me from being a proper vegetarian). It is a tradition with me, good TV (it is a bit sad that these days good TV means Netflix or iPlayer on your iPad, even on Christmas Day), beer, a nice bread roll, cold meats, pickles, cheese and salad. I made the bread rolls this year and they were a bit of a disaster, I used James Morton’s Soft or Crusty Rolls recipe, I’ve made the crusty version before and they were delicious but I kept my eye off the ball with the soft version and overcooked them, so not exactly soft and a bit of an alarming colour, they’re a bit dense too. And as for the pickles, well normally I just buy them from the supermarket but I had to try some of the pickle recipes from Simply Nigella this year. I made quick pickled carrots and quick pickled beetroot with Nigella seeds, the beetroot was nice but oh my goodness, the carrots were gorgeous and there I was looking at the carrots a bit dubiously! The carrots have a really nice, slightly Asian flavour, I can imagine that they will be gorgeous in a sandwich. As the photo above shows, I do not have patience with my chopping skills!




The healthy eating begins (sort of)





Possibly the most unappetising food photo I’ve posted on this blog in some time.


I am very excited by The Happy Pear book by David and Stephen Flynn, it’s of yummy looking, healthy, vegetarian recipes, so umm, the first one I tried was not that successful. It’s ‘fruit salad with sweet tahini sauce’ except the tahini sauce turns, visually at least, a beautiful looking fruit salad (because it’s not hard for a fruit salad to look beautiful) into something that looks like it’s been recently regurgitated. But it’s not about what it look’s like, unfortunately it doesn’t taste that great either. I think the problem is that a good fruit salad on its own is fantastic, there’s not that much that you can add to it, so adding something to it can sometimes detract quite badly and also, I think I’ll keep my tahini purely for my hummus in the future, tahini on fruit is a bit of an acquired taste.


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