Jami's Christmas Niceness
Entertaining with Christmas Niceness
Jami McPherson adds fruits to the charcuterie board.

The word — or rather, wood — on the street is that Jami McPherson's Drift Home charcuterie boards are the must-have item to showcase fabulous finger food and bring a whole smorgasbord of Christmas niceness to your lime this holiday season.

If there is anyone who knows how to throw a great party, it's Jami. The financial advisor is a three-time Million Dollar Round Table Qualifier who helps clients to navigate the world of financial security options and focus on strategies that meet their needs and goals. She is also the creative director and CEO of Drift Home, in partnership with her mother, Diane. Together they have been beautifying kitchens and living rooms since 2020 with beautifully crafted décor pieces, including charcuterie boards for serving appetisers, raffia place mats and coasters. This designer and married mother of one has made it her business to create the right ambiance and the perfect platter for tasty hors d'oeuvres.

As everyone knows, a party or lime is only as good as the food. There's a reason that charcuterie boards are trending globally — they are quick and easy to prepare. The secret to creating a delectable one is to have fun with colours, textures, shapes, sizes and different heights, and find the right balance of sweet and savoury flavours. Start with fine deli meats, like Hamilton's Smokehouse Ham, then add three to five different cheeses — including a hard one, a soft one and a blue cheese. Fill in the gaps with slices of fruit and berries, dried apricots, nuts, chocolates. Make it as colourful and varied as possible. You should also have a few small bowls with jams and spreadable cheeses that guests can put on crackers and slices of bread.

That's just the starters. You also want to have a range of small bites that your guests can munch on as they sip their drinks and chat or refuel after dancing up a storm. McPherson uses Hamilton's Smokehouse range of products to make quick delights like Goat Cheese Balls, using their chicken ham; Sausage Wonton Cups (their jerk sausage); Ham, Brie and Sorrel Glaze Crostini with their black forest ham; Christmas Devilled Eggs (black forest ham, chives, sour cream, spicy brown mustard and nutmeg); and Cobb pasta salad with bow-tie pasta, ham, cherry tomatoes, green peas and veggies.

Cheers!

Now, right up there with the food is the drinks. Nothing gets people talking like a little alcohol. How much and the quality will also be an after-party conversation. You can select a signature cocktail to make — a fancy martini, maybe — and then offer mulled wine, or red wine, perhaps some Prosecco (or Champagne, if it's New Year's Eve). Some guests may bring a bottle, which you can add to the selection on offer – depending on how fast the stocks are being depleted.

When it comes to drinks, the golden rule is: It's always better to have too much rather than too little. It won't spoil. And there will be other limes or parties. Not all guests drink alcohol, and even those who do may want to pace themselves. Be sure to have an abundant supply of fresh juices, coconut water and seltzers for the teetotallers.

Ambiance is everything

This is Jami's mantra, and she can't emphasise enough the need to create a lovely, welcoming ambiance for your guests. Music is key to creating the right vibe, so be sure to spend some time selecting your playlist. Be sure to hire a deejay or appoint someone to be in charge of keeping the music on point.

Fresh flowers and potted plants always bring a room or outdoor space to life. Create an oasis of beauty with vases of seasonal blooms or orchids, decorative or scented candles, some of Drift Home's lovely raffia coasters, cocktail napkins, coffee table books and, if you have them, paintings and sculptures. Place Drift Homes boards at strategic points with mini cupcakes (with a Christmas theme!), or bowls of chocolates and sweets. To greet the New Year, you can go all-out with foil balloons.

— Drift Home (@drifthomeja) is available at Fontana Pharmacy Waterloo, Active Home Centre, Jamaica Food + Drink Kitchen and The Collective in Montego Bay.

Christmas Devilled Eggs with Hamilton's Smoked Ham Slices

These Ham Devilled Eggs take this classic recipe to a whole new level with the addition of Hamilton's Ham Slices and chives.

Ingredients:

12 eggs

¼ cup or 100g mayonnaise

2 tablespoon sour cream

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped finely (or hot pepper sauce)

3 slices of Hamilton's Smoked Ham, cut into small pieces, fried until crispy, then chopped into small bits

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped, plus a few more for garnish

Method:

In large pot or saucepan place eggs in single layer; add enough cold water to cover eggs. Cover and bring to a roaring boil for 3 minutes then turn off heat. Remove pot from offer the burner or heat to prevent further boiling. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes. Remove eggs into another container containing cold water and let sit until the eggs are completely cool to the touch.

Next, peel eggs and cut lengthwise in half. Remove the cooked yolk and place in another bowl and arrange the egg white halves on a platter.

Mix together egg yolks with mayonnaise, sour cream, ham, salt, pepper and chopped chives using a wire whisk until the mixture is completely smooth

Place devilled egg mixture in a piping bag with star tip or spoon yolk mixture into egg white halves. Sprinkle cooked Hamilton Ham pieces with chives. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Hamilton's Smokehouse Jerk Sausage Wonton Cups

Ingredients:

3-4 Hamilton's Jerk sausage links, casings removed

2 cloves teaspoon freshly chopped garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 small onion chopped finely

12 cherry tomatoes roughly chopped (for garnish)

3 tablespoon vegetable oil or cooking oil of your choice plus 1 tablespoon to grease cupcake tin

24 wonton wrappers

1/4 cup cheddar or edam cheese

Method:

In a frying pot or large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat with chopped onion, garlic, and dried basil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until thickened, 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush with vegetable oil coat with cooking spray 12-cup cupcake pan. Press and arrange two wonton wrappers per cupcake section and bake at 350°F until lightly browned, 8-9 minutes.

