For many Christmas is a time of tradition.
For the Napier in Frame family the lead-up to Christmas has become a food tradition.
Each year, in the twelve days leading up to Christmas, Mrs In Frame makes a “Twelve Days of Christmas” menu – alternating each year between the traditional (Partridge in a Pear Tree) and New Zealand (“Pukeko in a Ponga Tree”) versions of the Christmas carol.
This year it was the turn of the traditional version.
Wherever possible she tries to tie in part of the carol lyrics to the dish – i.e. “Partridge in a Pear Tree” will usually contain pears or some kind of bird reference to some degree.
Due to the rather prolific recurrence of birds in the traditional carol (Partridges, Turtle Doves, French Hens, Swans, Geese..), there may also be some sort of alliteration or similar tie-in, otherwise we might as well have the “Twelve Days of KFC”….
When all else fails, a fair chunk of artistic license is brought in. It really takes a fair bit of dedication and imagination to pull off!
I’ll do my best to explain the theory behind each dish as we go.
So sit back and enjoy as I reveal what my true love made for me over the Twelve Days of Christmas Deliciousness for 2019:
Day 1 – A Partridge in a Pear Tree:
Meal: Pork with Pear and Mash!
Reasoning: Reasonably straight forward, first up – The Partridge in the carol nests in the Pear Tree, hence the pear. Pork represents the “P” alliteration, and they both nest in the mash!
Day 2 – Two Turtle Doves:
Meal: Prawn and Avocado Tacos!
Reasoning: Like turtles Prawns have shells, and the hard outer skin of avocados acts as a shell too! The taco tortillas, when folded, look like doves’ wings, too!
Day 3 – Three French Hens:
Meal: Chicken Salad!
Reasoning: Pretty straight forward – The theme becomes the meal!
Day 4 – Four Calling Birds:
Reasoning: The oats, fruits, nuts and seeds in the muesli make perfect bird food for the Four Calling (“Colly”) Birds!
Day 5 – Five Gold Rings:
Reasoning: This type of Stromboli is basically a wrapped up pizza. When you cut through it you can see its rings!
Day 6 – Six Geese a Laying:
Meal: Devilled Eggs!
Reasoning: Reasonably simple this time – Geese lay eggs (although these were regular chicken ones) and they can be right little feathered… “Devils” (careful, this is a family site)..
Day 7 – Seven Swans a Swimming:
Meal: Floating Islands!
Reasoning: White, fluffy meringue, just like white fluffy swans, swimming upon a pond of custard!
Day 8 – Eight Maids a Milking:
Meal: Custard-Filled Profiteroles!
Reasoning: Focusing on the lactose aspect today – This custard was made with milk, and the profiteroles KIND OF look like udders. If you close one eye and tilt your head slightly…
Day 9 – Nine Ladies Dancing:
Meal: Nashville-Style Fried Chicken, Cornbread and Collard Greens!
Reasoning: Mrs in Frame has said she thinks she was a cowgirl in a previous life. This explains an otherwise inexplicable fondness for country music, line dancing and Billy Ray Cyrus. Nashville is the home of country music, cornbread and collard greens are popular foods in US southern states, where country music, line dancing (and Miley’s Dad?) are also popular.
Day 10 – Ten Lords a Leaping:
Meal: Popcorn Chicken Salad!
Reasoning: This is reasonably straight forward: Lords (allegedly) like to leap, just as popcorn leaps as it “pops”!
Day 11 – Eleven Pipers Piping:
Meal: Chicken Parcels
Reasoning: I though this was because they were “piping hot”, but apparently not. Mrs’ reasoning for this is the parcels, when cooked, puff up and look like the bag on a set of bagpipes – hence Pipers Piping!
Day 12 – Twelve Drummers Drumming:
Meal: Rolled, Stuffed Turkey Roast!
Reasoning: To finish off #TDoCD2019 we have gone with a play on words: Drummers + Turkey Roll = Drum Roll!
So there we go, another year of deliciousness done and dusted!
Many thanks to all the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter friends and followers who liked and commented on the dishes!
Wherever possible, we sourced ingredients locally – from our own garden, Napier and Hastings Farmers’ Markets, local greengrocers, butchers etc.
For the more specialised ingredients, we went to Chantal, Gourmet Direct and Vetro – any Napier foodie’s best friends!
Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy 2020!