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Holiday Foods & Seasonal Stuff

rodezzy | Posted in Gather For A Chat on

Maggiecoops, I had to start a new threads to talk to you about this thread you sent me from chocoholics. 

Holy Moly, I’ve never been to a feast like you described in that thread.  I’ve never seen 70% cocoa oil chocolate.  What was the recipe?  Never heard of chocolate sponges w/ganache inside or coffee sauce. 

Did you do all of that cooking alone?  I’m afraid to hear the answer.  It reminds me of the Food Network Thanksgiving & Christmas Shows about what people are cooking all round the world.  I just drool and dream.  What on earth is baked, broiled Gammon.  Never heard of it.  I’m drooling at the thought of this feast.  And I’ve always wanted to taste Plum Pudding since I was a kid and read the Christmas stories of Plum Pudding.  I want to try the turkey, chicken, duck thing or something like that all rolled up in one.  And I’ve Never had poached Salmon, or pressed chicken.  One day I’m going to travel and eat, travel and eat, travel and eat.  What are some of the other traditional holiday feast out there?  Did you make all of your own decorations, and are there tableclothes, runners, and placemats handed down through the generations?

I had to look up Gammon and found out that it’s ham leg cooked with cider, sounds wonderful. 

Rodezzy, Fiber Artist

Edited 11/5/2007 5:41 pm ET by rodezzy


  1. maggiecoops | | #1

    OK Rodezzy, a Gammon is a big ham, we score the skin, push in cloves and roast it in an oven gently, for hours, I cover mine in brown parcel wrapping paper, and then 1 hour before I take it from the oven, I rub honey and dried mustard onto the skin and up the heat so it glaces and crisps it slightly. Boiled gammon is a gammon put in a big pan of water with molasses onions cloves and apple skins then cooked all day, constantly topping up the water and molasses mix. Then when it's cooked I pour the liqour into a jug straining any bits of onion or apple peel that haven't dissolved.  That gets used for something else. The boiled ham gets put on a metal tray to catch it's juices and I peel it's skin and most of the surface fat, then quickly press roasted dried bread crumbs all over it. I don't use the ready made crumbs as they are a bright orange yellow. Not nice. When both of those are cool enough they get placed in a big cold box and locked outside my kitchen door. The Turkey I remove all its bones and flatten the raw meat, then using whichever stuffing the family wants spread it over the meat. Then I draw the sides together and sew them up, stitch the legs which are also stuffed to the side of the body, close the neck by sewing the skin onto the chest area, then flip the whole thing over and place it in a big roasting pan. It gets covered in belly pork and then brown paper and roasted slowly. I take the belly pork off and brown the skin. The beef goes in the oven wrapped in tin foil with crushed peppers, bay leaves and Lea and Perrins worcester sauce, and goes in the oven as soon as the gammon comes out, and one leg of mutton goes in as well, that just gets garlic and rosemary shoved in it all over so it looks like a porcupine. The Gammons and beef and one leg of mutton get eaten cold with pickles or whatever people want so are cooked Christmas Eve. The Turkey goes in about 5am Christmas morning,  all the vegetables are prepared Christmas Eve. The Salmon goes in a fish kettle and gets gently poached in water, herbs and vegetables. That gets eaten cold so that goes in the larder fridge. along with the cold mutton, beef, and pressed chicken. Pressed chicken is chickens cooked in the pressure cooker with a few veg like onion carrots celery to give flavour, then when it's cooked the skin is discarded as are the bones, the meat gets ripped and arranged in a dish and then a sheet of greaseproof laid on top and weights put on it. It takes a couple of days to press it properly as the weight is increased then finally hot butter is poured over it and it goes in the fridge. That will keep for a week if the butter seal isnt broken. I cook the pork Christmas morning on an open shelf so it's fat drips onto the pan of potatoes below to help give them flavour. I rub salt into the pork rind so it draws the fat up and goes crunchy. We fight over who's getting the crackling. Most of the preparation is done Christmas Eve, the potatoes for the potatoe salad that gets put out Christmas day night are cooked, cooled covered and in the fridge just waiting for the finely chopped onions, and whatever the kids can get in it when I'm not looking. Then I make mayonaise store that in a large jug and some of that goes in the potatoe salad just before we need it. Some makes a sauce for boiled egg salad, I slacken it with cream. Any guests get roped into making a sherry trifle, fresh fruit salad and shelling nuts. Mince pies get made 2 or 3 days before Christmas and a big sign hung up, theft will be repaid by chores.  I make a couple of Gateaux that I know will stay moist for 4 or 5 days, then quickly slap cram in and on them with fruit or walnuts and orange or melted chocolate. I do a chocolate roulade, instead of a chocolate log. stick a robin on it and dredge icing sugar over it quickly for snow. Every year my brood wanted a Christmas cake, so I make the cake the cake in Oct and store it, then marzipan it a week before Christmas, and Ice it 2 or 3 days before Christmas. I know everyone will be so stuffed with food they wont want any untill New Year.  I should say Christmas in my family was the only time my children were allowed to eat themselves stupid.

