Friday, December 29, 2006

This Week

This week was a most magnificent week for eating and, being of an indulgent predisposition at the best of times, we were more than happy to apply ourselves with gusto!

Saturday lunch was a bowl of hot chickpea and vegetable soup finished with a soffrito of rosemary, sage and pancetta - an excellent way to begin the week being both healthy and tasty and generally satisfying. I spent the afternoon preparing - chocolate truffle cake, red pepper hummus, salmon cured with coriander, a reduction of stock and red wine for the jus to go with the beef - so, many hours later, simple was best. Supper was the real beginning of feasting and we had a large platter with prawns complete with Hellmans for dipping, parma ham and mozzarella, batons of celery and carrots, semi dried black olives and masses of crusty bread and then, as I'd been to Green Valley earlier in the day, various baklava for a sweet finish

Sunday was xmas eve and I was all for bacon and eggs for breakfast but my sweetheart, convinced we would consume enough protein before the week was out insisted on porridge and it was almost as good. Lunch was pork pie cut into thick slices and an apple on the side before we set off to Richmond to be festive with Jaey and his lovely wife Marie. Their home was Christmas made real with a huge tree, lots of little Santa's, twinkly lights, enough candles to light up heaven and a never ending soundtrack of carols. Brilliant. They had prepared a most magnificent feast - traditional Swedish as that is where Marie was born and grew up - the table utterly laden with meat balls and beetroot salads and potatoes baked with cream and anchovies and wild boar paté that Marie's mum had made from wild boar Marie's step father had raised and butchered and then we had rice pudding scented with vanilla and served warm with lingonberries for dessert.

Wonderful food and also a really different experience for a 'european' meal - I expect to be surprised by asian or middle eastern food but I think I know all about european food and yet it is just not true. Good news I think - more things to try and I'm bound to like most of them. The evening continued with a walk in the park - complete with excitable labrador that our hosts were minding for the holidays - and fireworks just to add to the excitement. Perfect.

Christmas day we rose late and Jaey made hot pikelets - known as drop scones in England - for breakfast with butter and golden syrup - decadence on a plate. We took the dog for a long walk up Richmond Hill and had a quiet beer at the top while we admired the view then, revived, it was home for the main event of the day. We laid out hummus and salmon and olives and salami and celery to nibble over while we sipped champagne and waited for our magnificent rib of beef to cook. After heaving it from the oven and swaddling it in foil it was a simple matter to boil carrots and deep green sprouts, creamy discs of parsnip and roasting to golden the par boiled potatoes. As the red wine jus came up to simmer the lovely boyfriend carved the beast and I dished up the vegetables and finally we sat down again to a blissfully good meal in delightful company. Much later it seemed wise to take the dog out for another walk before we could realistically contemplate chocolate dessert. Returning refreshed we attacked the cake with gusto then settled in to watch a dvd of 'Bad Santa'. Easily the best christmas I've had for years.

Next day we had hot cheese scones for breakfast - good for the hangover - then another walk in the park with the dog dodging golfers and then home through Richmond Park and the clusters of deer making Christmas complete. Dinner Monday was a simple affair of hot bread with roast beef and grilled peppers and so to bed.

Wednesday coffee and cereals for breakfast, a cheerless trudge to work then, after a very quiet morning my sweetheart had an apple after a big hunk of chocolate truffle cake and I bought some lasagne for lunch from an uncharacteristically quiet Barbican Grill then home later for more cold roast beef sandwiches.

After snacking on taramasalata and hot pitta bread, Thursday dinner was the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs made with cream that I'd put in the freezer a few weeks ago when another plan hadn't worked out

Friday another simple breakfast and dinner will be vegetable curry using up the rest of the carrots and sprouts served simply with boiled rice

Not bad(!) for one week and nothing much remaining - some potatoes that we can eat next week, the bacon went into the freezer, Parmesan but it will last a while and come in handy - and the butternut still sitting up in the vegetable rack - next week may be it is time for it to be eaten

Happy New Year!

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