Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm back!

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to dedicate more time to my blog, working on my recipes and reading more cookbooks....that being said it’s now mid-way through January and this is my first post of 2011! Shameful but thankfully I do have an excuse in that for the last 5 weeks I wasn’t at home but rather at my other home with my family in Scotland. Try as I might it was just too hard with all the festivities to find time to type out any recipes I was making and get them posted on my blog, however I am now home, over my jet lag and trying to get back to a routine despite being completely full of the cold which I of course picked up from being stuck on a plane for 10 hours!

Anyway I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year. Ours was really lovely – as mentioned we were back home in Scotland, so surrounded by family and friends – perfect! However on top of it being Christmas which is always in itself a crazy time, we had my little one’s Christening on Boxing Day and then his 1st Birthday on the 27th(!!!) I know – three times as busy. There was no relaxing for us until the 28th when we all collapsed in a heap next to the fire due partially to exhaustion but more so to complete over- indulgence in the food and wine category!! We ate like Royalty – in fact it seemed like all we actually did was eat, however I think that’s a common complaint over Christmas time so it was partially to be expected.

We started everything off on Christmas Eve with a light and easy Christmas Eve meal – Mixed Salad Greens with Mozzarella, Pomegranate & Almonds to start; Spaghetti with Prawns and Rocket for our main course and Rose Wine Fruit Jelly with White Chocolate Panna cotta for dessert – a great way to start things off!

Christmas Day was the traditional Roast Turkey with all the trimmings – another wonderful feast prepared by my mum, dad and aunty (I was on the couch at this point with the start of an awful cold!). We tend to eat Christmas dinner later in the evening so lunch was our traditional Steamed Steak sandwiches (a family tradition that has gone on for as long as I know) and a slightly newer tradition that I introduced a few years ago of my Broccoli and Nutmeg Soup. Of course there were mince meat pies, boxes of chocolates and my million calorie Ultimate Rocky Road tempting us throughout the afternoon just in case we felt we hadn't quite eaten enough already!

And then we were onto Boxing Day. While most people treat boxing day as a day to relax in front of the fire and go for casual walks in the snow, we were still on full steam with Wee One’s Christening. Since we couldn’t get much done on Christmas Day the menu was kept fairly simple so most of it was done on the morning before church. On the menu – Beef and Red Wine Stew; Cold Roast Ham; Dauphinoise Potatoes; Winter Coleslaw; Crisp green salad and a Tomato Salad. Dessert was a very festive Christmas Pavlova that I topped with mandarins segments, pomegranate seeds, some dark chocolate shavings and finally adorned with a good sprinkling of edible gold glitter for that extra special celebratory sparkle! And of course our homemade Christening cake that Mr. Vanilla and I made on the 23rd at about midnight!

Three days done and we were onto Wee One’s 1st Birthday. I have a horrible sense of guilt by having a baby on the 27th so close to Christmas however it wasn’t planned that way! To make up for it we have said from day one we will always make sure that his birthday is never overlooked and make that extra special effort that we would do the rest of the year, so we marked his 1st Birthday Party with a proper kid’s party complete with sandwiches, sausage rolls, top hats, jelly and ice cream and more cake, this time his Birthday cake (also made at midnight or there about on the 23rd !). It was another lovely celebratory day filled with lots of fun, family and of course food (and perhaps a few too many balloons but I couldn't resist!).

So by December 28th it was Christmas, Christening and 1st Birthday Party – done! After all of that food and of course a glass or two of sparkly and wine to go with it, I felt in much need of a few 'lighter' meals. I used to always get frustrated when food magazines would come out in January with nothing but salads and 'light' meal ideas, however now I fully understand why!! Don't get me wrong, in January when it's still cold and possibly snowy out, I still like some proper comfort food but after 4 days of non-stop eating I needed a balance which is why I made a large batch of my cleansing and soothing Thai noodle soup! Still completely fulfilling so you aren't left hungry but fragrant and light, this soup is that perfect balance I was looking for. It is also ideal for getting rid of any colds or coughs that have a tendency to appear over Christmas as it is full of ginger and chilli – my remedy for getting rid of those nasty germs! It did the trick and after a few days to chill out it was straight back at it for Hogmany and New Year.....but I'll save that for another time! Happy belated New Year to you all – I hope 2011 is a great for all of you.

(I'll try and get as many of the recipes up from the 4 day extravaganza – it might just take me some time!)

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