FRUGAL FOODIE: Inspiration for a festive treat at breakfast

Christmas turkey dinner
Christmas turkey dinner

I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone that Christmas is upon us. And I couldn’t possibly write a column this week without acknowledging it. Especially when I’ve just returned from my children’s school carol concert – it was gorgeous and they all sang like superstars. I am, perhaps, a little biased though.

No doubt most of you will be serving up a turkey or goose, with all the trimmings, on Thursday, hopefully you’ll be finishing it off with some homemade Christmas pudding.

I’m not going to try to change your Christmas dinner, but I thought I would give you some breakfast inspiration.

I love serving this on Christmas morning, with an obligatory glass or two of Buck’s Fizz, knowing that there is likely to be a long wait until lunch. It’s a lovely decadent way to start your day.

I’ve been making this for many years now and it has become a tradition in our house. It’s my perfect Christmas breakfast:

HONEY SAUSAGES AND BACON WITH ROSEMARY HASH BROWNS

I roll up some rashers of bacon and put them in a roasting tin with some sausages.

I drizzle some honey over the top of them and I cook them for around 20 minutes at 200C/ gas mark six.

While these are baking, grab about six potatoes, peel and coarsely grate them.

Squeeze out any excess liquid and then put them in a bowl with about one tablespoon of flour, some chopped fresh rosemary (you could use thyme or oregano, perhaps), an egg, a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Mix well.

Heat some oil and butter in a frying pan.

Create balls of the mixture (around 1tbsp at a time) and then squash them flat in the pan.

Cook over a low heat, turning halfway, until both sides are browned and they are cooked through.

You’ll need to make the hash browns in batches so just keep the cooked ones warm in the oven while you’re making the rest.

Serve immediately with an extra drizzle of runny honey and a sprinkling of finely chopped rosemary. Now relax and enjoy the festivities.

GLAZED HAM

There’s nothing I like better than having my cupboards full of tinned essentials and a well-stocked freezer, a full log shed and a fortnight of not leaving the county.

The freezer has to have at least one joint of gammon in it in preparation for the days after Christmas.

The clementine juice that I use in the glaze makes it feel so festive and it’s the best thing to have hanging around for the following days for quick and easy meals or just to pick at whenever you open the fridge (that’s not just me… is it?)

I prepare my ham by boiling the gammon joint in water and I often add some sliced clementines to the water to infuse the meat.

I then remove the excess fat, score the remaining fat in a diamond pattern and then stick a few cloves across it.

You can omit the cloves, if you’d prefer, but they do give a nice subtle (and Christmassy) flavour (as long as you make sure you don’t eat them, that is).

My glaze of choice is a mix of Demerara sugar, clementine juice, Dijon mustard, runny honey and soy sauce. I stir it well and heat it up together then I simply pour it over the ham.

I finish with more Demerara sugar to make sure the fat is all covered. Then I just bake it for about 20 minutes or until it’s nicely glazed and golden.

I serve it with roast potatoes and I tend to make a homemade cranberry sauce or a warmed pineapple sauce.

Don’t waste any of the ham. Use it to make fried rice with peas and Asian flavours, add it to the obligatory bubble and squeak and make pea and ham soup.

You can just make pea soup with ham/ pork stock and stir chopped ham through it at the end.

Don’t forget the humble sandwich. Make it less humble though. Add cranberry sauce and steal some cheese from your festive cheese board and make a gooey, moreish toasted (or fried) sandwich. Or be uber-posh and make it an open sandwich.