Our holiday centred very much around food, surprisingly. It occurred to me that being diabetic had messed things up a bit though, traditionally we used to have a ham and champagne brunch, but nowadays I have to have three meals a day so it was cereal and then a ham and champagne lunch with turkey and the trimmings for supper. No not hot ham, the way it is frequently eaten in North America, but thin slices of cold ham served with Colman’s mustard which is good and hot. We used to serve champagne cocktails but now Matt has decided not to bother with champagne at all, I just drink straight champers, or Fizz as its often referred to in the UK. Sadly getting a really good precooked ham which is small enough for two people is not easy. So our ham wasn’t the best one around, but it was still good. Meanwhile I had put a pan on the stove with a small onion stuck with cloves and virtually covered with milk. This I allowed to ‘sweat’ for most of the day. Eventually I remove the onion and cloves and add breadcrumbs, butter and cream to make bread sauce to go with the turkey. To me, turkey without bread sauce is unthinkable. We had a turkey breast which we had brought back in the summer. This was accompanied by potatoes roasted in duck fat from last Saturday - they were delicious – Brussels sprouts, my gravy which also had some duck flavouring this time, and of course the sauce. We followed this up with a Christmas Pudding to which we added Rum Butter which I had made Christmas Eve. By that time we were stuffed.
Actually Christmas Day wasn’t the best day for me, I hadn’t been able to sleep Monday night so got up and read for a bit which meant I didn’t get much sleep at all. I awoke feeling light headed, almost as though I had been drinking already. I burnt my finger on the stove (I was checking the pan for warmth and touched the ring) then I stabbed myself on a bone inside the turkey cavity. I could have taken a sugar reading from the results of that. LOL. We had never roasted our potatoes in duck fat before and although probably not a very healthy way of doing it, as I said, they were delicious.
I forgot to mention that Christmas Eve we had fillet steaks for dinner plus an excellent Zinfandel Matt had discovered, I am certainly infatuated with Zinfandels, they are probably my favourite wines and this was a really good one. We also had mincemeat pie with a good dollop of English cream too. I bought the pie at the Crossroads restaurant in Elmira. They make their own pies, a Mennonite establishment, and having had a piece with my lunch, I bought a pie and it stayed in the freezer until we were ready for it. The Christmas pud was also bought, never done such a thing in my life before, but it too turned out to be good, maybe not as good as mine of course. I discovered it was made with vegetable suet and wasn’t sure how that would turn out, but other than being a little crumbly, it didn’t seem to affect the pud that much. I have heard of vegetable suet, but never used it and as far as I am aware, this is the first time we have ever eaten it. Very healthy of course. With the turkey we had a very nice Chardonnay. I am usually not too keen on Chardonnay’s but this one went excellently with the bird.
Boxing Day, not celebrated in the States, was the same lunch, ham and champagne, with a cold turkey supper. I love cold turkey. Used to love cold turkey sandwiches in my younger days when we would eat our main meal around 2 p.m. then have sandwiches for supper. I liked them on well buttered, white bread which I rarely ever eat any more. Not quite the same on brown bread somehow.
Today we will probably be shopping for a new phone for my computer room as the one I had before went kaput the other day as I wrote before. The one I have been using temporarily doesn’t work 100%. For instance if you get to one of those messages where you have to press this button or the other, the buttons don’t register although you can dial a number OK. Mind you, we have had a lot of snow, so maybe we will leave shopping til tomorrow. Matt plans to grocery shop early, that also may be postponed.
This recipe is a version of an Irish one and sounded good and a change from all the rich food we have been eating this week.
Irish Chicken and Dumplings
- 2 cans (10.75 ounces each) reduced-fat cream of chicken soup, condensed
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup sliced or chopped celery
- 2 medium coarsely chopped onions
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 4 whole sliced carrots (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas
- 2 large potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices, then quartered
- 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat baking mix
- 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/3 cup fat-free half-and-half, or low-fat milk
- In large saucepan, add condensed soup, water, celery, salt if desired, onions, poultry seasoning, pepper, chicken breasts potatoes and carrots. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover pan. Simmer over low heat about 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken from the saucepan, shred it into bite-sized pieces (or break up into pieces in saucepan using a spatula) and return to saucepan and stir in the peas.
- Add baking mix, buttermilk, and fat free half-and-half to medium-sized bowl and blend to make a soft dough. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into the simmering stew. Cover pan and simmer about 20 minutes. Uncover pan and simmer 10 minutes more. Serve hot!