elissande: (Default)
It's good to be back home again after a Christmas visit with my parents in Canberra. The weather was, predictably, very hot for the first few days - the ones where I was cooking - so I did a lot of the cooking at night. This was not a problem for me as I'm a night owl, but worried my mother who isn't.

My sister-in-law and I take turns at doing the Christmas dinner, and it was my turn this year. As most of you know, I love cooking, but not having all the right tools can make it more frustrating than I would like.

My father and I did a big shop for foodstuffs on Monday morning and I started cooking on Tuesday. Our dinner is traditionally on Christmas Eve and is cold, so I could make everything beforehand and just have a few things to finish off on the day itself. So we had Thai Chicken balls as nibbles (as well as nuts etc.), pork and veal terrine and a potato and camembert terrine, roast turkey with cider glaze and lemon butter, glazed ham (orange mustard glaze). potato salad, pesto penne salad, mexican salad, a garden salad (from my sister-in-law) and for dessert ice-cream christmas pudding and marinated oranges.

I expect my parents are still eating leftovers. :)

I also managed to catch up with various friends while I was there, and miss seeing some others, unfortunately.
elissande: (Default)
Yes, and it went just like that !

Friday night we went to one of our semi-regular DVD nights. We're currently watching Twin Peaks - please don't ask me what it all means!

Saturday was an all day rehearsal for MUS' upcoming concert. The rehearsal went pretty well - about as well as they do when you suddenly find yourself in a completely different venue with different acoustics and no longer being able to hear the same parts as you could before and then adding in an orchestra which plays parts you haven't heard before and an organ that doesn't seem to be able to do soft very well in the registration that you want it to play in.

But it is going to be a great concert. I was just a bit concerned when the theme was announced at the end of last year as Songs of Protest. I was concerned as I really didn't think I wanted to sing another lot of prettied up songs from the 60s protest era. Fortunately, it's not that. It's music as an expression of protest over the last 100 years or so. It has songs from the women's emancipation era, civil rights (from the 60s and before), south african songs and many more PLUS it has the Jenkins 'Armed Man Mass' - which is in no way a traditional mass and it is very emotionally confronting in some movements. All in all, it's not a concert for you to sit back comfortably and listen to pretty noises.

Sunday we went up to Aberglasslyn to see a display house. It's high on our list of possibilities and isn't on display in Sydney. [personal profile] electricant and [profile] i_ate_my_crusts came along for the ride and were very patient with our looking through houses. After that we set the iPhone to take us to Pokolbin to see what we might find in the way of interesting eating places. It took us through some small country roads (I have no idea whether that was really the best way to get from where we were to Pokolbin) and, on a small country road, we saw a sign out for a restaurant that seemed to indicate it was open even though it was about 2.30. We lucked out! I can recommend the Major's Lane Restaurant. I had the quail starter (Preserved lemon roasted Nulkaba quail, walnut,almond, parsley and merlot verjus pesto) and the duck (Glaze roasted duck breast, confit duck and potato galette, caramelised witlof, corella pear and rocket) for main course. Both were excellent and I tasted Styvyn's fillet steak and it was also mouth-watering. In fact, all the food looked good - at our table there was also barbecued ocean trout (which had severely tempted me before I settled on the duck) and salt and vinegar grilled pork loin cutlet. I might write more about this in Elysant's kitchen.

While we were at the restaurant, the weather closed in and we were treated to a tremendous rainstorm. We were outside, but under a huge pavilion, so we didn't really get wet though it got a little chilly. Eventually, the storm passed and we decided it was time to head back to Sydney.
elissande: (Default)
Friday - Dancing Cooks. This is medieval dance practice and a cooking competition. I made chicken in verjuice (the theme was chicken) and intended to make another dish, but didn't start it in time to get it cooked before the event - it needs to marinate for 2 hours. Cooked it when we got home. The chicken in verjuice was good, but the Moroccan chicken was absolutely yummy. I think I've found one of my dishes for the Al'hambra Nights Feast. Oh, and we did get some dancing done as well.

Saturday - after sleeping in, spent most of the afternoon sorting out a few details and making the mulled wine and cider for Soiree that evening.

