Friday 27 December 2013

Christmas 2013

Hi everyone. I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas time. Before I continue I just want to offer a brief disclaimer that there was a smudge on my camera lens so most of the photos do not look good. Now that that is out of the way, I had a good Christmas. I am fighting a cold that I woke up with on Christmas Eve so that part wasn't fun. Sound familiar? That might be because this is the fourth Christmas in a row that I have been sick. Not to mention the last time I was sick was at Thanksgiving. Unbelievable. This is getting pretty ridiculous. I am perfectly healthy as long as it's not a national holiday it seems. Fingers crossed that I will be in good health next year.

For those who don't know, Southern Ontario was hit by an epic ice storm last weekend. The likes of which I've never seen in my ongoing seven years living here. Thousands of people lost power, some of which have had to wait days for it to be restored. Not everyone has power yet and many went without power on Christmas forcing them to double up their festivities with friends (either that or have peanut butter and jam sandwiches by candlelight).  Though many people in my neighbourhood lost power I was lucky enough to have it the whole time. My aunt & uncle's place in the country, where I spent my Christmas, was without power for about 12 hours and it was restored the morning of the day before we arrived anyway. We were fortunate for that.

The branches of every tree were weighed down by ice and we got a good amount of snow on Christmas day which added more weight to them. Several trees in the area have been damaged. So it was a very white Christmas this year to say the very least!

On Christmas morning, a rabbit came to graze on some of the fallen bird feed just outside the window which was pretty cool. I managed to get a shot. He is accompanied by a bird sharing their Christmas morning breakfast together.

As usual we had some great food this year. Similar to last Christmas, my aunt and uncle made lemon and ricotta pancakes for breakfast. This year my aunt added fresh blueberries to them. We had fresh berries and fried bacon on the side. We also had the choice of maple syrup or blueberry coulee for our pancakes. To go with the blueberry theme I chose the coulee. It was essentially blueberries and sugar reduced down into a syrup with some lemon juice at the end. This was a real treat.

Instead of lunch my family has what they call "twosies" which is basically a buffet of snacks to nibble at around 2:00 (hence the name). Stuff like cheese, crackers, olives, pickled chilies and garlic, roasted and seasoned nuts... My cousin's fiancé (who hails from England) contributed a bunch of his own traditional Christmas food like chicken liver pâté, salmon mould, a yule log and sausage rolls. Everything was from scratch, even the pastry for the sausage. I was very impressed. 

For dinner we had roast turkey, bread stuffing, gravy, mashed potato, grilled carrots, parsnips and onion, dinner rolls and cranberry sauce. It was very festive and traditional for us. If only I can enjoy a Christmas dinner without a nasty cold hindering my taste buds! Luckily my taste wasn't completely impaired so I was able to enjoy it to a degree. Dinner was wonderful.

For dessert my aunt made individual raisin tarts. For those unfamiliar, it is a little cup of pastry encapsulating a gooey reduction of butter and caramelized sugar studded with raisins. They are very good. It is common to see them with nuts instead of raisins or just the plain filling. Raisins add a Moorish sweetness to them which is a great touch.

Being a foodie I would have loved to contribute my efforts in fixing up all of these but my cold prevented me. What a shame! I can't properly put into words the frustration I feel. Oh well, the rest of Christmas was amazing. It was great to spend quality time with family. We open presents throughout the day rather than all of them in the morning so that's always a pleasure. We enjoyed a few drinks and played some games. Just wholesome family time. As for gifts, I got spoiled. I have a bunch of great new kitchen stuff (such as an immersion blender, electric egg beater and a superior mortar and pestle) which will all contribute to the blog in the unfolding months so stay tuned for that.

I am wishing everyone a fantastic new year. Be safe and enjoy yourself. I hope that 2014 is good to you and yours. It is less than a month until the premiere of MasterChef Canada! That is one of the most exciting things about my 2014 so far. Don't forget to tune in on January 20th on CTV to see me (check your local listing) compete for a white apron. The audition process will be the first two episodes (Jan 20th and 27th) so I'm not sure which one might feature my audition. Guess we'll have to wait and see!

Happy Holidays and looking forward to seeing you again soon,


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