Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

Also, "a good day to you, sir/maam" for our American pals, "Ni Hao" to China, and "Здравствуй" to our Russian comrades, "etcetera etcetera and so forth"... (for Yul Brynner).

It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

Want to know more about me? Friend me on facebook, follow me on twitter, or even look up my New Yorker cartoons on instagram! NB; different platforms not all food related)

A big thank you, as always, to my sponsors at Blue Vapours (use them for all your design and advertising needs - we are waiting for your call!).

Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Crackers!

“Nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice, pepper, salt”...
Season’s Greetings!
OK, I know it’s a bit weak.  How about, “What did Santa say when he went to a brothel?”
‘That is an easy one,’ as Jeannie might reply.  ‘He either said “Ho ho ho…” or “Mistletoe belt buckles all 'round.”

I know….

I “sleigh” you.

And Jeannie would never make a rude joke like that.  She’d just blink at you.

Christmas time is here again.  What insights can Kit’s Cucina possibly have for the Christmas feast?  Actually, two top tips which could truly-ruly save your Xmas day!

Now read on!!

 Top Tip 1.  Check which salad!

This is the first mistake everyone makes; forgetting to check what salads other people are making if they’ve been asked to bring one.

One Christmas I turned up having made this error, and my sister and I each brought an orange and fennel salad.  I mean what are the chances?

Quite high really, because food moves in fashions.  Ange tells me she recently went to a Thanksgiving party (in Australia… with an ex-Yank), and four different people (…count them… 4!) brought Yotam Ottolenghi’s ancient grains salad… and there wasn’t a leaf in sight!

Co-ordinate, people!

The Curse of the Ham

In my family, it’s become a running joke that if you’ve been nominated to bring the ham along, that means someone thinks you can’t cook.

Well guess who got pinned with the job of bringing the ham this year?



But what ham to buy???  The pressure is on.

Years ago I drove trucks for Peter Rowland Catering, and they would make a present of a ‘Jonathon’s ham’ to big spending clients.  Genius!  Jonathon's butchers are just around the corner from Blue Vapours’ headquarters on Smith St.

This Melbourne institution offers the philosophy that “you pay more, because you want the best” for all their meats.  Their hams come in various types, you need to order ahead if you want a certain size, and they are, let’s face it, prohibitively expensive at between $24 - $31 a kilo depending on the type (the majority of ham’s come in at over eight kilos).

Quoi? Deux cent quarante dollars Australiens!?!


Even Rowlands started baulking at the price, finding something cheaper to hand out, and that was back in the nineties.

Then there’s the serano style ham, I suppose; you can get a Spanish smoked ham from Casa Iberica, which I see from their website has the main HQ at Alphington, not the Fitzroy store (on Johnson St).  How much do you think they’ll be?  Hundreds, baby!!


But what do you do if you’re on a budget.  Or a tight arse.  Like me?

You can go to the supermarket and get all sorts for under fifty bucks.  But which one do you choose?

I did hope to direct you to a very good article on a blind ham testing run by the Guardian online; but when I went to find it again, and do you think I could find it???



Hmm, basically, they did a blind taste test with a panel of ordinary ham-eaters, and it turns out the Coles ham won the budget ham prize, with stern warnings to avoid the Woolworths one since it was watery and best eaten with hot English mustard.

I see another (related) article in the Guardian analyses water contents in ham, so there’s something for everyone in the “know which cured pig leg to choose” stakes; science, taste and culture.  Maybe you could even do one of those ridiculous marmalade glazes with marachino cherries stuck in it and pineapple rings.  Here, let me Google it for you:

Oh, Jamie Oliver does a glazed ham here!  I see he’s sponsored by Woolworths.  Hem hem.  I quite like Jamie Oliver he’s a bit "ohhh", he’s a bit "ahhh", he’s a bit "dodgy, yeah, let’s do a bit of this, massive, cracking!"

He’s a nice boy, leave him alone!  Even Harry Hill likes Jamie Oliver too!

So in summary, which ham will I be taking to my family of gourmets and food Nazis?

Buggered if I know.


“So so so” (as Mr Kesuke Miyagi might have said), we come to the end of another year for the galloping gourmets, and what a ride it’s been.

Insh Allah we shall meet again after the holiday break. Can you believe I’ve dropped six kilos since January? I hope I can keep it up until the great gorge of the Chrissy holidays is upon us, at which point I usually open my trap, lie down, and inflate for two weeks or so.


The Advisor said...

Hmmmm it's a sad indictment when bringing ham is a byword for bad cook. In your case, always be present when food choices are being discussed.

Kit Fennessy said...

For those of you dying of suspense, in the end I went with Woolworth's ("gasp") Gold line triple smoked free range. The tasting guide from the Guardian must have hurt. They are knocking down the prices...