    Christmas morning at 5.30 I wake everyone in the house up, visitors and family alike. At 5.45 there's a nock on the door and one of the boys who thought he lived here is standing there ready to join in mags mayhem. It's never changed since my first memory of Christmas. I put a stocking on every bed just after midnight, nothing posh, just the legs cut off my old panty hose, washed first. An orange goes in the toe, then some nuts, then an apple, a chocolate bar, a small gift, a bag of gold covered chocolate coins, a pomegranite, then anothher small gift, the gifts are always silly things like water pistols or skipping ropes, then a colouring book and crayons, some marshmallows, a small puzzle, then a selection of chews and a comic or annual, and a diary.  By 6 every one crawls into the lounge and mags despatches three people to the kitchen, one to cook bacon, one to cook eggs,  one to make toast and a big pot of coffee and tea. Then we have breakfast, fill the dishwasher, and wait till 7.30 for a few more of the lads who thought they lived here and then it's present giving time.  About  10 we have big tidy up, I sit and watch, someone grabs the vacum someone else makes frsh tea and coffee and we retire to shower and dress. The boys go on their Christmas ritual visiting, and the girls know to stay out of the kitchen till mags hollers, The pork goes in, the turkey gets moved sideways, then 12 ish the potatoes go into the pan that catching the pork fat drips, The gravy gets started as it needs time for the sherry to work its magic. and we sit down untill it's time to put the veg on, take the turkey out and let it stand. Stick the dinner plates in the plate warmer, heat up the home made brocoli and Stilton cream soup. I changed that one year and nearly got lynched.  The plum pudding is a breeze to heat since micro waves arrived as it only takes a few minutes whereas it used to take 2 or 3 hours steaming time, and I only have a 4 burner hob and a single oven. Dinner gets served around 2 pm, we're stuck to our seats until about 4, then everyone mucks in and empties and fills the dishwasher and handwashes the dinner service.  We play cards or natter and then around 6 I start preparing the evening buffet, the family help laying out the tables, I started using paper dishes and plastic cutlery a few years ago, so much easier. Only the food goes on serving platters and dishes. The BaineMarie gets set up, the heaters lit, and the hot soups or rice and curry  depends what I feel like doing. gets put in it.  between 7 and 9 the house would would start to fill up with friends, and at 9.30 we'd eat. If it wasn't for the fact I hang on to one gammon and the second leg of mutton we'd have no meat for St stevens day. I always had a good selection of cheeses, pickles, salads, and the tables would be full. But by midnight there would only be scraps. St Stevens Day was always my favourite as I'd cook far too many vegetables and potatoes deliberately.St Stevens day was maggies bubble and squeek day. 3 large pans of mashed up brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower , peas, parsnip and potatoes all frying away happily in pork dripping, served with a fried egg and sliced gammon ham. I love it.

    Yes Rodezzy I do prepare all the food, I did the catering for my son and my daughters weddings. There were 200 geusts at my sons and 300 at my daughters. But i did have my own catering firm for a while, so I don't it difficult cooking for large numbers, it's cooking for 2 or 3 I find hard.

    Oh heck I've written loads.

    1. rodezzy | | #3

      Wow, I had to print this out to read it.  You were one hard worker bee girlfriend.  I'm sure they miss you and your cooking.  You have such tradition with your family.  It's wonderful.  Oh I can just see you guys scoffing down the food and grinning and teasing each other.  It sounds like such fun, but a lot of work. 

      I'm sure your daughters will do their very best to sustain the traditions you have laid down for the holidays.  They will be nervous, as they will want your approval, and they have some well walked shoes to fill.  You're wonderful maggiecoops.  I'm so glad I met you.  I love hearing about family and traditions. 

  2. maggiecoops | | #2


    This manufacturer uses 72% cocoa solids, that's what gives chocolate it's taste, richness, and quality. tHe cocoa butter and solids arent split, that's why any cakes, sauces or confectionary you make with it, will turn out well. It's not cheap but but you can't beat it.

    ganache is chocolate and cream mixed together, you can use it as a covering, making truffles, a sauce, make a chocolate sponge recipe up, put a spoonful of batter into muffin tins or madeline moulds, then drop one spoonful of ganache on top. Pop in an oven for 20 mins till well risen and cooked, Now turn out into a bowl, as the sponge comes out hot ganache pours over it. Dollop some thick unsweetened whipped cream on it and eat hot.mmmmmmm http://www.joyofbaking.com/ganache.html


    Coffee sauce, 10 fluid ounce of double cream, 2 ounces unsalted butter, 1 beaten egg 2 tablespoons of strong espresso. put in a pan over a low heat, stir in the beaten egg, heat gently and tir, do not let it boil.  pour into serving jug and pour over chocolate pud, tart, sponge, anything really chocolately.

