Seasons Eatings 2022

We like our Christmas traditions here in Chez Tracey – one of which is the official tree-putting-up ceremony which, with very few exceptions, takes place on the first weekend in December.

We open a bottle of something bubbly and put out a few canapes and then get stuck into the serious business of tree construction and decorating.

It’s a fake tree and it’s full of decorations we’ve acquired over the thirty-three Christmases we’ve spent together, all of which remind us of people and places… but I told you all about that last year.

Last year our choice was a squirrel in the hope that we’d get to the UK in October (spoiler alert, we did) and this year’s ornament reminds us of the forests we saw in Norway while on our cruise.

I also bought a wooden Emily Bronte at Haworth Parsonage when I visited. The verse on the back is from her poem “Faith and Despondency” (she was a cheery soul…) in a collection of Poems From The Moor:

The winter wind is loud and wild,

Come close to me my darling child…

Emily bronte

Just as we deliberate over the choice of ornament each year, so too the food a subject of some conjecture. Often we replicate Christmas morning and serve pinwheels and tattie scones with smoked salmon, this year though, Grant didn’t have time to make the tattie scones so we changed the whole thing up a bit with home-made sausage rolls and these inside-out smoked salmon finger sandwiches. Same same but different. I forgot to take a pic of the sausage rolls until after they’d almost all been demolished and as for the salmon sammies, the pic really doesn’t do them justice.

The sandwich filling is a mix of cream cheese with wasabi and lime zest, layered with thinly sliced radishes. Another spread of the cream cheese mix is on the top and the smoked salmon is pressed into that. I popped them into the freezer for a bit to firm up and make them easier to slice into crustless fingers.

The 12 Bakes of Christmas – 2022

Despite having baked the Christmas cake a few weeks ago, the putting up of the Christmas tree also marks the official start of the Christmas baking season…which leads me to (in no particular order) this year’s 12 Bakes of Christmas.

1.The Christmas Cake, of course. I use the same Delia Smith recipe I have been using for almost thirty years.

2. Chocolate Fudge. I made this in the thermie and will probably do another batch (or two) before Christmas. I intend to whip up some Scottish Tablet for the new year too.

3. Gingerbread. So far I’ve baked Nigella’s chocolate gingerbread. The recipe makes a massive slab of it so I’ve popped a third into the freezer and another third – along with some fudge – has gone to work with Grant today. I’ll be making a lighter gingerbread cake on Friday with the book club gals so will post that recipe separately.

4. Next weekend we have a Christmas breakfast at the beach with everyone else who walks regularly at 5 am and for that I’ll be baking some Linzer biscuits.

5. I’ll also take along a batch of star-topped mince pies. I’ve also used pimped-up shop-bought fruit mince to make Eccles Cakes this year. (The recipe will be up on BKD soon…)

6. Shortbread. I’ll make a different one most weeks. There’ll be the clove-dusted one, the lemon one, the parmesan one, and the traditional one. At least. Some of these will also find their way to Grant’s work.

7. Speculoos. It’s become a tradition all of it’s own for me to bake these as close to Christmas Eve as possible and for Sarah to ice them with one of those cheatie icing pens. Heaven forbid if I do it without her.

8. Tattie Scones with smoked salmon and creme fraiche. A Christmas breakfast staple along with…

9. Pinwheels. Puff pastry, prosciutto, spicy tomato paste, and cheese. Done.

10. Rum Balls. Even though they’re a dentist’s dream come true, Sarah loves my Mum’s rum balls and insists on having them in the fridge over Christmas.

11. The Christmas Trifle

Grant’s trifle is a given in Chez Tracey on Christmas Day. He makes it every year – even the year we spent in England for Christmas Grant still had to find something in the house we were staying in to make a trifle in – having “leftover” trifle for Boxing Day breakfast is a Christmas deal-breaker for Sarah.

This year he’ll again be making two: one to take to Cooroy for Christmas lunch with friends and a smaller one for the family dinner on Christmas Eve to provide leftovers for Boxing Day breakfast.

As for the recipe? Well, that’s a closely guarded secret so I’m afraid I can’t give you quantities as Grant doesn’t really know!

The bottom layer is a booze-soaked supermarket-bought sponge roll with berries and port wine jelly. He cuts the sponge roll into pieces and dunks them into the jelly. The next layer, once the jelly is set, is custard, but custard made with custard powder. Finally, on Christmas morning, he’ll whip some cream and decorate it will strawberries.

12. The Christmas ham.

I have no decent photos of the ham (note to self for next year) but the glaze I use is below. We always buy a half leg of ham (most of the hams sold in Australia are cooked), but this quantity is enough for a full leg.

I’m not going to give you precise instructions other than to say you need to remove the rind (it’s easier than you think – check out a youtube video if you need to) before glazing it. Don’t worry, you don’t need to remove the rind from the shank part.

Ginger Glazed Christmas Ham

  • 365 g ginger marmalade. We use Buderim ginger marmalade because it’s local. If you can’t get ginger marmalade, use an ordinary marmalade with extra fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (110g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (250ml) dry ginger ale
  • 1 tablespoon hot English mustard 
  • 2 tablespoon cloves

Put everything other than the cloves into a saucepan, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and let it simmer away for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, make sure the shelf in the oven is placed okay to accommodate your ham (trust me, I’ve been caught out by this before and ended up cooking the too big for the oven ham in the barbeque), and preheat the oven to 180C. I always line the tin I’m using with plenty of foil to protect it.

Score the fat on your ham into diamonds and place a clove in the centre of some of the diamonds. Wrap some foil around the shank and place your ham in the tin. Brush the ham with half of the mixture, saving the rest for basting. Bake for about 1 1/4 hours, basting every 20 minutes.

Linking up with Donna from Retirement Reflections and her co-host Deb The Widow Badass Blog in their #whatsonyourplateblogchallenge.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

20 thoughts

  1. I want to spend Christmas with you!!! It all looks lovely Jo and delicious. We bought some Christmas Decorations from the Christmas Shop in Richmond Tassie which I love. Traditions are wonderful aren’t they? x As the song goes ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ x

  2. It looks like a yummy time in your household! I don’t know that I have anything on my baking list year. I’m sure my baker will come up with something for Christmas morning but I haven’t even given any thought to cookies or treats.

  3. What a lot of great foods you make and enjoy over the holidays. Thanks for sharing ideas as I need a couple of appys and might use the salmon one. Bernie

  4. Hi, Jo – I may be a little slow here, but let me get this straight.
    You work full time. You bake full time. You definitely read full time. You write full time, you walk/exercise regularly and you sneak in a few Christmas movie watching marathons. How in the heck do you do it all? I remain VERY impressed!

    1. It’s a tradition in our family. Grant makes them though so to get the recipe I had to shadow him and make him measure things.

  5. Jo I love your 12 bakes of Christmas. It’s a perfect idea for you. Your Mince pies look amazing as does all your food. I’m making gingerbread men today and yes I have the icing pen ready to make it quicker. It’s not Christmas here without rum balls. I love them with chocolate sprinkles but I’m the only one who does. So I usually do both choc and coconut

  6. Good grief woman! That’s more delicious food than I eat in a year! And more than I’ve baked in a lifetime! Christmas must be amazing at your house. We’re doing a grazing table + ham + salad + desserts for our family Christmas lunch (which will actually happen on Boxing Day). I’m looking forward to the leftovers from that little assortment – beats cold chicken and ham for a week!

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