The Christmas party: part 3

A gift that keeps on giving

A gift that keeps on giving

The worst things about throwing a Christmas party?

1. Everyone arriving at the same time. (I get panicky and the dog runs out of toys to take to the front door.)

2. … bearing gifts.

3. … bearing food AND gifts.

4. … bearing food and gifts AND flowers.

Thankfully, they all bring their own platters. But I need more vases.

The best things about throwing a Christmas party? (Apart from the obvious stuff – the people and their food, gifts and flowers, the clamour, the music, the way the mirror balls pick out the serried ranks of champagne bottles in a merry little flashdance.)

1. Our first visitor, who moves in mysterious (and very fast) ways her wonders to perform, arrived in the early afternoon with a ham taller than she is when she’s in heels, glossy and sticky in Asian-inspired, patent-leather glaze (the ham, that is, not the heels). She had scored it, meinen blogfreunden, not in your common-or-garden diamond pattern, but in single, perfect slashes across its entire length, exactly one centimetre apart.

I’m guessing she has an ingenious method of executing this feat of fat-scoring perfectionism, and I’m guessing it’s got something to do with chopsticks. I’ve been researching roast turkey recipes for Christmas day, and her recipe for roast turkey is served with potatoes slashed in much the same way, only deeper – hasselback potatoes, they’re called. She uses chopsticks to prevent the potatoes from being cut all the way through. The recipe was in the Dec/Jan 2011 issue of MasterChef Magazine.


The whole, incredible eight-kilogram hulk was prettily dotted with kaffir lime leaves and tied at its shank with a festive scarlet ribbon. Accompanied by homemade spiced plum sauce – two jars, no less.

I’m sure someone with a wide-angled lens took a photo of that ham. I didn’t; I was too afraid that if I did it would steal my soul.

2. The splendid array of hangover-breakfast opportunities. Bite-size crab empanadas with homemade chilli salsa? Perfect glazed ham, lettuce, oxheart tomato and homemade spiced plum sauce walnut sourdough sandwich? Dense, dark, flourless chocolate cake with berries? Yes, yes and yes. And we’re not talking either/or, people. A three-course, two-coffee breakfast. Served with a large side of flowers (and a hair of the dog, though not our dog, for the gallant disco-shed decorator – see The Christmas party: parts 1 and 2).