Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dinner, 31/12/13: Sausage Cassoulet

This wasn't really like a cassoulet but it was very tasty - a nice sausage stew with celery, fennel, tomatoes, haricot beans.  With a nice bread crumb and parsely crust on the top. Yum!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dinner, 29/12/13: Chicken, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Korma

This is sort of, but not quite, a new recipe - the recipe used a bought korma sauce, so I just used my usual korma recipe, but I liked the idea of putting sweet potato and chickpeas in, so I used that idea...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dinner, 28/12/13: Goulash with Sauerkraut

Winter walk

Off for a walk today - I needed to get everyone - kids and adults - out of the house to burn off some of that restless energy and as the sun was shining, we decided to head out somewhere - anywhere local and inexpensive was good as far as I was concerned. So we ended up at Polesden Lacey

Us and a billion other sun-starved Brits who belong to the National Trust...

The car park was jammed, but luckily, the grounds are nice and expansive, so there was room for everyone.

The sun was out, but very low, so we knew it wouldn't be good for long and of course, there was still a nip in the air.

It's easy taking photos in  a garden in the summer or spring, as there are flowers everywhere and birds, insects, etc.  But I actually like many of the remnants in winter as much or even more than the more showy things you see in the "proper" season.

There were numerous rosehips (and also some poor roses still in bud, which I don't think were going to bloom).

Only a few other blossoms remained throughout the garden, but there were plenty of seedheads and the like

And lots of red berries

Not sure what this plant is, but the growth is great - almost be a shame to put leaves on it!

And of course the bare tree branches are always interesting.

The kids had a good time being a little silly, hiding in wigwams

and climbing trees -

but of course, only a little silly, as they are grown-up, mature children these days...

We even managed to find a tree already marked "Alex" (in chalk), so of course we had to model our own personally Alex next to this bit of serendipity. (The other marked tree, unfortunately, said "Freddie", so we weren't able to make good use of that one...)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dinner, 27/12/13: Vegan Lancashire Hotpot

A family favourite - it's carrots, parsnips, celery, barley and so forth underneath. Gorgeous!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Desserts

Both frozen - the top one was blackberry and meringue; the bottom one was raspberry and nougat (and was absolutely gorgeous - both to look at and to eat).

Christmas Dinner

We usually eat Christmas Dinner with friends who live a few houses away - we all have family quite widespread (US, Scotland, Australia), so we started when our kids were small (and indeed, some were not born yet - and one was only a day old when he had his first Christmas dinner with us - our friends' younger child, who was 13 this Christmas Eve!).

It doesn't happen every year - the lived in India for two years, and spent last Christmas in South America, but when we are all around, we eat together. Sometimes with Lana's mum, sometimes with mine, sometimes with both. We used to have some other friends who joined us, but they live further away now and own a B&B, so they no longer come.  

It's a nice tradition, though, and as well as being convivial, means there's less work with the cooking.  This year, we had a roast pork shoulder  (carved, above, and before carving, below) and a stuffed turkey crown as our meats. 

We also had roast potatoes (of course) and Yorkshire puddings

parsnips, carrots, brussels sprouts and of course cranberry sauce & gravy (and applesauce for the pork).  We ate a lot!  But there were still some leftovers to share between the two houses. And of course, dessert, which I will blog separately...

Random scenes from Christmas morning

Ready and waiting...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Red and Green Seasonal Visitors...

We actually had six or seven of these fellows all swooping into the feeder at once, but there wasn't a time I could get all of them in one photo...

Monday, December 23, 2013


These are Olivia's own nails. As is often the case with a particularly complicated design, she only did two nails on either hand with reindeer.  Aren't they sweet?

Dinner, 23/12/13: Roast Chicken Thighs with Leeks and New Potatoes

...and a salad.