I don’t about you but I am sure glad that the Christmas craziness is done for another year! I typically take time off between Christmas and New Year, sometimes even extending it until the week after, to visit my family in Tassie and to relax at home during the quiet time at work. However, as we are embarking on a 3 week skiing holiday in the US next week (excited much?!), I decided to save my precious annual leave days (and $$$) and stay in Melbourne to work the days between the public holidays.
And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without food! And lots of it!! In this post, I share with you a few recipes of randomly photographed creations over the Christmas period. I wish I had had the time or inclination to take more culinary happy snaps to write up about, but considering the time stresses and immense anxieties of this time of year I am pretty pleased that I even managed this many – I hope you enjoy!
Simon Johnson’s Glazed Christmas Ham
I was fortunate enough to be given this recipe after asking around at work for the best ham glaze recipe ever (thanks JR!). It really did impress the toughest of critics at Christmas lunch!
I cooked it two days before Christmas day and served it cold. You can also reheat to serve warm, or it is also good at room temperature.
1 cooked 5-6kg traditional ham on the bone
(Simon does not recommend that hams without bone are glazed as this can tend to dry them out)
850ml can unsweetened pineapple juice
¼ cup medium-dry sherry (port or muscat)
500g brown sugar
210g Dijon mustard (Simon recommends his own brand, but I just used Maille)
2 tbs powdered cloves
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Heat the pineapple juice, sherry (port or muscat) and brown sugar to make a syrup (this took me around 10-15 mins). Carefully remove the skin from the ham and discard (leaving the fat). Rub the mustard liberally into the ham. Dust with powdered cloves then pat into the mustard. Put the ham into a large roasting tin and pour the syrup around the base of the ham, not over the top. Cook on the bottom shelf of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and baste generously all over with the hot syrup. Then, basting every 15 minutes, cook for a further 1 hour or until glazed to your liking. Remove from the oven, baste and leave the ham in the tin to drain. Transfer the ham to a large platter or cover with foil and refrigerate. Carve into thin slices when ready to serve.
Serves 15-20 as part of a buffet
Smoked Salmon Frittatas
I cooked these little babies for our Christmas breakfast.
Recipe from taste.com.au with a few of my own additions. It is such a versatile recipe so please feel free to experiment and adjust to your taste!
1 leek, thinly sliced
½ red capsicum, diced into small pieces
1/3 cup thickened cream
1/4 cup grated tasty cheese
salt and cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped flatleaf parsley
200g smoked salmon
1 small tin corn kernels
Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease four holes in a 1-cup capacity muffin pan.
Add a little oil to a pan and sauté leek and capsicum until soft.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs and combine with cream and tasty cheese. Add salt and cracked black pepper, chives and parsley and combine well.
Divide smoked salmon between the prepared holes, lining the base and sides of each one. Spoon a small amount of leek/capsicum & mixture and the corn into each hole, dividing evenly. Pour in the egg mixture.
Bake frittatas for 20 minutes or until firm and golden. Remove from pan. Serve warm.
*I used half-cup capacity muffin tin and made 8 frittatas
*I made this recipe a second time and lined the muffin tins with squares of baking paper and chopped up the smoked salmon into the mixture. I found this was better for reheating, as having the smoked salmon lining the outside of the frittata dried it out a little. This method made 12.
Nigella’s Chocolate Macaroons
After receiving Nigella’s cookbook ‘Nigella Express’ as a Christmas gift (thanks TT!), I whipped up these easy peasy delights and boxed them in cute little noodle boxes to give as gifts to the Christmas hosts. We also left two out for Santa who, going by the tiny crumbs that remained, seemed to really enjoy them!
2 egg whites
200g ground almonds
30g cocoa powder
175g icing sugar
Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Mix egg whites (unbeaten) with ground almonds, cocoa powder and icing sugar until you have a sticky but cohesive mixture.
Fill a large bowl with cold water and dip your hands in to wet them before rolling the mixture into little balls the size of small walnuts. You will probably have to redunk your hands to keep wetting them as you go.
Arrange the macaroon-balls on the lined baking sheet and put them in the oven to bake for about 11 minutes. It’s hard to tell when they’re ready as they will seem squishy but will harden up as they cool, and they should be damp within; that’s what makes them chewy, so don’t worry if the underneaths of the macaroons look sticky.
Makes about 25
*I expected that the balls would flatten, however they kept their round shape. For the second batch, I flattened them down slightly with the back of a spoon.
Thanks for reading!