Jul 27, 2008

Christmas in July

Once in a while, a couple of friends would get together for a weekend, splurge on an extravagant orgy of fabulous dishes. They would cook, eat and laugh until the problems of the real world faded away.

This time it was Christmas. Not the family-based, tradition-bound Christmas with grandmothers and aging aunts in the heat of December (on what would have been a perfect day at the beach), but rather a merry little Christmas between friends. Cooking what we want, partly hankering back to an idealised dream of magical trees and gift wrapped excitement, partly relishing the opportunity to prepare and share something new or challenging.

Preparing the sweet potato mash - cinnamon is good.

Balls of stuffing: chorizo, cranberries, pecan nuts and bread crumbs.

Chicken, our humble substitute for a turkey, but no less festive. Thyme, garlic, pepper and just enough salt to make the skin crisp. Scored baked apples separated the chicken from the roast beef, rubbed with coarse black pepper and wholegrain mustard.

A gammon, slowly cooked in cranberry juice. Just before serving, it was studded with cloves and glazed with cranberry sauce and honey.

Baby carrots and leeks, glazed with a light ginger and honey dressing.

Marshmallow covered sweet potato mash. This must have seemed like a good idea when we started out, but the resulting pink and white stickiness will probably not be repeated soon.
Yorkshire pudding. Not in the usual repertoire.