In the last few years, we have hosted a large family celebration on Christmas Eve at our house.
For us, this is our “official Christmas dinner” with the turkey, ham, roast vegetables and all the trimmings. Everyone gets dressed up a bit, we sit down for a proper sit-down meal with nice silverware, tablecloth, napkins, decorations and a Christmas centerpiece etc.
I do most of the cooking – which I love to do. I’m pretty organised too. I keep all my recipes in a special Christmas file. I take photos to keep a record of what I did each year, the photos help me keep track of which decorations I used and what my colour theme was. I also make notes on how to improve next year, and place everything into my little file.
So yup, I think I’m pretty awesome… EXCEPT SOMETHING WENT WRONG THIS YEAR!!
After roasting for 4 hours, I took my ham out of the oven… and it fell apart! It looked soooo baaaad! I was horrified! I was so embarrassed! I wanted to throw it into the bin and start again!
I’m not entirely sure what I did wrong. I swore I followed the recipe to the letter.
Usually I’m a rock star at roasting ham! Usually my hams are a thing of beauty! Usually I get a round of applause when people taste the lush juiciness, the deep sweetness and the complex spices infused in my hams!
This? This one looked like a zombie ham from a horror movie, and that a dog ate half of it!
The ham was falling off the bone. It tasted great, but it just looked AWFUL.
So after some painstaking reconstruction and a some makeover cooking hacks, I managed to pretty it up, slice it up and present it like this:
Looked OK right?
Thank goodness the Christmas ham was saved!
To compensate for my ham failure, I managed to make the best looking and best tasting Yorkshire puddings in my life!
They were the last dish to be cooked before the meal started, and I timed the puddings perfectly, so everyone ate them piping hot from the oven drizzled with gravy. Yuuum!!
I used this recipe, but I used butter and a bit of turkey dripping, instead of sunflower oil.
This was some of the spread on our dinner table.
For dessert, my father in law and my 5 year old son made a traditional Christmas pudding. It’s a recipe that has been in the family for decades and basically consists of steaming dried fruit and suet (animal fat) for 8 hours.
The kids fell over themselves (in the dark) to gather around to see the “lighting of the pudding” which is always good fun. Burning brandy is hypnotic!
We served the pudding with hot custard, and while it didn’t look very appealing, it tasted wickedly delicious.
I had 2 bowls and didn’t regret it.
And speaking of wickedly delicious, you can’t go wrong with a good old Christmas pavlova.
I had 2 slices and I didn’t regret it either!