Tuesday 27 December 2011

Christmas menu recap: Christmas Eve

Well, that's done for another year! I hope everyone got through Christmas with family relationships and bank balances intact!

My next couple of posts are going to be a recap of our Christmas food extravagance, so if you can't bear the sight of any more festive feasting, I suggest you check back next week, when normality will resume. I hope.

Last year, we'd snacked on canap├ęs during the day and then had a big meal in the evening. Which worked well and was very delicious, but this year I decided to spread the feasting over two days. I didn't plan a theme for the food, but it ended up slightly Scottish, featuring mussels, smoked salmon, potato scones and quite a lot of whisky.

So we had the snacky nibbly things on Christmas Eve, then a light brunch followed by a major dinner on Christmas Day.
I may be the last person in the world to discover bacon jam. I mean, I'd heard of it, but always wrote it off as a cracked-out idea from the nation that brought you brunch burgers on Krispy Kremes. Then I started to follow Niamh Shields on twitter and realised that if a perfectly sensible Irish woman thought that bacon jam was a good thing, then it was worth a closer look.

I followed Niamh's recipe for Whisky Bacon Jam, using cheap-but-acceptable Grant's rather than gorgeously peaty but expensive Lagavulin. I'd also run out of chipotle in adobo, so I used a couple of my home-grown, home-smoked hot wax chillis.

This stuff is ambrosial. Anyone who likes strong, salty flavours like tapenade or Gentleman's Relish would like the complex sweet, sharp and earthy flavour of this bacon jam. We gave it a first run for a quick lunch on a sourdough sandwich of leftover roast chicken, with sliced tomatoes and roast garlic mayo. A really fabulous (and lettuceless) variation on a BLT. Definitely a sandwich worth sending to Deb for Souper (soup, salad and sammie) Sunday. SouperSundays

Later that day, I made some quail Scotch Eggs, mostly following James Ramsden's recipe. The only area of variation was that the dozen Clarence Court quail eggs I had ordered were out of stock at the supermarket, so I was given a dozen hard boiled and peeled quail eggs as a substitute . Much more convenient of course, but it did mean the yolks were a bit harder than really desirable.

Scotch Eggs are having a bit of a foody "moment" right now, so there is no shortage of hints and tips out there for making them. The most helpful thing I saw was on Lorraine Pascale's show, where she spread her sausage meat out onto cling film and used that to spread the meat evenly around the egg. It worked very well!

The Scotch Eggs (which have nothing to do with Scotland, so not part of my inadvertant Scottish theme) were joined on the platter by some (Scottish) mini oatcakes, topped with more of the bacon jam and lightly tea-smoked mussels. We drank a good Australian chardonnay and watched Love, Actually. My idea of the ideal Christmas Eve.


Kavey said...

Niiiice cooking there, lady! I love the sound of the jam and a friend picked me up a jar from Niamh's last stall so need to meet up and collect!

Joyti said...

I've heard of but never had Scotch Eggs. They look so strangely (unexpectedly?) pretty though :)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Kavey - the jam is amazing. Genuinely delicious. We had it for supper last night with potato scones and roast tomatoes.

Indie.Tea - they are delicious. Very similar to nargis kebabs, but with different seasoning, of course.

Joanne said...

I love reading about other people's feasts so I look forward to these posts! So far, your appetizers look awesome! I know my family would have LOVED that jam.

Caroline said...

Wow, that all sounds delicious. I can't wait to see the other Christmas meals you've had!

Anonymous said...

Apparently you're the second to last person to discover bacon jam!! Cheers!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Joanne - that jam is pretty much a carnivore's dream!

C - thanks! Desserts up tomorrow!

Steve - oh good! Glad I wasn't last.

Deb in Hawaii said...

OK, that bacon jam looks pretty amazing--as does the sandwich made from it. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. ;-)

Couscous & Consciousness said...

No you're not the last person to try the bacon jam!! I've been seeing recipes for it for about a year now, and keep meaning to try it. Thanks for reminding me that I really need to give it a go.
Sue :-)


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