Saturday, November 30, 2013

Merry Bridgemas Everyone!

This post may seem a little premature to some but in Cambridge term is coming to an end and Bridgemas is being celebrated.  However, the highlight of my week was not the Christmas dinner in Formal Hall, rather the evenings I have spent with friends.  I love sharing food with other people, it's far more fun than just cooking on your own and I'm really glad to have had friends to cook with.  From the yummy vegetable risotto to the delicious curry which were cooked for me by friends (you know who you are!) there's nothing better than sitting down to food with friends.  So that's the theme of this post, food with friends.

This time last year I was preparing for Christmas in Germany, where I spent a year studying abroad.  Not only was there mulled wine being served on the street corners and Lebkuchen galore I was also treated to a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner by my American friends!  I'm thinking of you guys and this year I'm thankful that I met you all and here's hoping that I'll be able to come and visit some of you next summer.

So this week I went over to a friend's house to cook dinner.  I know my blog is normally about how to cook food without an oven but there are some things which you just can't do without one and roast chicken with roast vegetables is one of those things!  We stuffed the chicken and prepared roast potatoes (new and sweet) with roast peppers and courgettes.  We even had stuffing, peas and gravy to go with our beautifully cooked, crispy-skinned chicken (is your mouth watering yet?)  Three of us sat down to a lovely roast dinner with mulled wine and Christmas crackers.  It was a lovely evening with good food and good friends!  Thanks guys!

Our beautifully roasted chicken 

Last night I carried on a Christmas tradition of mulled wine and mince pies with friends.  Loads of people came over and I spent a very happy evening eating, drinking and chatting, while we also tried to construct a gingerbread house.  I photographed the result, which was surprisingly good (even if I do say so myself), given how hard it was to pipe the icing!  I am so pleased to have such artistically gifted friends!  Anyway, here it is, the gingerbread house:

All we need now are Hansel and Gretel!
I have to admit that it only looked like this for about 5 minutes as I couldn't resist eating some for much longer!

As for the mulled wine, I have to admit I cheated a little.  Rather than making my own I bought some ready-made bottles as it is a lot quicker.  I did buy some spices (dried orange, cinnamon stick, cloves and some berries) in order to add to one bottle of red wine, however, although it tasted nice, I discovered that it is hard to make proper mulled wine on induction hobs as (even on the lowest setting) they get too hot, meaning it is difficult to gently heat the wine without it simmering too much.  I have to say it's at times like these when I really miss Germany with its wide range of mulled wine (Glühwein) and stands selling it throughout the town centre (at least that was the case in Bamberg where I was living).  As a result of all the mulled wine (and the oranges we stuck cloves in) my room smells lovely and Christmassy this morning!

As this has been a somewhat nostalgic post I thought I would include a couple of photos from a similar endeavour last year.  It has to be said the gingerbread house kits which you can get in German are rather superior to those in England.  I have some great memories of the evening we built this house last year, thanks for the wonderful evening guys, ihr fehltet mir gestern!

All that remains to be said is a huge thank you to all of my friends for such as wonderful year, season's greetings to you all!

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