December 9, 2013 by caitlinvaclark
On Friday night, we went to Christmas at Kew Gardens which was a bust. I was all geared up for a tacky Christmas trail walk. Maybe some Elvis Christmas carols in the background. Definitely a perfect event to kick off the holiday season. But instead it was this:
Some trees with spotlights on them. Oh and nature information stations. No Christmas lights. No fat Santas. No fake snow (which definitely was advertised during the website’s video). Honestly no Christmas spirit at all. One of our friends used spotify to play a Christmas playlist as we walked the trail. This was met with many glares and a few bah humbugs. Lame.
I’ve double checked and it is very much advertised as a Christmas event. But as festive as it got was a mulled wine and “winter waffle” station half way through the trail. But of course our excitement/desperation was met with the news that the mulled wine was sold out. I guess all the adults at this thing had been feeling duped and like booze was the only way to make it through the second half of the trail.
In any event, we made up for it with tree decorating on Sunday night. Every year I use tree decorating night as an excuse to throw a mini party. Even if it’s just a party of two.
I love making a holiday ham on the night we decorate our tree. You can snack while popping over to the tree to place an ornament.
You can find my biscuit recipe here, but for savory ones I use milk (or buttermilk) instead of cream and leave out the sugar. Serve the biscuits with a great cheese, your favorite holiday ham recipe, and a good mustard. I found this perfect Cranberry Mustard while we were in Amsterdam!
And why not make a green bean casserole to round out the spread? I told you I love this stuff.
For dessert, I found yet another ridiculously good use for my pumpkin butter recipe. This time I swirled it into a simple bread pudding.
I served it with a dollop of Ginger Whiskey Cream- one of the fabulous items offered around the holidays here at our local grocery store, Waitrose.
You could certainly make your own boozy whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream never hurt anybody. Totally your call. Just go with it.
Pumpkin Butter Bread Pudding
8 cups cubed baguette, day old
¾ cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 ½ cups cream
2 Tbs brandy
1 cup pumpkin butter
Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, cream, and brandy. Toss with bread cubes. Gently fold in the pumpkin butter and pour mixture into a greased baking dish.
Cover with foil and bake for one hour. Remove cover and continue to bake for 30-40 minutes, until set.
*You can bake this for the first hour covered and then reserve to finish through before serving. Add about 10 minutes to the final cooking time.