No more leftovers – in my kitchen January 2016
Click on a picture and use the arrows to navigate to read more about the things in my kitchen.
December was joyful and manic in my kitchen. Preparations which consisted mainly of shopping, chopping and steeping in alcohol. Family flew in from the UK so breakfasts out, breakfasts in, supper in the garden, barbecues and the like. My Mother-in-law whipped up mince pies, sausage rolls, a Victoria sandwich cake and lashings of custard. Then the main event of Christmas dinner for fourteen people. We have shared this event with the same family for much of the last two decades and we know our traditions and preferences. There are always about five different types of stuffing on the table, red cabbage, peas, pork loin, fine wines and masses of cheese in addition to the turkey, roast potatoes and parsnips, bread sauce, cranberry and sprouts et al.
I found a turkey of good provenance this year courtesy of Spinneys (and Waitrose) who brought in freerange organic bronze turkeys from Crowe Farm in Ireland. It has bothered me for a few years that our celebration centred around a bird that was factory farmed in the most intensive fashion (most turkeys here come from a huge producer in the USA). The Crowe’s Farm turkey was so different in flavour too. I cooked the potatoes in goose fat (plus some in oil for the vegetarians) – divine. We start the meal with avgolemono soup – a Cypriot dish from KP’s grandmother. This gave time for everyone to pull crackers and put on their hats so when the main dishes arrived they were piping hot. Honestly I think it was my best dinner ever in terms of taste and timing (that I’ve cooked) and gave me immense pleasure to share it with people who are dear to me. I nearly set the tablecloth on fire when I lit the pudding but this was put out quickly with fast action napkin dabbing by M.
The leftover turkey went into turkey curry, turkey chilli (thanks Jamie O) and a turkey and ham pie. More ham went into a quiche. Cranberry seems to last and last and is still accompanying the cheese hill (less of a mountain now). The leftover Christmas pudding made this gratin which is even better than plain pud. Cheese has been grated into everything! I’m now looking for ideas for my Christmas cake and must remember not to make such a large one this year.
Out of my kitchen
December was a wild one and my resolution to focus is probably born out of the last three months! I can’t complain though. The scales fell from my eyes about Belgian Beer at an excellent tasting led by Lindsay of the Tasting Class in The Hedonista’s garden where I got to chat with some great gals who work for Decanter magazine (one embarking on her Master of Wine – deep awe). The next night we shared some fine wines from Le Clos at a small dinner with rugby player Andrew Sheridan who is taking his WSET Diploma – so more unexpected and pleasant wine nerdy chat at La Cantine de Faubourg. There was a trip to the UK to take veggie teen for university interviews where I had an irresistible taste of Christmas and crisp, sunny Winter days (the only ones by the sound of it!). Had supper at Jamie’s Italian in Cheltenham and at The Cornish in Tavistock. I returned to a dinner hosted by Le Clos and Haut Brion for a horizontal tasting of the 2011 vintage and masterclass with Jean-Philippe Delmas at The One and Only The Palm.
Wine is a such a fascinating topic as it encompasses so much from language and culture to geography and agriculture, but I’m surprised at how much more there is to learn about gin. Denzel at the MMI bar academy hosted a supremely interesting showcase of several artisan gins plus a history lesson about gin and gin cocktails. I spent some time behind the bar making them too – a favourite place to be. More about this soon.
Book club was a Scandinavian festive feast in C’s garden – we discussed Stoner by John Williams (not that kind of stoner). I’ve mentioned the BBC Good Food Awards in my last post – a night that ended in tragedy.
The first BBC Good Food Show was over a very busy weekend. Apart from Food E Mag (as food sourcing editor I’m biased) I didn’t think the stalls were up to much. The cake competition entries were jaw dropping, but the main attraction was the mainly UK based chefs/ personalities. I caught the Paul Hollywood session.
A nine course tasting menu of Bengali food with wine matches, conceived and developed by Ishita in tandem with Atul Kochar at Rang Mahal, was the highlight of the month. Bravo to my dear friend for such exceptional food and this amazing achievement.
With guests in town a visit to Ravis was de rigueur, breakfast at Baker and Spice and a visit to the Al Fahidi district. There’s a new Make cafe within Heritage House where you can sip tea up on the roof. We spent Christmas Eve on a picnic blanket listening to a great jazz duo at Al Badia golf club – with an incredible all in spread from barbecues to a smokery (including fantastic crispy pork belly) with huge jugs of cocktails.
I also went to Mr Reza’s shop Sadaf Iranian Sweets in Deira and stocked up Iranian goodies. This was supposed to be a closing down farewell but thankfully he has found new premises. New Year was spent in the shadow of some awesome fireworks at Left Bank, Madinat Jumeirah but not in the shadow of The Address Hotel fire thankfully.
In my kitchen – an accolade
How often do you hear a story like this? A blogger comes up with an idea which takes off beyond all expectations. People join her event from around the world and it sends masses of visitors to her blog. This is so successful that it takes up a lot of time and she would rather be focussing on her everyday cooking and her family. So she finds a new host for her event and gives it away. This is my interpretation of the ‘In my kitchen’ event conceived by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial which, from this month, is hosted by Maureen of The Orgasmic Chef. In these days of fixation over site stats, traffic and monetisation it’s amazingly refreshing to see someone staying true to exactly why they blog – and the reason behind why dear Celia has become a beloved, virtual friend to so many people across the world including myself. Happy New Year Celia. Please visit her kitchen here and join in with Maureen here (before the 10th of the month).
Had to leave with a shout out for FoodEMag – well worth a read of the new issue.
Phew! What’s was in your kitchen during December and how are you starting the New Year?