Ginny Grant is a senior food writer at Cuisine, and a freelance food stylist and recipe developer.
As the silly season charges along in hectic progress, I often wonder if anyone has the time or the inclination to cook. I’ve had a busy year and a couple of long, but varied food styling jobs have meant that late November and December have been not only busier than I like, but at times so overwhelming that I feel that if I even stop for a minute, or stumble, it will lead to everything else collapsing like dominos.
Throw in all the children’s school and sporting events as well as various events and parties and I’m feeling pretty knackered and really looking forward to a break.
I’ve already cooked five whole hams for a number of clients and about the same number of turkeys (including a couple that were done on a rotisserie) so by the time Christmas with the family rolls around I’m not sure that I’m going to be ready to eat either. If I do it will be this marmalade glazed ham, first published in Cuisine magazine.
Most years we head up to Whangarei Heads, to my parents holiday home for Christmas. I love nothing better than a longish lunch and a swim in the surf, then enjoy doing very little except having a nap in the sun and catching up on some reading. On the list (and sitting in a dangerously high pile beside the bed) a proper sit down with Josh Niland’s ‘The Whole Fish’ rather than the quick flick through it has received so far; Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Testaments’; and the new Jo Nesbo ‘Knife’ (I’m a huge fan of crime books).
This year we are changing it up a bit by having it at my sister’s in west Auckland. We’ll still swim, but the meal will probably be more barbecue-inspired. I’m still thinking about what to cook for my vegetarian sons… I have no doubt that Archie will say lasagne and potato gratin because he’s the carbo loader of the family, while Riley will plump for something healthier like rice paper rolls.
I’m hoping mum will bring some of her infamously good shortbread, the cured salmon she makes most Christmases for a starter and always an excellent dessert. My sister will have plenty of bubbles to hand and no doubt pineapple because she loves it with ham. I can’t believe I’ve offered to cook turkey – well, there is one in the freezer that needs using…