Sunday, December 23, 2007

Please allow me to brag, just a little...

Please allow me to brag, just a little (hey, isn't that at least partly what knitblogs are for?!).

This year we hosted our friend's annual Christmas get-together, and because I've never cooked Christmas lunch/dinner (we always go to one or other of our parents' for Christmas), I thought I'd go the whole hog and do a hot Christmas dinner, with a glazed ham and a plum pudding, and the usual trimmings.

Of course, I also thought we were having dinner tonight (ie Sunday) and so I'd have the whole weekend to shop and cook and tidy the house and all. But of course, it was last night (Saturday) - so only a day to do all those things. Fortunately, I realised this earlier in the week, so could prepare myself a little (I put the Christmas tree up on Thursday night after work).
And to make things even more of a challenge, I woke up on Friday morning with a bit of a sore throat, which by yesterday morning had turned into all out sicky sore throat, sneezing, snot nose. Not terrible, can't get out of bed flu though (phew!). So sent husby out to shop with detailed list (he only forgot 3 things, necessitating 2 more trips to the shops in the course of the day!) while I cleaned and tidied and planned out my cooking (small oven, lots of baked items - eeek!), all in between sneezing, blowing my nose and washing my hands (TMI? Sorry!)

First up, put the pudding fruits on to soak. While they soaked (2 hours rather than 4 specified by recipe) I made the potato and onion au gratin. Then made pudding and put on to boil (for 4.5 hours!). Then made the honey glazed vegetables (sweet potato, parsnip and pumpkin). Then had a shower, cleaned all the good crockery and glassware, set the table, and got the glaze ready for the ham. First guests arrived just as I was putting the ham in the oven. Phew! Pray that torrential rain doesn't force us inside to eat (the deck is covered, but if really windy, the rain can blow in a fair way)

Glazed ham every 10 mins while drinking champagne with guests. Took ham out, put veges back in to warm through. Kept topping up pudding water. Made peas with pancetta and mint. Huzzah! All ready to serve.
Husby carving the ham. Many jokes about whether I'll be posting a butt shot of him carving. Decide against it!Pudding ready at just the right time. Is there anything more scary than peeling back the calico from your first ever boiled plum pudding? Another phew!Mmmm plum pudding...
All in all, a lovely evening (slightly stressful for me, sorry about that friends!). Now to relax for a couple of days, and really appreciate someone else making Christmas lunch!

19 comments:

amy said...

Well done! It's not easy planning a menu and coordinating everything to be ready at the same time, never mind making sure it all tastes good. I heartily applaud the champagne-while-cooking method, although I plan to be switching out champagne in favor of Sam Adams winter ale.

Happy Holidays!

Bells said...

oh spectacular! Well done! All in one day? I didn't know you COULD do a steamed pudding all in one day - I was frightened off by the idea you had to make it weeks ago?!

it all looks so good. My ham is in the oven as we speak but I am not drinking until the chicken is in the oven.

It all looks beautiful!

Michele said...

oh my! i can not believe you made all this this especially with a cold. the plum pudd looks fantastic, my english grandmother would take her hat off to you.

you're gonna rest now though right?

Michele said...

forgot to ask - did you make whiskey sauce for the plum pudding? pp needs whiskey sauce.

fitknit said...

Wow! And you tried out a recipe to boot! Congrats on a great job.

Donna Lee said...

It looks delicious. It is rather brave trying out something new on guests for a holiday. We are having a roast beef with some potatoes and green beans (and of course kielbasa and pierogies) for Christmas dinner. I like to cook and really enjoy cooking for holidays. Hope your cold gets better quickly!

gemma said...

Looks fantastic, mmmm ham, it really says Christmas to me, even more than pudding.

Congrats, hope you enjoyed yourself as much as the guests.

claudine said...

Wow, everything looks fantastic! Sounds like a really lovely time. Merry Christmas to you and husby!

Diana said...

Whew! A kitchen pro too! Plum pudding? I've only read about it in stories never actually seen someone make it. I'm impressed.

Snoozen said...

Can vouch for it being yummy. A big Thanks Rose Red and H (aka RR Butt model) for a delicious meal, it came complete with loads of laughter. A lovely Smancy meal as promised.

By the way mis-laid the earrings I wore last night at the Park this morning with my ex-workmates, asked St Anthony again and thought positive thoughts while asking and guess what he came through for the third time in a week and a half.

Hope you are on the mend you were a good little Santas elf to continue on for us when you clearly were not up to it, so Thanks again and I am sure Santa will come to your house.

MadMad said...

Wow - that is spectacular! Very, very impressive. Hope you're feeling better soon!

Alwen said...

Brag away -- it sounds yummy!

Georgie said...

Excellent work - very impressed! Especially with time and sneeze factors. It all looks delicious.

Ive always made my PPs weeks ahead of time, and hung them to dry, but the first year I didnt open the top of the calico to dry properly...and it went mouldy. Very, very cranky!

kgirl said...

great gads, what a magnificent feast!!

Merry Christmas, Rose Red - and here's to a happy New Year, too!

Ann said...

The food looks fantastic & yummy - you have done a great job! I won't be able to pull that thro' if I have a cold. Hope you are better soon. Happy Holidays.

del said...

Clearly, you're a born chef! Congratulations. Everything looks great & yummy!

SadieandLance said...

Holey bagoley you did all that in that time? I have to reserve like an entire day just for pudding!

Merry Christmas shoe lady hope it was a good one! xx

Michelle said...

An excellent Christmas dinner! I'm betting it was absolutely delicious.

Happy Christmas!

Miss Fi said...

You were an absolute trooper Wicked J!

So impressed by the lovely meal and your determination to participate when you were clearly not feeling well.

Absolutely daunting having to prepare and cook for guests when you feel poorly.

Was absolutely delicious ... as always.

I said to Snoozen on Sunday that if I were in your place I would have seriously considered takeaway!

Thanks for a lovely evening.

By the by - My Secret Santa pressie rock!