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Our Christmas day morning was spent munching on some of the best bought buttery croissants (from Waitrose) topped with generous spoonfuls of our homemade strawberry jam. And if you’re me, an extra helping of butter.
Then we helped Buddy open his stocking – our first Christmas with him – and he was so funny. He was so interested as Mr Rigg began to open the bag of goodies…
perhaps not so keen on the silly Father Christmas hat and scarf chosen by me…
…but he does love his new friend Mr Pheasant…
…especially when you squeeze him and he honks …
Ah, the joys of Christmas with animals!
For Christmas Eve dinner we like to eat a baked Camembert and nothing else. It is pure indulgence and feels very wicked, but it is a tradition of our own making and it feels like something special.
We bake the Camembert in its box – just take the lid off and pull open the paper. This time I scored the cheese with a cross, added a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a garlic clove, sliced in half and wedged into the cut cheese.
After about 15-20 minutes it comes out as gooey liquid cheese encased in its rind – which is my favourite part of it. It goes a bit crispy but chewy at the same time.
Usually we just have a bowl of rustic bread, roughly cut into hunks to dip into the cheese. This year we also opened a jar of Real Ale chutney to go with it.
Although I can be a purist when it comes to dishes like this, refusing to dilute the taste of hot runny cheese and bread, I must admit a dab of chutney with it was delicious.
We ate it in front of a cosy log fire…
Does anyone else have Christmas traditions they’ve created for themselves?
Christmas Eve lunch – a simple winter salad of warm potatoes, crispy bacon, chopped celery leaves and a dressing of mustard, cider vinegar and shallots.
This was my first attempt at this delicious sounding salad from Rose Prince’s The New English Table – I tried to follow the amounts for the dressing, but it wasn’t quite how I wanted it, so I just tweaked the ingredients until I was happy.
Winter potato, bacon and celery leaf salad
20 new potatoes
6 rashers of streaky bacon
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
175ml olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp water
Handful of celery leaves
Salt and pepper
Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until done. Drain and cut in half or quarters.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crispy.
Mix together the sugar, mustard, olive oil and water – I like to use a jam jar as you can screw on the lid and shake it. Add the shallots, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pop the cooked potatoes into a bowl. Tear up (or cut up) the crispy bacon and add to the potatoes. Drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle over chopped celery leaves. Stir everything together.
Mr Rigg is home from work, we’ve got the Christmas carol’s on, the Camembert is out of the fridge ready for tonight’s baked Camembert cheese fondue, and I am feeling tremendously Christmassy.
Our night before Christmas involves eating a lot of gooey cheese with chunks of sourdough bread and going to midnight mass at our favourite little village church in Dunham Massey. And we have snow.
Wishing everyone a very happy night before Christmas!
Image: Pretty Little Green Things
If you ignore the peeling paint in the back of the room (our house is still very much a work in progress) our house is looking quite Christmassy.
I have hung ivy and holly from most of the pictures, the staircase is wrapped in yet more ivy, the tree is decorated and sparkling, and the mantlepiece is twinkling with jam jars of tealights amongst fir branches.
Today I did the first part of my Christmas food shop – my bags were full of goodies…Morecambe Bay potted shrimp…herb encrusted salami…Wensleydale cheese studded with cranberries…and a few things I can’t mention as they’re for Mr Rigg’s stocking..ssh!
I love Christmas.
There are some fantastic Christmas markets in Manchester at the moment, full of delicious foods. From Raclette melted over new potatoes and gerkins, to spaetzle and paella there are all kinds of goodies.
One of my favourite things at the Christmas markets is Flammkuchen – a German style pizza topped with a creamy sauce, bacon and onion. When I cook so much at home, it always feels quite expensive to eat at the markets. So instead we decided to give it a go at home.
I went in search for a recipe – mind you, it took me a while to get the spelling correct! I was inspired by this recipe because it used quark – an ingredient I’ve seen before but never known what to do with it. Here was the perfect opportunity to quell my interest – turns out it’s like cottage cheese without the lumps. Quite nice!
Pancetta or bacon
Preheat your oven 220°C.
Roll out the pizza dough as thin as you can.
Finely slice the onion – the thinner the better as the onion isn’t pre-cooked. I used pancetta rather than bacon and sliced it into lardons.
In a bowl mix equal amounts of creme fraiche, sour cream and quark.
Spread the creme fraiche mixture over the pizza dough, top with sliced onion and bacon before popping it into the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until it’s golden.
All it needs before eating is a good grind of black pepper…or not if your Mr Rigg.
Any other suggestions on what to do with the remaining quark would be graciously received!
My laptop power cable broke – think sparks and spitting sounds! Thankfully, I live with a super resourceful man, who minutes later had ordered a new lead on ebay.
However, since the end of last week my laptop power supply has been diminishing so quickly there was only time to briefly check my emails. I do have some lovely bits to share in the coming days if I can just catch up.
Here’s a sneaky peak of our Flammkuchen we made this week…it was scrumptious…
What to eat for lunch when the fridge is almost bare? My solution is homemade hummous and toasted pitta bread – all which can be made from what’s in my cupboards and freezer.
My homemade hummous is inspired by some my friend Jane made – it’s a simple matter of whizzing together a tin of chickpeas and olive oil, with lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
Today I’ve used 1 medium garlic clove, juice of about 1 small lemon (I find getting the amount of lemon juice right is what makes or breaks this hummous), and about a teaspoon of ground cumin.
Today I’m eating my hummous with toasted pitta breads from the freezer. Pitta breads freeze fantastically and I always try to have a packet in the freezer ready to toast whenever I’m out of fresh bread.
They can be easily popped in a toaster or if, like me, you are toaster-less, simply bung them under a hot grill for a couple of minutes on each side. Beware of hot steam escaping from the pittas once toasted!
Here’s me eating my lunch in my not-so-romantic working space…