Monday, 24 December 2012

The night before Christmas

In the nick of time the tree was dressed. Nothing as elegant as the spiders webs. Decorations brought down from the loft adorn her. We hung every single one. No matter that she was smaller than me... Dressed to the nines...a little overdressed if truth be told...But  bright and sparkly and jolly and kitsch. 

In contrast, the  Amaryllis has put on an elegant show just in time for Christmas eve... within half a day creamy white petals unfurled...and she bloomed...

Quick snacks with a few cheats,  kept up energy on a busy day:

Baked mushrooms with goats cheese and caramelised onion chutney:

  • One large flat mushroom per person, Portobello are perfect.
  • Soft goats cheese
  • Fresh garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Crushed black pepper
  • Caramelised red onion jam/marmalade if like me you cheated or one small red onion.
  1. Preheat the oven to about 220c
  2. Remove the mushroom stalks and place the mushrooms in an oven proof dish oiled with a little olive oil. 
  3. Chop up the stalks finely and place in the hollows in top of the mushroom. 
  4. Peel and crush some garlic. I use one clove per person. Add that to the top of the mushroom and then give a good drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Top with a generous slice of cheese, about an inch/2cm thick and a little more olive oil and a good twist of pepper.
  6. Place into the oven and bake until the mushrooms are tender and the cheese is beginning to oozy...mmm...
  7. Meanwhile if not using store bought chutney, peel and slice the onions finely and fry in a saucepan with a little olive oil until soft and naturally, sweetly caramelised.
  8. Remove the mushroom and serve with a big spoonful of the caramelised onion. Lovely with some salad leaves.

and Simple supper of...

Teriyaki salmon, rice noodles and steamed vegetables.

  • One salmon steak per person (sustainably sourced)
  • Fresh rice noodles
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Soy or Tamari sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Fresh vegetables...pack choy, baby sweetcorn, green beans, mange tout
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh or dried chillies
  • A couple of chopped spring onions/scallions
  • Oil for cooking 
  • A little sesame oil for seasoning
  1. Preheat the oven to a moderated temperature.
  2. Wash the salmon and place in an oven proof dish. Pour over some of the Teriyaki sauce and ensure the fish is well coated, turning a few times making sure that it is skin side up on the last turn.
  3. Put into the oven to bake. 
  4.  Prepare the vegetables whilst the salmon is baking. This will take about fifteen to twenty minutes depending on the size of the steak. Check half way through cooking time and turn them over, basting in the sauce, that will be reducing.
  5. Boil a kettle of water and have saucepan ready  with a steaming basket or colander to hand.
  6. Pour the boiling water until about a third full into the the pan on the hob. Place the vegetables in the steamer and steam for about five minutes. Be careful not to overcook them. They should have some crunch to them.
  7. Place a wok onto the hob and warm up a little oil. Add a couple of crushed garlic cloves, some chillie and the spring onions.  Quickly cook them being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the fresh noodles and heat them through, adding a little fish sauce to season and hot water if necessary just enough to moisten them mix in all the flavourful ingredients and a dash of soy sauce to season further if you like.
  8. Put a nest of noodles on each plate and top with a salmon steak, serving with the vegetables. 

I think we're just about ready...just a couple more parcels to wrap...

Hope you have a happy Christmas eve....a perfect one...
merry merry...


  1. Merry Christmas, Debby! Sometimes unstated is just not good enough for a tree.

    1. I totally agree...thanks Heather.

      Merry merry and a happy new year

  2. Merry Christmas! Lovely flower :) And now I'm a little hungry...

    1. Thank you Karen. I know it's a bit triffid like!

      Have an amazing new year.

  3. Your Christmas tree looks lovely, all bright and cheerful. And the mushroom and goat's cheese dish I shall be making as soon as I can get hands on the ingredients. Hope you had a good Christmas and I wish you a very Happy New Year.

    1. Thanks Choclette.

      The same to you. I hope it's the best one yet for you and yours.