Wednesday, 6 January 2010

An Ample Christmas

December is a busy time for me and this year was no exception. Although 'kitchen fatigue' can set in, it doesn't diminish my enthusiasm for cooking our Christmas goodies.

I'd already made the Christmas puddings, sloe gin and mincemeat a few months before, so it was time to do the fresh things.

First up was a batch of fudge. This went down particularly well with my nieces. I don't think it made it past Christmas day evening actually.

Then some cheesy feet! They're quite amusing to serve with drinks. The recipe is from Nigella's 'Feast' book. Sad person that I am, I have in the past pressed sesame seeds into each foot for toenails. I can't believe I've just admitted to that. Oh well.

Then, it was time to prepare 'The Pie'. It's a tradition started by Tiny's family, to have a slice of this, with a glass of champagne on Christmas morning when you're opening your pressies. It's usually a combination of chicken, rabbit & pork, but I used some lovely free range turkey thighs instead of the chicken this year.

As we were obviously going to be tucking in to a fair amount of meat over the next few days we decided to have some fish on Christmas eve. We started with smoked salmon on crostini and then a warm salad of scallops wrapped in bacon.

Christmas day was spent at my sister's, where we had roast turkey and all the trimmings. She also made a fantastic beef wellington as her Mother-in-law doesn't eat white meat (no trouble!) This was all rounded off with Christmas pud and then later on, although still full, we had some Christmas cake.

Lynne's beautiful cake

It was our turn to have the family over on the Sunday and it was to be a cold meat and pickle meal. I think we enjoy the cold meat meal over Christmas as much as we enjoy the roast on Christmas day.

We didn't want to do just cold turkey or chicken so we planned to cook a sort of two-bird roast. I set my trusty kitchen Boy (Tiny) the task of preparing the wonderful beastie. He boned out a large free range chicken and then added a layer of pork, apricot & walnut stuffing, then added some boned turkey thigh and finished with a final layer of pork, bacon & chestnut stuffing.
To go with it, I made a huge pan of bubble and squeak, some creamy mash, roast carrots and parsnips and braised red cabbage and apple. My sister is a vegetarian, so I made her a leek, cheddar & garlic mushroom tart.
We finished off the meal with a choice of almond and toffee puddings with toffee sauce or apple & mincemeat crumble. Mr Creosote had nothing on us.

After a very long walk on the Monday we sat down to a much simpler meal of veg and lentil soup with chipolata sprinkles. I also made some poppy seed rolls.

Christmas over, it was like we blinked and suddenly it was New Year. Now, both being the grumpy 50 somethings that we are, we tend to stay in on New Year's eve. If you stay at home you don't have to try and get a taxi at 2am in the morning, you get something decent to eat and the booze is cheap. Told you we were grumpy.

We decided to have a 'grazing' evening to make coarse pork terrine a couple of days before NYE to enable it to develop its wonderful flavours. We also had some smoked salmon and a couple of cheeses and some fruit. Oh and copious amounts of fizz and wine.

So, any ideas why my jeans are feeling tight? I've tried convincing my self that they've shrunk in the wash and the sad thing is, I'm almost believing it.

Happy New Year everyone, from Ample Cook Towers.


  1. Happy New Year to you too. This all looks amazing. I love the idea of sesame seed toenails!

  2. It's very handy having a sis who is such a good cook. I am the only one who cooks in my house and it is SUCH a treat going to dinner with Jan and Mr A.C. I haven't had a 'vege meal' in a restaurant yet that is a patch on Jan's food.

  3. Wowee wowza - what a feast! And I thought I had cooking fatigue. Excellent effort, and what a beautiful pie.

  4. Oh wow!! Please invite me next Christmas - I wouldnt mind putting weight on !! It looks better than the cookery pages of "good Housekeeping"!! I am mightily impressed!

  5. Wow Jan! Amazing. Said it before but that pie is something else. Next Xmas I am having pie and champers for breakfast. The 2 bird cold meat roast looks particularly delicious...well it all does to be honest! Phew feel like I've put on 4 pounds reading this post :)

  6. Fantastic feast indeed!
    Love your snowflake pie decoration!

  7. Jan - hahaha I want to spend Christmas at your place!! so much great food and so many good ideas. I'm totally impressed, gobsmacked in fact. Oh - and nice photos too :)

  8. Sigh, I miss Christmas.

    And don't feel bad about staying in on NYE, I'm a grumpy twenty-something and last went out on the 31st in 2000! It's just not worth the hassle (esp when you can stay in and eat fabulous food and drink delish fizz!)

  9. impoftheyard - Bit obsessive though, eh? ;o)

    Lynny - Too kind, but thank you x

    Lizzie - Thank you very much

    Diane - Come on over, I can put 10lbs on you in a day!

    Fran - Pie and champers is a very civilised way to kick off Christmas!

    Kavey - Thank you very much

    Dan - You'd be very welcome and thank you.

    Alex - I'm glad it's not just me! And thank you

  10. Wow no wonder the jeans are a little tight. The pie looks amazing...well it all looks amazing. I didn't get to cook this year and I really missed it. I love the planning and doing new recipes. Must try harder for Xams 2010 (me not you that is!)

  11. Oh balls, I've just dribbled all over my bestest and freshly ironed shirt reading that.

    What a fantastic feast you had over the holidays, the pie sounds amazing and I love the look of that terrine.

    And Tiny, you really are a mighty de-boner of birds and I know that sounds bizarrely perverse but I am very impressed.

  12. Ooo- major yum, and I don't even eat meat! I've also stopped going out for NYE. Staying in so much nicer!