Festive Feast

Festive Feast

by Diane Clark

Whether you’re having a seasonal social, or simply want inspiration for your Christmas meal, why not have a look at a couple of our dinner party ideas? Simply follow up with a cheese board for the perfect finale!

Christmas is traditionally the time of food, drink and get togethers. If you are hosting your own dinner party there are a whole wealth of delicious delights you could prepare, and we have made a couple that you may want to include in your menu. The antipasti is a beautiful dish that’s always a hit as it has something for most tastes.

Also, it’s a great way to start a meal as everyone is involved in helping themselves. What sets a Christmas ham apart from any common or garden gammon is the glaze – the icing on the ‘piggy cake’ as far as I’m concerned and do hope you agree!



  • Iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • Italian salad dressing
  • Salami
  • Dry cured Italian ham
  • Pepperoni thinly sliced
  • Prosciutto thinly sliced
  • Jar of marinated artichoke hearts
  • Jar of roasted red peppers
  • Jar of pickled mild green chilli peppers sliced
  • Baby beetroot
  • Baby tomatoes
  • Black olives
  • Pimiento stuffed green olives
  • A selection of various cheeses
  • A selection of pates
  • Halved fresh figs
  • Serve with freshly sliced French baguettes, crostini and table water biscuits


  • Serves: 8
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 2 hours


  • 2kg unsmoked boneless gammon joint
  • 5 tbsp black treacle
  • 1 tsp whole black mustard seeds
  • 2tsp allspice berries
  • Pinch of whole mace
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • Pared zest of 1 orange
  • 500ml bottle of stout
  • Handful of whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp ginger preserve or orange marmalade
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar


  1. Place the gammon, skin side down in a large saucepan. Add 4 tbsp of the treacle and the mustard seeds, allspice, mace, bay leaves, peppercorns and orange zest. Pour over all but 2 tbsp of the stout, and then add enough cold water to cover the meat completely. Bring to a gentle simmer over a medium heat. Skim off any scum from the surface, then cover and simmer gently for 1½ hours. Remove from the heat and leave to stand in the liquid for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 ºC, gas mark 6. Lift the ham out of the liquid, then carefully cut off the skin, leaving as much fat beneath as possible. Score this in a diamond pattern and stud with cloves at each intersection. If necessary, cut a thin slice of ham from the base of the joint so that it sits without toppling over. Put the ham in a foil lined roasting tin just slightly larger than the joint.
  3. Mix the reserved stout with the remaining treacle and ginger preserve or orange marmalade and half of the sugar. Heat gently stirring all the time. Drizzle all over the fat. Bake for 20-25 minutes, basting and sprinkling with the remaining sugar during cooking until the glaze is caramelised and bubbling. Allow to cool completely before serving.