Soiree was a good event. [livejournal.com profile] tatianiska provided wonderful food, as usual, and the event ran very smoothly. For those who don't know, Soiree is a performance event - somewhat like a bardic circle with a feast attached. Although it was a small event this year, there were enough people prepared to get up and perform once or twice or thrice to keep everyone entertained until quite late. Songs, stories and jokes - and a bit of dancing. So congratulations to the Stewards.

At the end of the night, there were prizes awarded for best song, best story and valiant attempt. The Baroness had also decided that the new Bard of Rowany would be chosen from the performers. For his sins, S got to be Bard! :)

And in a personal achievement, I actually managed to get up and sing by myself for the first part of the song Styvyn and I sang. I sing in choirs, I don't usually sing by myself. I get nervous and stuff up. I think I did ok this time, so whew!

Sunday was relatively quiet mainly involving work around the house seeing as it was still raining.
elissande: (Default)
I’ve decided to make better use of this blog – one way or the other. Not that this is a NY resolution, mind you – I’m not going to commit myself to anything.

So what should I blog about? Food and books seem to be the obvious choices at the moment. I’ll start on food – Christmas food to be precise.

Last year – err the year before last, when it turned out that my sister-in-law ended up cooking 2 Christmas dinners (we have ours on Christmas Eve while her family has it on Christmas day) we all said that was unfair and I offered to cook for this Christmas just past. I may have gone just a little overboard – but here’s the menu. We have a cold Christmas meal, so there were quite a few things that could be cooked beforehand.

Nibbles: Spicy nuts, bean and rosemary dip, pastry twists (herb and spicy), Thai chicken balls.
Entrée: Freeform prawn pies with salad garnish.
Main course: Turkey with citrus stuffing, glazed ham (well, part of a ham anyway), potato salad, orange and date salad, roast vegetable and chickpea salad, raspberry and cranberry sauce.
Dessert: Ice cream Christmas pudding.
After: coffee and Adora chocolate.

It all turned out well, but the big hits were the Thai chicken balls, the prawn pies (especially without the pastry, which was, imho, pretty ordinary – I’ll use a different pastry recipe next time), the Raspberry and cranberry sauce and the Christmas pudding. I was pretty pleased with the hit rate. And at the end we were, of course, all stuffed to the gills.

Styvyn was my kitchen hand - which impressed my sister-in-law – and did a pretty good job of that and of helping to keep me sane. Cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen added an extra layer of stress, but it all worked out and I got to sit back and enjoy the meal.

And what did I get for Christmas? A new tagine and a pasta maker – as well as a few books of harp music (though I bought a few of those for myself). I think there’s a theme for that Christmas.
elissande: (Default)

View of hall after decoration
Originally uploaded by elissande
Well, it was quite a weekend!

For those who may not know (I just realised that I didn't blog it) I ran a feast this weekend. The theme was moorish (hence the event name was Alhambra Nights) and I had a lot of fun researching some of the recipes. Unfortunately, due to 'the kitchen that ate my brain' I wasn't able to do a full redaction more than a couple of them.

Over the weeks previously, I'd tried to work out a way of making a suburban scout hall look vaguely exotic and reminiscent of the Alhambra. Lots of things I thought of were totally impractical, but I think the final result - while perhaps more reminiscent of the middles east, at least gave some of the flavour. See picture with this entry. I only took a couple of photos as I was busy in the kitchen.

Although tables were provided, I was hoping that those who could would so the sitting on the floor thing - and they did! I was really pleased with the atmosphere in the place. A pity that the actual temperature was a bit on the chilly side. And people seemed to like the food, which was also gratifying. And I have to thank [livejournal.com profile] tatianitska and Jane and later Anice for their wonderful help in the kitchen.

And I got an award! The Golden Staple. It was a surprise - as people who saw my face at the time must have realised. And it is nice to get acknowledgment of things that you've done. I think it's one of the things the SCA does well.

So - all in all a good evening and a good weekend. Spent Sunday being lazy - after we'd tidied and cleaned.

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February 2011

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