The Twelve Days of Christmas (Ham Leftovers)… Breakfast Quesadilla

christmas ham quesadilla
The Twelve Days of Christmas (Ham Leftovers)

In our humble abode, post Christmas lunches, dinners and breakfasts are ofttimes (always) dictated by Christmas leftovers. There is always a tonne of cooked meats to get through as each year we seem to cook for ourselves plus a traveling troupe of carnie sex slaves… but the carnies never come… next year maybe.

Christmassy looking salad/salsa is the way to go
Christmassy looking salad/salsa is the way to go

Do not cry for us though, as Christmas leftovers are not a cruel and harsh dictator like say, Josef Stalin, Saddam Hussein or Tony Abbot. No. Christmas leftovers are a kisser of small children and a friend to the elderly. They are joyous and compassionate in dictatorship, feeding us ham and other goodies galore, and kind enough to give my tastebuds a friendly reach-around, lubing them up for the ménage-au-trois that would take place in my mouth.

As an ode to these tasty, leftover inspired meals I will do a little series of posts of what I do with my ham and hopefully help you to do something different with yours too. And with a title as clever as this one I don’t think I can go wrong (although I do need to credit Jennee with the smart title. As much as I did want to claim it as my own I think we all know has both the beauty and the smart brains in this relationship).

Now that is just about ready to get the hell into my belly
Now that is just about ready to get the hell into my belly

So without further adieu I will let my fingers take over for now, gently caressing the keys of my laptop as they make consensual love to produce the magical baby that is these words.

Bahahahaha…

At least I gave you something to read, eh?

Now that may not be the prettiest looking thing in the world, but it was damn tasty
Now that may not be the prettiest looking thing in the world, but it was damn tasty

CHRISTMAS QUESADILLA (serves 4)

8 tortillas
A large handful of ham, chopped
A normal sized handful of chopped tomato, red onion and herbs from the garden. The red and green motif keeps it looking nice and Christmassy too
A handful whatever cheese you have lying around
Fried eggs and jalapeño relish to serve

• Divide the ham between four tortillas. Top with a little of the salad/salsa mix, then cheese and then another tortilla
• Fry in a lightly oiled pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes each side. Be careful when you flip these puppies as they do have a tendency to spew out into the pan. In hindsight, it may be a better idea to just have ham and cheese in the quesadilla and then put the tomato salsa thing on top when they’re done. You choose…
• When quesadilla is done top with a fried egg and jalapeño relish if you’re keen

Paul’s Caul from France…Bonjour my cheese eating friends

We have finally arrived at our destination, our new home and our place of work for the next five months, we speak of course of the beautiful alpine village of Meribel.

Now at first we weren’t completely sure where we were, as we flew from Heathrow to Geneva then we were greeted by a lovely group of our fellow workers and our new boss, all of which are as English as you get. Now, if your picturing chimney sweeps and small street kids from the set of Oliver twist then think again, English they be but cockney slags they are not. Then it was into several work vehicles and on to a 2 plus hour drive to France (so they tell us), but up to this point I still hadn’t heard or seen any Frenchman. Was this an elaborate rouse, were we now smack bang in the middle of the international world of sex slavery? Well with fingers crossed and baited breath we sat there hoping to soon meet our slavers or maybe they prefer captors, not really sure I’m down with the lingo at all, but regardless we were soon to arrive somewhere and we had driven up a hill or two, so either of the previous outcomes are at this point possible.

As it so happens Karen our new boss wasn’t head of a sex ring, in fact she and her Husband Michael run a very top end chalet business, which contrary to popular opinion is nothing like the very bottom end sex slavery world, although they do both service people… Fact!

So we arrived in the very picturesque town of Meribel, the lack of white stuff was the first thing that caught me by surprise as we were here to work for the ski season, not the slide down destroying all your gear on mud and rock season, but we were here early and as Kevin Costner once said “build it and they will come” now either he was talking about brothels or he was a very wise man, most likely the latter and for this particular occasion I’m hoping for the best, and am confident that the precipitation that is inevitable will sooner rather than later come in the form of snow.

A fuck off big bag of Yorkshire tea
A fuck off big bag of Yorkshire tea

The second surprise of the season was the largest fuck off bag of Yorkshire tea I’d ever seen, not quite the French experience we’d expected but a lovely surprise.

