Friday, 25 December 2009

Gotta love the irony of eating Reindeer on Christmas Day!

I've had a fun Christmas season this year.  Whilst not as manic as previous years, there have been good friends and fun nights for which I'm very thankful.

This photo was taken in Oxford Street after cocktails with BoyWonder at Molton House.  I love the London Christmas lights, though not the crowds!  Glad I got the iconic taxi & bus in this shot.

I took a couple of days off work to organise the food for Christmas Day.  After visiting Neals Yard Dairy for our Christmas cheeses, I did a mammoth shop for the bulk of our food for the day - while the venison & pates were brought at Taste of Christmas (see previous post).  I spent the rest of the time baking shortbread.  Whilst shopping I took the opportunity to do some BookCrossing, dropping the first book in the oil & spice aisle, one I left in the trolley (suitably bagged to avoid the snow) and one in the coffee shop, where I enjoyed a festive hot chocolate!

Our Christmas Day started with Skype calls to our families in Australia - it was lovely to see them all and we even got to "show" them around our house!  We then kick-started the meal with smoked salmon, philly-cheese, rye bread, drizzled with lemon and cracked pepper, accompanied by the first of three bottles of Champagne for the day!  Our next course consisted of pigs in blankets accompanied by a very spicy Bloody Mary.  BoyWonder then did his amazing Champagne Prawns (accomanied by more Champagne of course!)...  Time for a nanna-nap before the "main" of saddle of venison, this stood for 12-hours in olive oil and a white peppercorn crust.

Our wine of choice for this course was Black Tempest Sparkling Shiraz which was delightful with rich blackberry & liquorice tones... a great combination.

The venison was absolutely delicious, with the "fillet" melting like butter in our mouths.  It was coated in duck-fat and basted every 5 minutes for approximately 35-40 minutes - due to the lack of fat in venison it cooks very quickly.  It sat while the jus (gravy) was made from the venison juices deglazed with brandy and white wine, mixed with stock and reduced before adding double cream... this is not a low-fat day after all!!!  Our meal was completed with roasted duck-fat potatoes that BoyWonder cooked to perfection, along with Brussel Sprouts (don't tell my Mum!), spinach, pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots.

We have yet to tackle the Christmas Pudding with a choice of Brandy Cream or Cointreau Butter nor the cheeses and pates, let alone the mince pies and shortbread... there's always tomorrow!
Happy Chrisnukkah to all!
Cheers, KangaRue

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Food, wine, books, song & good friends...

Having handed in the last of my uni papers for the term - one a week early I will boast - I have breathed a sigh of relief and can now enjoy the Christmas season.

Thanks to the London Evening Standard, BoyWonder and I won tickets to Taste of Christmas, which was a lovely day out tasting food and wines, picking up a number of selections for our own Christmas feast.  Not only did I blow the top of my head off with some chilli selections (we bought some of the seeds to grow), had some great pates, we also found nice wine to enjoy at home.

To be honest, the first thing that caught my eye was the name Chat-en-Oeuf (Cat on Egg) a great play on words with Châteauneuf depicted brilliantly on their logo... the wine is actually made just outside the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region and is aged in Châteauneuf-du-Pape barrels.  While it won't be an award winner, it was a nice wine that we'll happily quaff at home.  And I'm still giggling over the logo!

Taste of Christmas also offered a great opportunity to do some BookCrossing.  Having done one wild release at a bus-stop on the way to my Osteo on Friday, I took a couple of books along with me, releasing one outside a cooking theatre and another at the dining tables.  I did this last one after enjoying a delightful pie from Roast, a great texture and taste to the meat encased in a fantastic pastry.  I was sorely tempted by the food at L'Anima but really want to go to the restaurant for the whole experience.

The evening saw me head off to see some friends perform in the London Gay Men's Chorus production of
Singderella.  The singing was absolutely superb - well done guys!  Not sure about the panto and dancing that went along with it - it just didn't compare to the standard of singing.  Having checked my diary, I'm disappointed that I can't see the carol concert the Chorus is singing in a couple of weeks, so will have to wait to the 2010 season to see the LGMC perform again.  And how pretty does Sloane Square look with the Christmas lights up...

Cheers, KangaRue