The Christmas Table

With baby Benjamin just a week old on Christmas day, there was no question that we’d be at home these holidays. Much as it’s been a delight spending Christmas morning alternately with Tara’s parents and mine, it was fun this year to take the step of spending it with just each other and the kids.

Of course, this also meant that for the first time, we were also on our own with respect to Christmas food. Our families have set a high bar on festive meals, so we had a lot to live up to, but I think we did well.

On Christmas Eve afternoon, we did a little pull-ahead, making a pumpkin pie to put in the fridge, as well as a combined potato and sweet potato dish:

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Tara also prepared tomato aspic, which is curious vegetable jelly that has been a staple for her mum and grandmother:

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Finally, I put on some overnight cinnamon rolls to rise. My first attempt was a failure—the successful result ended up being a hybrid between two different recipes, one by Alton Brown and the other by Ree Drummond. I put them on to bake the next morning after presents, and they were completely decadent and delicious:

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Christmas afternoon, we steamed up the broccoli, and put the roast in. When the roast was done, Tara made Yorkshire pudding in the hot oven, and I threw together a gravy on top. We also made a creamy cheese sauce (Mornay) for the broccoli. This was the final spread:

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Completely delicious—a triumph. It was great to have such a complete meal and yet still have a reasonably relaxing Christmas day; definitely the effect of having done a bunch of stuff in advance.

I think I probably spent more time in the kitchen cleaning up on Christmas than I did preparing food. Here’s the right-after-dinner warzone picture:

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And yes, that is an electric carver there on the far right—I got it for $2 at a garage sale. I feel like such an old man with it, but I love it.