Twelve Days of Christmas
By Andrew Frame

This week’s column is actually bought to you by my lovely wife. I’m just the scribe this time. Last year, Beloved came upon the idea of celebrating the “Twelve Days of Christmas” differently. For each day she made a meal based on the gift that is given on that day in the song. Pretty cool, huh?!

If you go the literal route, there is a lot of poultry (doves, swans, hens etc.) potentially involved. Twelve days of KFC anyone? I thought not. If you’re bird intolerant or vegan, it could be a bit of a struggle. So there can be a bit of poetic license taken.

So for this year, below, please see
What on the twelve days of Christmas
My beloved cooked for me:

A partridge in a pear tree
Meal: Smoked chicken, pear and pecan salad with a blue cheese dressing
Reasoning: The shop was all out of partridges, so chicken had to suffice, but we kept up the ‘p’ alliteration with the pecan nuts.

Two turtle doves

Meal: Slow roasted tomatoes and garlic on toasted ciabatta
Reasoning: Turtles aren’t the world’s fastest animals, so we thought “slow” roasting would substitute. You will find alliteration plays a large part here too (Two, Turtle, Tomato)

Three French hens
Meal: Chicken dijonaise with steamed vegetables
Reasoning: Easy one this time. French = Dijonaise and Hen = Chicken. See, some are straight forward!

Four calling birds
Meal: Four (two each) chicken pies
Reasoning: This one’s a little harder.
Apparently it’s not “Calling Birds”. The original line was “Colly Birds” – old English for Blackbirds. In the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence”, “Four and twenty Blackbirds (were) baked in a pie”. So we’re having four bird pies.

Five gold rings
: Home made onion rings with aioli
Reasoning: Too easy. Squid rings, or even a packet of Burger Rings could do (WHACK!!) Ok, ok! I’m kidding!)

Six geese a’ laying

Meal: Poached eggs with asparagus wrapped in streaky bacon
Reasoning: Sure they’re not goose eggs, they’re chicken. But they are eggs and they were laid.

Seven swans a’ swimming

Meal: Baked salmon with orange served with steamed vegetables
Reasoning: By this stage, you’ve probably had enough chicken to last you for some time, so in comes Salmon (which swim) and welcome back alliteration, my old friend. Except with all the ‘s’ sounds it’s called “sibilance”.

Eight maids a’ milking
Meal: Chicken in Milk (courtesy of Jamie Oliver)
Reasoning: Just when you thought you were clear of the poultry! As its still illegal to cook humans, our old feathered friends make a comeback cooked in milk. Courtesy of some maids, you would hope.

Nine ladies dancing

Meal: Trifle
Reasoning: Yes, Trifle. Not as a dessert, but as a main (have I told you just how much I love my wife?). Beloved has used a fair amount of poetic license for this on, I quote:
A “We make the trifle with ‘Ladyfingers’ sponge pieces” And
B “Trifle usually has alcohol in it and ladies will often dance when they’ve drunk too much”
Personally, I’m just stoked to be having trifle!

Ten lords a’ leaping

Meal: Dukkah coated lamb racks.
Reasoning: Lambs, like Lords (apparently) like to leap. At least it’s better than last year which was sausages. No comment.

Eleven pipers piping
Meal: Cannelloni
Reasoning: The filling is piped in and cannelloni looks like, well, pipes.

Twelve drummers drumming
Meal: Turkey drumsticks with home made chips or wedges
Reasoning: Easy peasy for the last one. We’re having a turkey for Christmas dinner any way, so they will be handy.

So ends our twelve days of Christmas deliciousness. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ll enjoy eating it.

A fun fact before I go:
One of my favorite Christmas songs (the others being “Snoopy’s Christmas” and The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York”) is “Christmas Countdown” otherwise known as the “Irish Twelve Days of Christmas” was written and performed by a lovely Irish gentleman named Frank Kelly. I only just discovered the other day that the polite, nice sounding Mr. Kelly played Father Jack (“Drink!”, “Feck!”, “Nuns, Reverse, Reverse!”) The wall-eyed, drunken and slightly psychotic priest in the “Father Ted” series way back in the 90’s.

All the best for the festive season. Thank you for reading and commenting on my columns this year and thank you to Tom for publishing them.

Have Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy Hawke’s Bay New Year!


And Happy Christmas to faithful BayBuzz readers from the Belfords!
Tom & Brooks

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