Christmas Roundup

Oh dear, I’ve been slacking horribly on the blog front.  I don’t feel too bad about it, though – I’ve been having a pretty good time!

Christmas was wonderful this year.  I don’t know why, but I was more in the mood for it – making my own cards, making Christmas baking treats (including the iced biscuits I’d been meaning to do since the daring baker’s challenge!)  and with all of the snow outside it couldn’t have felt more festive.  Andy and I popped in to see Robbie and Beth as well as Scott and Kirsty on our way down to Andy’s parents which was really great – it’d been about… six or seven years since I saw any of my family on Christmas day.  Christmas itself, was never that big for me – it was always about the awesome dinner and company at Gran and Grandpas – relatives I only got to see a few times a year.   Andy’s family are wonderful people – welcoming and warm, but I did always miss seeing my own family at Christmas.

One thing I love about Christmas day at Andy’s parents is seeing him and his sister play together – they’re both really good musicians and Rachel usually brings her fiddle along.  This year it was fiddle + bass guitar / piano.  A mini-concert in the living room is not something most people can boast on Christmas day!

Anyway, sappiness aside,  this Christmas was a productive one.  We decided to make everyone treats rather than buying shop-bought boxes and whatnot – putting all the practice we’d done into confectionery and sweets throughout the year to good use.  In the end we made: two ‘types’ of macaroon balls, (Scottish) tablet, sugar icicles, iced biscuits,  shortbread (gluten free), and pfeffernusse.

For New Year we also added puff candy (also known as cinder toffee, puff toffee, honeycomb and others).  It took us three tries and only the last came close to ‘right’ but all of theme were tasty.  The second try, which simply didn’t ‘puff’ we crumbled up and ate in ice cream.  There was also an attempt at mince pies – which were ok but felt a wee bit to me like the mincemeat could do with a bit more time.  I’ve still got another jar of it, though, so I’ll give it a try at the end of January.

Not that people know me well or anything, but I did get quite a few cooking themed prezzies – A griddle pan, grater and Bakerella(!) book from Andy, and an apron from Andy’s mum with the motto: ‘Yes, it DOES take every pan in the kitchen!’.  I’ve been wanting a good apron for a while – the shops only tend to sell thin ‘pretty’ ones.  Not good, sturdy kitchen aprons made from similar material to chef’s whites.  The one Andy’s mum got me was that material but a snazzy black.  I’ve been using my griddle pan at every opportunity – something I’ve not used in years because it’s more ‘speciality’ cookware.  You don’t really need to have cool looking black lines on your food… but it tastes better if you do.  Really! ;)

New Year was, as always, great fun.  Andy and I headed over to Mishi n’ Mike’s place for games, dvds, board games food, too much sugar, and general geekery.  In true SURGe tradition we also spent all of New Years day celebrating too – with yet more of the above.  We had mad fun playing party games – both nights until almost 6-7am in the morning!

Over the holidays Andy had wanted to go out to a few restaurants he’d been with his work / music groups and thought I should try.  One of them was Sushiya in Edinburgh and oh man was that a treat.  The place is teeny-tiny and the seating is all tall bar-stool style but the food, oh man the food!  I’ve only been to a good sushi place once or twice – and neither time did I have more than a little sashimi (the raw fish type) as I was quite young and the idea squicked me.  This time, however, I was ready to have at it.  We ordered two mixed plates of sushi and sashimi as there is some non-fish sushi that I love – tamago and ‘inari’ or sweet tofu.  Large chunks of salmon, tuna, sea bass, clam, shrimp, and various veggies in or on rice wrapped in seaweed or rolled in crab roe.  Yum!  Then came the amazing soft-shelled crab rolls.  If you’re going to go there, try this.  Soft-shelled crabs are crabs which, just after they molt, can be cooked and eaten with their shell still on.  They are deep fried and crispy and Andy’s description of the rolls prior to us going turned out to be perfect:  “It’s like japanese fish and chips”.  Crude, maybe, but pretty much spot on in a deliciously tasty way.

Since then what I’ve mostly been doing is garden related and that’s relegated to a post of its own!   Hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year =)  /hug

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