Last Painting of the Year …

Yesterday we went to the City of Bristol Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition, there was so much talent on display, it was stunning. One of the photos was of a line of trees of varying shades and sunlight shining through them. It inspired me to do this painting today – and it was lovely to paint again !


The Main Event …

The food at Christmas is a real highlight for me. I love repeating some recipes each year, to the extent that they become part of our family’s traditional Christmas. A great example of this is our Biscuit Tree :

This year, my 10 year old made our biscuit tree – he prepared the biscuit dough, baked the biscuits, iced the biscuits and built the tree, all with only a small amount of help from me. I was very proud of him, he did a superb job.

Another of our favourites is the Salted Caramel Tart that I first made last year, click here to see the post. Here is this year’s version:

I also like to try a few new recipes each year. To begin our Christmas meal, we had some delicious smoked salmon blinis, served with an anchovy and tarragon butter:

To follow we had the traditional roast turkey, served with roast potatoes, curried carrots and parsnips, my mum’s stuffing, pigs in blankets and the chutneys and pickles that I had made during the past few weeks. Sadly, I didn’t photograph the main course, but I did make the leftovers in to a kind of roulade/puff pastry meal on Boxing Day:

To follow our turkey, we had a choice between the Salted Caramel Tart and a Caramalised Clementine Pavlova :

All in all, it was a very tasty Christmas !!

Snapshots of Christmas …

It’s been a while since I last posted, a combination of Christmas preparations, work being full-on and a chest infection meant that free time has been in short supply over the past few weeks. Anyway, I hope you have all had a happy and healthy Christmas, here are a few shots of my Christmas, taken on Christmas morning, after present opening with my boys and before my parents and in-laws arrived :

Butterfly Maps …

Recently, I received an order for some personalised butterflies, using maps of favourite places. I decided to trial this by creating some artwork of places that mean a lot to me and my family :

Butterfly MapsIt’s quite hard to see on the photo but I’ve printed out maps of where we have lived as well as favourite holiday destinations. I’m really pleased with the end result and my boys love the places that I chose.


Beetroot Bombshell …

It’s been nearly a week since I last posted, it’s not been for a lack of things to blog about, it’s more like the opposite!

This Beetroot Chutney is something else that I’ve made in preparation for Christmas. The colour is beautiful, better than anything chemicals could produce and as it’s a chutney, it’ll last a long time too:

Beetroot ChutneyIncluded in this chutney are: beetroot; bramley apples; onions; raisins and ginger, it tastes divine.


Punjabi Pickle …

A couple of years ago, I made my parents and my in-laws food hampers for their Christmas presents. Each basket contained various pickles, chutneys, chocolate truffles together with wine and beer. Each week, on the monday from October, I would make something else to go in the hamper. If I had over catered, once the ‘proper’ jars and bottles had been filled, I would save that weeks’ produce for us to have on Christmas Day and beyond. I’ve decided to do something similar again this year, although not necessarily as presents.

Today, I made ‘Punjabi Pickle’ :

Punjabi PickleI used the recipe from this month’s ‘Delicious’ magazine. Not only were the spices used incredibly aromatic (crushed cardamon pods, star anise …), the combination of oranges, onions, chilli and ginger made the pickle a real tastebud tickler. I really look forward to trying this pickle with some turkey on December 25th.

Still to come this week: Beetroot Chutney and Cranberry & Clementine Marmalade…