A world in white gets underway

eat less chocolate
exercise more
get back in touch with lost friends

Oh, you are here? I’m finally drafting a New Year’s resolution list,  please do take a seat while I finish with it. Have some tea if you like.

clean flat weekly
update blog frequently

Wait a minute… Maybe you are surprised that I am back here at all? You are right, it has been quite a while, since… oh  my ears and whiskers, since 25th of October, that’s a loooong time indeed! Please accept my apologies for neglecting the place, and neglecting you. But, as you can see from the resolution list above, this shall happen no more in 2012. Ha ha.

Anyway, let’s go on with a long overdue festive entry: my Christmas and New Year menus, and The Tale of the Elusive Pear Belle Hélène.

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day.

The plan was to eat:

Christmas Eve —
mixed mushroom soup
saltimbocca alla romana
cream sherry trifle

Christmas Day —
smoked salmon salad with asian dressing
thruringian bratwurst with bratkartoffeln
lemon sorbet
pear Belle Hélène

But Circumstances decided otherwise. The trifle had to be prepared a day in advance: since I prepared it on Saturday (Christmas Eve), it would be ready for Sunday only. So the Pear Belle Hélène shifted to the Saturday Menu, while its companion sweet the Lemon Sorbet stayed on the Sunday Menu, because it had to spend a long time in the freezer as well, and there was no time left for that unless dinner was to be eaten at three in the morning.

Then Fate decided to thwart Circumstances’ efforts, and as the dinner went late and pear-making energy abandoned me, the trifle became an attractive option again. The practical upshot of which being, the pear went back to its originally scheduled place, on Sunday along with the sorbet.

Circumstances’ parting shot on Sunday came under the the guise of a full belly, which, short story even shorter, moved Pear Nibbling away to the next nearest festive meal, New Year’s Eve Dinner.

In pictures:

(click to enlarge)

Clockwise from top left:

  • Teh Mushroom soup. Very, very mushroomy indeed. The recipe comes from Pippa Cuthbert and Lindsay Cameron Wilson’s book Soup!, and if you like mushrooms, this is the way to proceed. It tastes very intensely of mushroom. Mushroom would be its middle name if it has a first and last one. (You can also spot a glass of schwarzriesling, which was too fruity for my taste at that point of the meal.)
  • Saltimbocca alla romana. An old favourite of mine, for reasons as unfathomable as my passion for osso bucco. I’ve been following this recipe [de].
  • Cream sherry trifle, from a lovely anthology of Hitchockian fare. The dishes in this book are all related somehow to the works and life of Alfred Hitchcock; the sherry trifle is mentioned in Rich and Strange.
  • Smoked salmon salad, siamese sauce. Taken from this page — a light starter is always welcome to start those heavy meals.
  • Thuringian sausage and panfried potatoes. A hearty meal, maybe unexpected for such an occasion, but who cares. The potatoes had bacon, onion and garlic, aubergine (not the best idea, but it was a leftover and had to be eaten), plus I scrambled two eggs on top at the end. Needless to say, this dish cancelled all the benefits of the starter’s lightness.
  • Lemon sorbet. An easy recipe [fr] with no need for an ice-cream maker, possibly too sweet for me, but really really lemony (so watch out if you have sensitive teeth). And no pears Belle Hélène: these will be served on New Year’s eve.

New Year’s Eve.

How to cook up a festive meal when you are bored to rummage in your cookbooks? Easily enough: recycle old recipes, and use mushrooms.

(click to enlarge)

  • Smoked salmon and North Sea shrimps salad. A simple variation on the Christmas Day starter, with lamb’s lettuce.
  • Yummy steaks with mushroom sauce (button mushrooms, shiitake and French horn mushroom, if you must know). In my universe, a mushroom sauce automatically bestows an air of earnest festivity to any dish. This one didn’t fail to maximise the tastiness-vs-cooking-trouble ratio. (If you don’t like multiple negatives: it means it was very tasty.)
  • Dessert? What about the pears Belle Hélène? Well, as you have guessed already, once more the delicate dessert had to be postponed. But on New Year’s Day, really, really this time, there will be pears Belle Hélène — even if I have to starve all day to whet my appetite!

This man knows what happened with the pears.


The new year slowly unfolds; days finally appear to have noticeably lengthened. There is a name for that moment, which I forgot, unfortunately. As I sit on my metaphorical porch pondering life, the universe, everything, memories of 2011 arise — friendships lost and found; life changing slowly but surely like patterns in a cloudy sky; roads I could have followed, doors I should have opened; worldwide significant events, too.

What does 2012 hold in store, I wonder?

And I tear up my draft of a resolution list.

See, I did get to make Pear Belle Hélène on New Year’s Day.

(Seriously, apologies for the long silence. Next time: last part of my adventurous adventures in the Far East.)

Pictures credits: me, except The Riddler: pinched from Batman wikia (don’t know who’s the artist).


About the quiet one

I ain't never ever had the gift of gab, but I can talk with my eyes. Words fail me, you won't nail me, my eyes can tell you lies. View all posts by the quiet one

5 responses to “A world in white gets underway

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