    1. rodezzy | | #4

      Thanks for the recipes.  I'm going to find some event to use them for.  I have very little family and no real traditions with the ones left.  We try to get together some time.  I do what I can.

      1. maggiecoops | | #5

        Rodezzy, we didnt have traditions apart from the stockings, but loads of friends who enjoyed our particular mayhem. My hubby played keyboard , banjo and guitar, and some of his friends played guitar, clarinet, bagpipes and penny whistle. He was an Irishman, so Christmas was usually a big sing song with live music and strangely mostly Irish songs. I used to disapear from around 8 till 10pm and join in then, as I'm not good with crowds of folks. By 10 folks would have split up into singalong, cards, natter, and teenagers. That I could handle and visited each group making sure they had drinks and food. When DH died in 03 Christmas was different, all our old friends came, but without  the teenagers and the last couple of Christmases have been quieter, more sedate,Teenagers have grown, married and had to go to the in laws, some old friends have died, but new ones drop in, there's still mountains of food, but not so noisy and manic.  Babies had started arriving so parents would leave earlier to get infant settled for the night. Every thing changes thank goodness, traditions are what you want them to be, and I am delighted all my children are going to their only sisters house for 3 days. No cooking, cleaning, preparation for yours truly. I'm setting a tradition this year, it's a pamper mum tradition. 

        1. rodezzy | | #6

          Yes, life changes as people grow older and other people merge into the group through marriage and whatever.  But spoiling you is due, you spoiled everyone else.  Now it's your turn, and I know they will do their very best to make you happy.

          1. rodezzy | | #7

            how was your thanksgiving?

          2. maggiecoops | | #8

            Hi Rodezy, we don't have Thanksgiving here in England but we do have Guy Fawkes day. We celebrate a failed attempt to blow up parliament 400 years ago in 1605, it's supposed to be a celebration of the safe deliverance of the king though it was an attempt to end religous persecution.

            Our big feast days are Christmas and Easter, that's when families and friends get together to over eat, swap gifts and clebrate, but how was your thanksgiving. Did you make a chocolate cake? 

          3. rodezzy | | #9

            My Thanksgiving was great!  We didn't get the fried turkey on that day because we left the heating of the oil to the men and they blew it. 

            My cousin and I fried the turkey that Sat. after and it was delicious.  We concluded that in their haste to watch the football games, they didn't turn the tank up enough to get a fire going.  We had no problem. 

            No, I didn't get to make the cake.  I made two sweet potatoe pies that came out like velvet and was so good, and two pecan pies that didn't come out so well.  The taste was good, but they were over cooked and came out too stiff.  Don't have any plans for Christmas. 

            Glad to hear from you and have missed talking to you. 

          4. maggiecoops | | #10

            Hi Rodezy, I have been spinning like a top and getting nowhere sweetheart. I ripped the muscles on my left upper torso front and back so have been trying to do things with one arm again. I am so annoyed with myself, as I have had a damaged left shoulder for over a year and it was mending nicely. Then I go and do something stupid and damage more than just the shoulder.  What is so agravating is it happened because I tried to scratch an itch at the bottom of my shoulder blade. I couldnt quite reach it with my right arm, and as my shoulder hadn't hurt for a while thought c'mon woman, use your left hand, that'll hit the spot perfectly. Big Big mistake. I have torn at least 3 muscles in my back, and damaged a pile on the side and front rib cage. The darn itch is still there!

            It's just as wll Christmas will be at my daughters home this year, because there's no way I could manage the cooking with one arm. 

            I've never tasted sweet potatoe pies, are they savoury or dessert pies? We have sweet potatoes here in England , but apart from baking, frying or steaming them, they don't get used anywhere near as much as potatoes.  Now Pecan pie I do know, and I love it, though Pecan nuts were a rarity here until a few years ago. We used our home grown walnuts in a piewith figs, dates and a scrumptious sticky gooey bread crumb and syrup carrier. The Dentists loved it as it was a sure tooth decayer, we loved it because it was so tasty and who needed teeth anyway.


          5. rodezzy | | #11

            Oh my goodness, I'm so hurt to hear of your painful situation.  That itch costs you a lot.  It must be a very tender area to have caused all of that damage from just reaching.  Our bodies become so fragile with aging.  I hate it, but the only other recourse is unthinkable.  I wish you strength in mending your body and this time, I pray it stays mended well.  It's a good thing you have your wonderful children to look after you.  Take good care of you, O.K.?!

            Oh, yes - sweet potatoe pie is sweet, and delicious.

            Edited 12/10/2007 2:17 pm ET by rodezzy

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