Day-after delights

2009-12-19 00:00

IN true festive-season spirit, we serve all the traditional fare from honey-glazed gammon and succulent turkey to flambé Christmas pudding and hot brandy sauce.

Our Christmas lunch table, as a matter of course, groans with abundance.

Although my family is guilty of over catering, there is never any waste because what I enjoy most at this time of the year is the chance to be creative with leftovers. The more the merrier — to put a different slant on the phrase …

The kitchen door will hardly have closed on Christmas supper when it’s re-opened for breakfast the following day. Vegetables from yesterday’s gourmet lunch can kick-start day two’s laid-back celebrations.

I create an irresistible “bubble ’n squeak” corn fritter and serve it with scrambled egg to which I’ve added freshly-picked herbs. With smoked salmon rosette, cream cheese and the optional caviar I add a final delicious touch. This, served with crispy, crunchy home-made bread drenched in butter, is scrumptious.

Lunch on the Day of Goodwill should be relaxed and stress-free. I could suggest recipes for pizza, pasta, risotto and quiche with all the leftover meat but, because my mom makes the very best glazed gammon, I choose to serve it on an elegant platter with a few mouth-watering salads.

These include a creamy, spiced rice salad using the left-over rice. I wait 365 days for this treat! Its simplicity never ceases to impress me.

Yesterday’s traditional eggnog — if you have leftovers, that is — can be frozen using the same method as you would when making ice cream. Serve this with fresh cherries and hot cherry sauce. You’ll never have made too much!

Christmas cake made into balls, drizzled with brandy and coated in crumbled shortbread and a dusting of icing sugar makes an unusual, morish treat.

One of my favourite flavour combinations is rich fruitcake with mature cheddar. The union of sweet and savoury tickles the taste buds while tantalising the appetite.

Most occasions call for a selection of cheeses and this, generally, results in many small portions of cheese leftovers. Place the off cuts neatly together and top with fresh or preserved fruit, nuts and hot caramelised sugar. This crispy, crunchy extravagance oozes splendid flavours.

I hope these unusual ideas help you re-invent your Christmas leftovers.

May the festive season be an indulgent, gourmet treat. Kiss your waistline goodbye — you have the whole of 2010 to get it back!

Happy cooking!

Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za. I look forward to hearing from you. Jackie Cameron (Head Chef: Hartford House - 033 263 2713)

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