The third surprise of the evening was being driven up the mountain in the back of utes. This was a brilliant way to get to know your fellow workmates, but having a large Manchester lad called Grant firmly wedged in-between my legs was still a shock to the system. Now I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it but it was a shock. We arrived at the Refuge as it was aptly called, then the crazy cardigan wearing drivers of the manically driven utes changed out of their cardies and into their pinnies and in that second become our hosts. It was magical and off putting all at the same time. Within seconds bottles with no labels were being dished out willy nilly, the fondue pots on the tables were lit giving us a small clue to what was about to come… I knew we were either having cheese fondue or that this crazy French folk had skimped on the heating bill.

Cheese here is off the hook -  Reblochon de Savoie
Cheese here is off the hook – Reblochon de Savoie

The fondue arrived in all cheesy glory. A cheese fondue is a thing of beauty; it’s like having a shit ton of cheese and small grill at you table, it allows food not normally associated with melted cheese to become acquainted, it is basically a get together for food form all over the place to meet this nice guy called melted cheese… and if for some reason they don’t get on, then Mr Melty Melty McCheese just drowns them in love and love always wins in the end.

This particular fondue was no exception, although the creators had not added the small amount of corn flour needed to bind the wine and cheese together leaving us fishing for pockets of molten protein, but that just added to the game. Just to be clear the game was gather as much cheese on the wooden spoon as you think possible then lift it from the cheesy depths and if you rise form the pot with nothing then ye shall be mocked by all (Liam was terrible at this game), now this was my kind of game. Props for the game were potatoes, salumi of various types and bread, always bread in this country, nothing is complete with a French stick or just a stick as they call it here.

Parfait
Parfait

With dinner complete and a very successful first night of bonding complete we walked back down the mountain, this was by far less bumpy and felt quite a lot safer then our journey up.

Over the next few weeks we set about training, they have 5 chalets here in town and each has its own Chef and chalet manager, as well as drivers, chalet assistants, masseurs and nannies. So they really do a stand up job of making sure everyone knows what is expected of them and what everyone else is meant to be doing. They manage to do all of this whilst allowing everyone to drink, eat and be incredibly social all at the same time, this is impressive as most people coming out here to work seem to think that there genitals will explode if they are not in contact with someone else asap. So the next game called ‘sleep with fucking everyone’ begins and I can’t see the end of this game in sight.

Vanilla bean ice cream, brandy snap & cookie crumbs, raspberry coulis, freeze dried raspberries
Vanilla bean ice cream, brandy snap & cookie crumbs, raspberry coulis, freeze dried raspberries

But for me this training meant I got to work along side some amazing chefs and share knowledge as well as actually getting to try their food, and believe me these boys can cook. So it was full testosterone mode engaged and cocks were out, massive fuck off cave man stick were being swung around, but fuck me it was a great laugh. This hit its crest at a dinner which myself and three other chefs cooked for. We were drunk as sailors by the first course and to be quite honest I have no idea how mains and dessert even got plated, all I do know is I served main course naked and Grant tried to snort a serve of pudding. But we made it through and still have jobs for the season… hooray!

As for everyone else we work with, they are all made up of consummate professionals and are an absolute pleasure to work with and in turn try their hardest to sleep with each other, so the game continues.

Naked Pauly… Chefs drinking lots of booze is going to end in a good/bad situation… depending on how you look at it
Naked Pauly… Multiple chefs drinking lots of booze is together always going to end in a good/bad situation… depending on how you look at it

I really do feel that we are going to have a great season of creating some amazing food, memories and friends.

Your larder

By now I would hope that your larder can tackle most things we throw at you. And maybe you have a sexy little herb garden out the back to provide you with a few fresh herbs.

And also don’t forget to get something random from the supermarket or farmers market every week.

This is what I would suggest is in your larder to give you a good chance to cook some good food and keep a bit of variety in your diet… Just to make up for the monotony of your 1 hit combo sex life.

Pantry
Rice
Quinoa
Cous-Cous
Pasta (2 types)
Tinned kidney beans
Tinned cannelini beans
Tinned lentils
Tinned chickpeas
Tinned tomatoes x3
Refried beans
Tinned tuna in oil
Tinned Beetroot (for burgers)
Mustard of some description
Soy sauce
Fish sauce
Miso paste
Tamarind pulp with seed
Tomato sauce
Balsamic vinegar
Cider vinegar
Castor sugar
Plain flour
Self raising flour
A small hobit-like sex slave. Keep them way up the back so no one can hear their incessant mutterings or smell their mouldy old cabbage like body odor.

Fridge
Butter
Heaps of different cheese
Eggs
Anchovies
Capers
Olives

Freezer
Frozen peas
Puff pastry
Mixed berries
Bait (In case you want to go fishing heaps early in the morning and no shops are open. Or maybe that’s just me…)