So how’s all that ham going? I basically lose interest with it the minute Christmas lunch is over so much of my time is occupied with recipes using the leftover ham. To, you know, use the remaining SIX kilos of it.
Christmas was wonderful. A relaxed day here feeding family with lots of laughter, delicious food and plenty of sparkling shiraz.
It was followed by my MIL’s birthday celebration, also here. It will go down in history as the Festival of Ham. With cheesecake. Divine divine cheesecake.
The boys have all been rather delicious – I believe I will look back on this next little episode of our lives with a full heart. My boys are not babies anymore and who they will be is slowly revealing itself – a process I feel absolutely blessed to witness. Even if at times my head wants to explode from the less pleasant aspects of it.
Oscar loves his basketball hoop for the trampoline – possibly the finest example of highway robbery by a company I’ve ever been party to. Felix is smitten with his cruiser skateboard and ZOMG he will be 13 this year and that makes my chest tighten. Jasper got his long-pined-for Halo rocket ship. A Megabloks hellzone. There were three lots of tears on Christmas Day at being so overwhelmed by it. I ended up building most of it. Ask my chiropractor how that worked out for everyone. Grover was conflicted, apparently Santa “got it wrong” with his Lego but all was forgiven with a Dr Who sonic screwdriver.
Mum’s left knee has totally packed it in – she’s basically incapacitated so between the two of us we cut quite a pair.
What better way to counter chronic pain and, in mum’s case, now unavoidable joint replacement surgery in 2013 than eating ham. A lot of ham.
Ham and potato pie
Shortcrust pastry – you can NOT go past Maggie Beer’s sour cream pastry, it has revolutionised my fear of working with pastry – it’s hugely forgiving, ridiculously easy to work with and tastes DIVINE.
5-6 waxy potatoes – cooked, peeled and cut into 1/2-1cm slices
700g ham, sliced thinly off the bone
handful fresh basil, finely chopped
handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 24cm springform tin
Roll out 2/3 of the pastry to about 3mm thick and line the tin – try and do it in one whole piece but don’t stress if it breaks – just smoosh the broken edges together
Place a layer of the potatoes in the bottom, top with ham, then scatter over herbs and seasoning – go light on the salt depending on how salty your ham is
Keep layering and end with ham and herbs then press the filling down firmly
Mix the eggs with the milk and cream, pour over the layers then pop a pastry lid on the top, cut some slits in it and glaze if you feel so inclined
Let it sit for 1/2 hour and then bake for 1-1.5hrs. I always bake it for 1.5 and it comes out a treat – just stick a knife in it and if it’s piping hot it’s good to go.
Leave it to sit for 10-15 minutes once it’s done and then serve with a simple green salad.
OK, I made this for the first time yesterday and am about to go and make another batch. I’m going to put it in a bigger tin so it goes thinner because essentially this is like a florentine and well, me and florentines go way back.
I can’t remember where I got this recipe from – it’s one of those ripped out of something a lifetime ago so apologies to the originator but thanks as well. My life is so much better for having this recipe in it.
I hadn’t bought enough pistachios so I threw in some pecans. So good. So very very good.
So over the past few years some of my US online friends have talked about a festive season treat called peppermint bark. I was intrigued and then I saw this. I’ve been waiting all year to make it and it hasn’t disappointed. At all.
The festive season is basically upon us. I don’t care what you say but soon Christmas decorations will be on sale in stores as Easter draws to a close. No point fighting it, just get into it.
These two dips are both delicious – the first more mild and earthy, the other more artery clogging and deeply comforting. I do love them both (the first one is divine smeared on toasted sourdough) but let’s be honest, the second one I could eat until my jeans don’t fit and my head falls off. Not necessarily in that order.
Artichoke and white bean puree I think I got this from an Australian Gourmet Traveller in 2007?
400g can of artichoke hearts, drained (sometimes I use marinated ones to be fancy)
400g can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans
1 1/2 tblsp olive oil
1 tblsp lemon juice
2 tblsp coarsley chopped marjoram
Process until smooth
Check flavour – season and add more oil and/or lemon juice to your personal preference
Serve with lavash crackers, raw veggies or smeared on toasted sourdough as a bruschetta option.
Baked artichoke dip This comes from an American friend of mine – I am guessing it is one of those recipes off the side of a packet or something so ingrained culturally everyone makes it and no one claims the recipe, but to Lynda, my ever growing waist line and I are indebted.
400g can of artichokes, drained and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded parmesan
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
paprika or cayenne
Preheat the oven to 180C
Combine everything except the paprika in a bowl and mix well to combine