3. Next spoon sausage mixture into wonton cups, sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, 5-7 minutes longer. Top with chopped cherry tomatoes and chive.

Hamilton's Smokehouse Black Forest Ham Brie Crostini

Looking for a fun way to elevate your holiday appetisers? These Ham, Brie and Sorrel Chutney Crostini are sure to be a hit.

Ingredients:

3-4 slices of Hamilton's Black Forest Ham

1 French baguette

3 tbsp olive oil

1 packet 8 oz brie cheese round

½ cup sorrel chutney preserves

3-4 slices of Hamilton's Black Forest Ham

Fresh thyme chopped

Fresh chives chopped finely

Maraschino cherries for garnish

Pineapple pieces for garnish

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Slice baguette at an angle into half an inch slice to get around 12 -14 slices and arrange on a baking tray lined with foil paper.

Brush baguette slices with olive oil.

Slice brie into 12-14 thin strips and place on baguette slices.

Bake crostini for 5 minutes. Remove tray from oven and let crostini cool slightly.

Top each crostini with sliced pieces of Black Forest ham along with Sorrel Chutney.

With a toothpick secure ham slices and garnish with cherry and pineapple.

Sprinkle with fresh thyme and chive before serving.

Hamilton's Smokehouse Chicken Ham Goat Cheese Balls

These easy, cheesy bite-size appetizer ideal for your Christmas parties

Ingredients:

6 slices or one packet Hamilton's Chicken Ham, finely chopped and cooked to a crisp

1 tub Philadelphia Chive and Onion Cream Cheese

2-3 40z logs of Goat Cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon chopped Scotch bonnet pepper or hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon onion powder

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives

Method:

Fry the Hamilton's Chicken Ham in a large frying pan over medium heat. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and pat to remove excess grease. Let cool for 10-15 minutes.

In a large metal, glass, or plastic bowl mix together the goat cheese, cream cheese, chive, onion powder and black pepper with a wire whisk until creamy and well-mixed.

Refrigerate covered with cling film for 10 minutes.

Next using a small ice-cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop a small amount and form small balls, about the size of gum balls.

Place balls on a parchment or foiled lined baking sheet and put in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up a little more.

Remove the goat cheese balls out of the freezer and roll them in the chicken ham and chive mixture, until the cheese balls are fulling coated.

Hamilton's Ham Cobb Pasta Salad

Cobb penne Pasta Salad is the perfect Christmas meal alongside a cold refreshing glass of Sorrel!

Ingredients:

2 packets Hamilton's Smoked Ham slices bacon cut in small triangle pieces

1 pound bowtie or farfalle or other medium pasta of your choice

1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes halved

1 large avocado peeled and diced

Chives chopped finely

1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cucumber sliced

4-5 teaspoons of Italian dressing

Method:

Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Run under cold water.

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Add dressing and gently toss to combine.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 48 hours.

Editor's Note

Win! Win! Win!

The Best Dressed Chicken is giving away a Hamilton's Smokehouse Ham. Here's how you can win. Read the article carefully and answer the following question:

HAMILTON'S SMOKEHOUSE HAM IS A MUST-HAVE. NAME ANY FOUR ITEMS THAT MAKE FOR A GOOD CHARCUTERIE BOARD.

The FIRST correct answer received at whyten@jamaicaobserver.com will be gifted with a Hamilton's Smokehouse Ham.

Designer and co-principal of Drift Home Jami McPherson raises a toast to the festive season. (Photo: The Best Dressed Chicken)
Jami McPherson adds the finishing touches to her charcuterie board, which features Hamilton's Smokehouse slices of chicken ham on one of her lovely Drift Home boards.(Photo: The Best Dressed Chicken)
A sure winner is Jami's Hamilton's Smokehouse Ham, Brie and Sorrel Glazed Crostini topped with Hamilton's Smokehouse Black Forest ham. (Photo: The Best Dressed Chicken)
Hamilton's Smokehouse Ham, Brie and Sorrel Glaze Crostini (left) and dessert fruit cups. (Photo: The Best Dressed Chicken)
Christmas Devilled Eggs with Hamilton's Smokehouse Black Forest ham, chives, sour cream, spicy brown mustard and nutmeg, a charcuterie board and goat cheese balls. (Photo: The Best Dressed Chicken)
Hamilton's Smokehouse Ham, Brie and Sorrel Glaze Crostini (left), Sausage Wonton Cups (centre), dessert fruit cups (back), Cobb Pasta Salad (right), decorated with a wooden bead garland from Drift Home. (Photo: The Best Dressed Chicken)
The centre of attraction: How it all comes together (from left) Goat cheese balls, charcuterie board, Ham, Brie and Sorrel Glaze Crostini, Sausage Wonton Cups, Cobb Pasta, and dessert fruit cups in the back. (Photo: The Best Dressed Chicken)
Always popular, Goat Cheese Balls with Hamilton's Smokehouse Chicken Ham are so yummy! (Photo: The Best Dressed Chicken)

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