Thursday 5 January 2012

New Year Weekend Catch Up and Retro Comfort Food Recipes

New Year Weekend began with Friday afternoon jigsaw puzzle marathon with friends in London...only 4,000 more pieces to go! Take-away supper followed by Game of Thrones-viewing-fest until the early hours. 

Sneaking out with 'A' next morning for toasted Panettone and coffee in a little Italian cafe that has a great atmosphere, helped by being almost totally occupied by the local cycling club in full regalia. They looked like a scene out of Belleville Rendez-Vous.  I so wished I'd had my camera with me but I'd accidentally left it at our friends and didn't want to go back and wake them up...Hence the lack of photo's in this post. Oh and if you haven't tried toasted should, it's deliciously light and fruity...highly recommended.

Onwards South, to meet family in Sussex for a scrumptious lunch of Coq au Vin, creamy mashed potatoes, steamed carrots and kale followed by the lightest fruit crumble ever. Mmm...yummy retro comfort food made by my sis, thank you so much B. Followed by exchanging belated Christmas gifts. 

We accepted a New Years Eve invitation to a party held in the cutest house that I think is too grand to be called a cottage. It looks like something out of Country Living, all beams and crooked ceilings and tiny wooden doorways. Once more wishing I had my 'left-behind' camera with me! I did just manage to take two fuzzy outside photo's with a borrowed digital camera. Our contribution was A's famous pizzas which we made on the spot...I acted as his Sous Chef. Fantastic hospitality, great food, home made bread and flowing alcohol or elderflower cordial followed by delicious Jamie Oliver Plum and Almond Tart that has a lovely frangipane filling, and lots of coffee. Quick inspection of  massive telescope in newly built garden conservatory that takes amazing photographs of the heavenly bodies (you should have seen the rings on Saturn) before finally 'seeing-in' the new year with a toast accompanied by Big Ben and fireworks on television, then 
Auld lang Syne with a bit of the family and friends...some new...others part of our lives forever.

Lazy Sunday in Bucks Green with more delicious  food, a little more work on the family tree, scrabble playing and film watching including lovely unusual film The Darjeeling Company and Requiem For A Dream.  Diverse films with great audio tracks that were equally diverse.

image via

Full circle Bank Holiday Monday to meet up with friend for lunch in London and retrieve my camera. Back home Monday evening to start the new year after the mildest Christmas in yonks!

It was really good to manage to catch up with so many lovely people in such a short space of time... are some of the recipes...

Becky's Retro Coq Au Vin Recipe

Ingredients for six people:
  • Chicken portions for six people. She used two chicken thighs per person as they are lovely and moist
  • A bag of shallots...about 2-3 per person, peeled and left whole
  • A small punnet of button mushrooms
  • A couple of slices of streaky bacon cut into small pieces (optional if you don't eat red meat)
  • French beans
  • A couple of glasses of red wine
  • A bouquet garnet, or herbs eg. parsley and thyme
  • Half a litre of vegetable or chicken stock
  • Butter or olive oil
  • Seasoning

  1. Heat the oil or butter in an oven proof dish on the hob of the...cast ones are great for this.
  2. Brown the bacon and the shallots.
  3. Remove from the pan and leave to one side.
  4. Brown the chicken. 
  5. Return the other ingredients to the pan.
  6. Add everything else.
  7. Cover and cook in a moderate oven (170-180f)for about 45minutes to an hour until the chicken is tender.
  8. Add the green beans in the last ten minutes.
This is delicious served with mashed potatoes and greens.

Becky's Fruit Crumble Recipe


  • 4oz of Self Raising Flour
  • 4oz of butter or margerine
  • About 2oz of brown sugar
  • A couple of handfuls of granola.  Becky used Dorset Cereals Honey Granola that has a combination of: oats, sunflower seeds, flaked almonds, rye flakes, pecan nuts and pumpkin seeds that are baked in grapeseed oil fruit of vanilla.
  • Two packets of frozen autumn fruits 

  1. Place the flour in a baking bowl and rub in the butter with fingertips until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
  2. Stir in the sugar and granola.
  3. Place the frozen fruit into an oven proof dish and cover with the crumble, heaping in a dome shape on the top.
  4. Bake for about half an hour in a moderate oven 170-180c until the dish is piping hot and the crumble golden brown.  Lovely served with yoghurt, Cornish ice-cream or custard.

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