Archive for December 31st, 2010

December ’Meanderings’ …

December was, as usual, a busy month not least because I spent part of it in hospital. This rather lessened my chances of trying some new ideas this year.  Sadly the Pannetone I had planned will have to wait for another year and our mince pie supplies were rather short but we still ate well enough.   I made some favourite seasonal recipes already on this site, plus I added a few new ones, all of which are listed below.  I had, fortunately, started early so at least we had a good selection of pickles and chutneys.  The delicately flavoured Pickled Pears were a huge hit at tea time with the cold meats and cheese and I shall definitely be making them another year, in fact I may well be giving some away as gifts.  Follow this link to see my whole list of Christmas & New Year recipes
Most importantly this month we celebrated once again the birth of Jesus with our church family and in our home.  I advertised a very attractive illustrated version of the traditional Christmas story called Christmas Unwrapped (pictured) which I felt was worth viewing.  (A more contemporary version can be found at Paperless Christmas and Natwivity for those who follow Twitter.  (I am not sure whether these are available outside the Christmas season.) 

Recipes this month

 Banoffee Curd                                                           Pickled Prunes
Special Occasion Rich Fruit Cake & Starry Night Christmas Cake
White Christmas Slices
Spiced Braised Red Cabbage Casserole  Sausagemeat Plait with Fennel Chutney
All images ©’Meanderings through my Cookbook’ http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com/ 

Bookshelf Meanderings:  Delia Smith’s Christmas has some lovely ideas for this time of year.  I own the original version, published in1990, but it has been republished and updated in the past year or so.  The recipes cover the entire season, from ideas for the pre-Christmas party, through Christmas Day itself and into New Year, plus ideas for using up the inevitable leftovers. 
Recipes from this book already on this site: Stollen & Spiced Braised Red Cabbage Casserole
Watch out for: Spiced Apricot & Orange Chutney, Spiced Preserved Tangerines, Cheese & Parsnip Roulade with Sage & Onion Stuffing, Creamed Turkey en Croute, Irish Coffee Pudding & Caramelised Orange Trifle.  Also Parmesan Baked Parsnips (which I have made before and are delicious) and Truffle Torte (which was made by a friend for their Christmas party – very rich and very good!)

Blogosphere Meanderings:  I am grateful to the writer of Vintage Hearth for adding the recipe for Banoffee Curd to her site, in response to my request.  My family love Fruit Curds and I have instructions for several variations which I will gradually add to this site as they are made.  The most common curds are citrus flavours, particularly Lemon, but to date my list also includes Orange, Blackberry and Banoffee.  (Banoffee has also been posted separately.)  I plan to add Lime plus St Clements, Blood Orange, Tangerine, Apple, Mango, Strawberry, Raspberry … the list goes on!  Vintage Hearth is based in Weardale, North Eastern England, part of England I know just a little.  Rather a long time ago now, when first married, I lived in the historic and beautiful City of Durham on the River Wear.  We used to drive up the valley to enjoy the scenery and wild open spaces – happy memories!  (There are some amazing pictures of the 2011 winter snow and the frozen River Wear in Durham.)  Vintage Hearth contains only a few recipes, but I have my eye on Tomato & Chilli Jam (from Prima magazine online) & Rabbit with a Cider & Cream Sauce – plus some instructions for making home made laundry starch that looks very useful.

Television Meanderings:  In October I stumbled upon the lengthy daytime TV series Lakes on a Plate, called by the Channel 4 website ‘a culinary adventure’ set in the (English) Lake District.  The programme is partly a travelogue set against a beautiful scenic backdrop with chef and presenter Peter Sidwell using regional produce to make a variety of locally influenced recipes as well as some more exotic ones. The website carries an episode guide for Series 1 (I do hope this means there will be more) and also recipes under two headings: Peter Sidwell and Lakes on a Plate.  In the very first programme the recipe for Sausage Rolls with Fennel & Apple Chutney took my eye.  I quickly made Fennel & Apple Chutney and then Sausagemeat Plait containing a layer of the chutney.   Other recipes on the site: Roasted Onion Soup, Cumberland Rum Nicky, Chocolate & Orange Shortbread & Chocolate & Raspberry Mousse – sadly some recipes from the series seem to be no longer available.

Restaurant Meanderings: Each year between Christmas onever know quite who is coming, though one member does keep tabs on numbers and let the restaurant know. Raja is at the top of Walthamstow High St (London, E17) with a ‘gourmet night’ menu: a special flat rate price for starter, a main course, rice and side dish (with an extra charge for Naan bread), not including drinks.  This year I enjoyed Prawns on Puri (similar in taste to Prawn & Tomato Korma served on a flat bread similar to Paratha Roti), followed by Chicken Shaslik (my regular favourite: skewered chargrilled chicken, onions and peppers served sizzling on a platter), pilau  rice, bhindi (okra) bhaji – plus a small chilled Cobra beer.  At the end he manager gave us a ‘free’ glass of cream liqueur on ice to say thanks: a friendly gesture I always think, even though they sometimes have problems finding enough small glasses for us all at the same time!  The fact we all go annually, plus other times in the year including takeaways, has to be a good recommend!

Miscellaneous Meanderings:  Thank you to all who have posted their comments on this site.  One reader in particular, Wendy John, has written to me on a number of occasions about my Beetroot Chutney recipe, singing its praises: actually this was my second most popular recipe in 2010 – and at time of writing, still is.  I do hope, if you are reading this Wendy and Alison, that you are still enjoying it!   

A very Happy New Year, albeit a belated one, to all my readers and blogging friends.


‘For what we are about to receive…’ January 2011

Coming in January – A quick look at my statistics from 2010 on 1st January, as provided by WordPress and as gleaned by me with links and pictures to my top posts … recipes for New Year celebrations and for using up festive leftovers … warming soups by the bowlful … 

Happy Cooking & Eating! 

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