The Christmas menu conundrum

It will not, I am sure, have escaped your notice that it is just 19 more sleeps until Christmas. By this time last year I had made our cake and a whole batch of my usual Christmas chutney, fitting both in before we moved house and I lost the will to do anything remotely festive. I’ve yet to do either of those things yet, though I have written one Christmas card (though I’m not sure where I put it).

This year, for the first time in ages, we are having Christmas at home. I am so happy about this – as nice as it is to be welcomed by others, Christmas at home is best of all – but I do wish I could work out what to eat. Last year there was no menu-planning to worry about as we spent it with my in-laws, though it was slightly nervewracking cooking them their first-ever turkey and I did have to hide how much cream went into the custard for the trifle.

The Christmas menu from Anna del Conte’s Entertaining all’Italiana. Who’s for some ham mousse?

I’ve come to the conclusion that people who celebrate Christmas in the northern hemisphere – or even somewhere where the weather is guaranteed to be hot – have it easier. In the northern hemisphere you can use your back doorstep as a makeshift fridge; in hot places you can be confident about eating something cold. Here, anything could happen. So far our Christmas menu is being devised by a process of elimination. No turkey (so 2011); no salmon (the Boy Wonder isn’t keen on it); no vegetarian nut roast (are you mad?); no chicken (too ordinary). Nothing on the barbecue (it might rain); nothing too hearty (it might be hot).

Can you help? I have been searching my cookbooks but to no avail. So far we’re going to have a lateish brunch – hopefully champagne and tiny whitebait fritters – then have the big deal Christmas feast about 4.30pm. There will be four adults and one child, unless we pick up any more strays. I’m thinking summer pudding for pudding but unless I get a move on that’s all we will be having.

What are you having for your Christmas feast? Come on, inspire me…



  1. December 4, 2012 / 6:59 pm

    Would love to help but I have a very similar issue! At the mo Hubby is leaning towards Mac and Cheese and I am thinking Duck legs and all the trimmings.

  2. December 4, 2012 / 7:21 pm

    I'll be at the in-laws-t-be, we're having beef. But I'm all traditional turkey on the 25th and have been petitioning to have a teeny tony bird…

  3. December 4, 2012 / 7:42 pm

    We're having a very retro cranberry and pistachio stuffed turkey 'roulade', and a chocolate/raspberry pav. It's just us 5, and the in-laws. Guaranteed to be cold, just a question of whether it will snow or not 🙂 Can't wait to hear what you come up with, I am sure it will be delicious! x

  4. December 4, 2012 / 10:02 pm

    same here love last week we had a 40 degree day and then yesterday was 15 so ham is the answer, this one I've been making for years, everyone who tries it loves it x

    we're also doing a stuffed turkey boob this year because there will be 7 of us, some roast vegies, baby carrots with orange and hazelnuts and brocollini with pancetta and lemon x

    and i think i'll do a tiramasu …


  5. December 5, 2012 / 12:29 am

    What about duck? If the weather's cool you can use the fat to make roast potatoes, and if it's hot you can put it in a salad.

    We're heading off to Tasmania for Christmas so we're having Mt Gnomon ham, which we've preordered and will be picking up at the Hobart farmers' market. Our only plans are to buy lots of food, read as much as our toddler will allow, and sleep as much as we can.

  6. December 5, 2012 / 3:51 am

    christmas is at my place for the first time ever, but luckily it is just me and my parents. i'm plannning a few salads and hot vegetable dises, dependign on what produce looks good, and we are barbecuing lamb cutlets. BBQ is great – men go outside to BBQ while women can do the rest in the kitchen! and lamb is so expensive here it is usually reserved for special occassions.

  7. December 5, 2012 / 4:14 am

    Oh how your post has made me smile (and panic!!!). I will be cooking a giant turkey – I am a sucker for tradition and although it may be hot (yeah right), I think poultry is great no matter what the weather is doing. I use Jamie Olivers recipe and its so yummy every year. We have it with lovely summer veggies – asparagus, jersey bennies, etc. Then for dessert we have a wee selection – I always make a xmas pudding for my Mum (just a little one – she takes home the leftovers), something chocolate for the boys (this year I am doing an American chocolate pie), plus a hazelnut meringue with fresh berries for everyone else (we have quite the crowd each year). I am sure whatever you do it will be fab hon. Becks x

  8. December 5, 2012 / 7:21 am

    Even after 7 years I have not the hang of Christmas in NZ. I have however imported some of our traditions (cheese and ham croissants) although they are off the menu this year. I settle on a rib of beef which we can do the roast and trimmings if it's cold or salad spread if it's hot. Pudding has always been panettone bread and pudding. Hot or cold but always with lashings of cream. Arse, just realised that is banned too. Damn diet I think I might go on strike for Christmas. Just got a beautiful Elizabeth David @ Christmas book which might inspire me though.

  9. December 6, 2012 / 4:21 am

    Ham! Hot or cold, depending on the weather. With new potatoes, summer veges and salads. I'm a fan because it's so easy, everyone loves it. In our house the new potatoes are stars of the show, dug up on the day for dramatic effect.

  10. December 6, 2012 / 4:29 am

    Spit roast some lamb or pork if your bbq can do this. Make a couple of salads (bean, snow pea & cherry tomato plus a new potato & chorizo), some baby carrots & freshly shelled peas. Will go with what you have suggested for starters & dessert, is great for all weather.

  11. December 6, 2012 / 12:34 pm

    I have exactly the same issue. If I were back in the UK, this would not be a problem. I know what I'm gonna cook. But spending Christmas in Indonesia, in this hot weather, I have no clue what people eat this time of the year. Seems like no difference from any other day… But family might insist on roast turkey and all the trimmings…
    Sorry I'm not helping 🙁

  12. Brig_be
    December 8, 2012 / 9:47 am

    We always have a little seafood treat (like your whitebait – yum!), and then a light entree, like gravalax, zucchini fritters, haloumi and figs or similar with a wee salad, then into the Big Feast: ham, turkey, meringues with berries, then pud. There – an outline of eating through the pain barrier with my family at Christmas!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *