We received a lot of food related presents for Christmas, including some fancy multi-coloured pasta. Here we served some of it with a home-made chicken and kale pesto.
- Chop and fry 2 cloves of garlic
- Finely chop 2 handfuls of kale and add to the pan with the garlic. Fry until it wilts.
- Put a tablespoon or so of pine nuts (or a similar seed mixture) in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder.
- Add the garlic and kale to the food processor and blitz to a paste.
- Add a tablespoon of cream and a couple of spoons of grated parmesan
- Season to taste.
- Mix in some sliced cooked chicken and serve with the pasta.
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Since it is Christmas, there has been a lot of unhealthy (but very tasty) foods being eaten. We made (and ate) 3 different desserts, which I will describe here, and not a single Christmas Pudding in sight.
For breakfast on Christmas Day, we had waffles with fresh cream and ganache. This was accompanied by the traditional bucks fizz, only we made a red bucks fizz using sparkling rose and an orange and raspberry juice.
The next two desserts were larger which we shared when we went to visit friends and family.
Pear Syllabub. The pears were peeled and sliced and poached in a sweet dessert wine. The cake was a simple microwave sponge cake. The syllabub itself was creme fraiche, double cream, icing sugar, the wine from the poached pears, and the juice and zest of 1 lemon, all beaten together. We layered the sponge, pears and cream mixture in a bowl and put it in the fridge overnight.
The roulade recipe was from the Daily Mail 'Weekend' magazine but was similar to a recipe on Delia's website.
Christmas brings out the usual crap drivers. While we were away we saw one idiot on the A6 south of Stockport. He was driving along perfectly normally then, without warning, he would swerve violently from left to right for a few seconds, then get back to driving normally again. It looked a bit like when racing drivers swerve to warm their tyres before a race. We couldn't decide whether he was a moron, was drunk, or just thought it was funny.
On Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson has commented on how 'cocks' have started driving Audis instead of BMWs. We saw a prime example of this too. We were driving through a village where there was a 40mph speed limit. A knobhead in a black audi decided that the speed limit didn't apply to him, and he was swerving past the other cars in his haste to get past everyone. We saw a similar moron on the motorway driving a silver Ford Focus, changing lanes every few seconds because he didn't want to drive sensibly behind people at a junction.
We encountered our final knobhead of the season (so far) on our way back home, driving along Holyhead road towards Coventry. A moron in a crappy little Renault was tailgating me. I braked in an attempt to force him to slow down and increase the gap but it didn't work. We finally lost him at a junction where he went a different way. At our last sight of him, he was still driving like a knobhead, tailgating a taxi.
I think I'm being stalked by unfunny Christmas Cracker jokes. I was at a Christmas Dinner last week and all the crackers had exactly the same joke. The very same joke turned up again today:
Q: How do you make an apple puff?
A: Chase it round the garden.
It wasn't funny first time around.
Watching crappy films on TV is something of a Christmas tradition. Yesterday we watched the last of the Friends box set, so we're reduced to watching whatever films are on.
Right now, High School Musical is on TV. It's surprisingly bad, worse than I was expecting. I was expecting some level of naff cheesiness but I wasn't prepared for the painfully whiny singing voices and the really bad lip-syncing.
Other film's we've watched include:
- Elf. This was the first Christmas film we saw this year. It had some good moments but on the whole it wasn't as funny as it thought it was.
- Oliver Twist. There has to be at least one version of a Dickens story at Christmas. This was the 2005 film version.
- Alien Autopsy. The Ant and Dec film based on the hoax alien autopsy footage. It would have benefited from more Harry Dean Stanton and less Ant and Dec.
Before we decorated our tree, we decided to see what a Christmouse tree looked like.
The tree with proper decorations.
Tree with Mice.
We had a quiet night in for the new year. We watched TV, had a few drinks, opened a bottle of Cava to celebrate midnight. We were going to get some champagne but our nearest supermarket (the ever so classy Asda) didn't have any on offer.
They did have several cheese hampers half price. The one we bought had a posh bottle of cider, two cheeses (one mature and one smoked cheddar) and a jar of chutney. The cheeses and chutney will be added to the ones we bought before Christmas and haven't eaten yet. We didn't think we had bought too much food but we've got lots of potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, cheese, chutney, party snacks, cake and mince pies left over.
We bought a lot of different drinks as well, because we knew we'd be having a lot of visitors. Thankfully it's all stuff we'll drink ourselves, although there is also a bottle of sherry (dry, not the awful sweet stuff). I had a few glasses of it in the run up to midnight and mentioned that I was getting a taste for it and might consider buying a better bottle to try next time. Emma muttered some comment about being gay... I'm sure you don't have to be gay to drink sherry. It's perfectly acceptable for men to drink other fortified wines such as port, but maybe that's because that's made from red wine and sherry is from white. It's well known that men drink red wine and women drink white...
After midnight we went outside to watch some fireworks which looked like they were coming from a neighbouring street. I had bought a skateboard for Emma for Christmas, so we also had a go on that in the street (while it was quiet and there were no cars around). I think more practice is needed. While neither of us fell off, we both looked fairly incompetent at it.
It's been a busy Christmas - the first one we've spent in Coventry, previous years we've driven up north to visit our parents.
My parents and my brother came down on Christmas Eve and stayed for 2 nights. We probably cooked too much food for Christmas dinner because there was plenty of turkey, veg and stuffing left over.
Emma's mum and her husband joined us on boxing day, so the house was a bit crowded for lunchtime, but my family went home after lunch.
We've got the house to ourselves now, so we can start finding homes for all the Christmas presents we've received - mostly chocolates and biscuits, so we don't need to buy any of those for a few months. Emma's Dad and his wife are stopping for lunch tomorrow but we'll be serving salad and sandwiches, so that will be a bit easier for us.
We went to take our recycling to the tip this morning but the traffic was queueing all the way to the main road. We took the glass and cardboard to the recycling point at the nearby Asda but that was getting full too. At least it showed that people were willing to recycle over Christmas rather than just throw things away.
After we had our Christmas Dinner, we gave the hamsters some too. They seemed to enjoy it. At lunchtime Reggie had some beef and a little turkey. After dinner proper they all had a small piece of turkey, sprout and roast potato.
Theo eating some sprout.
The current Christmas stamps have created a bit of controversy because they don't have any religious content at all. A slightly greater concern to children throughout the land is depicted on the 1st class stamp (pictured left). Santa knows if you've been naughty or nice, and if you've been naughty he'll poo down your chimney.
I don't know whether all Warwick Graduate Association christmas parties are this empty. The Student Union was pretty quiet when we arrived.
There were two bands on tonight. The first were the Skabilly Rebels which featured "Roddy Radiation" from The Specials. They were good, performing a mixture of Ska and Rock with a little Blues thrown in. Sadly they seemed to be ignored or unappreciated by most of the audience. The so-called 'headline act' were an unimaginative Crappy Covers Band called Carte Blanche. Their highlight was when the lead singer gave her lungs a rest and allowed the guitarist to sing a fairly good version of Suspicious Minds.
I think the real high point of the evening came near the start when we had a go on the 'Rudolph' bucking bronco. I managed about 44 seconds which seemed average frmo what we saw, but my hands were hurting afterwards from gripping too hard trying not to fall off.
The German Market is back in Birmingham for the run-up to Christmas, in it's usual place at the Victoria Square/New Street area. Last year I bought some really tasty candied macadamia nuts from one of the stalls so I decided to get some more.
I popped down during my lunch break. The first 'nut stall' I got to, there was nobody manning it but there was a 'Help Wanted' sign. They must have gone to lunch. The second stall was up and running. The bags of macadamias were 50p cheaper at this one but I decided to get the larger bag of assorted nuts instead.