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27 November 2017


i don't really have any christmas traditions anymore. i might have, when i was a kid and i still lived at home, but since moving to the uk, every christmas i've had has been different. this year though, i'll be staying home - totally my choice, mind, because i have been so damn busy this year that i really feel like a few days in my pjs, near my own bed, with no-one but the people i live with as company, will be the perfect way to spend the festive season. plus, i said i'd look after charley's cat ringo, so that'll get me out of the house once a day at the very least. i just don't want to be gallivanting around the country again this year, and i'm really looking forward to the time off.. and maybe making some new traditions of my own.

i have never even made my own christmas dinner. not totally by myself, anyway. bex and i tried to cook a roast a couple of christmases ago in the lake district, but we used so much garlic and salt in the beef that it just became an overpowering flavour that neither of us really enjoyed. before and after that, someone else has always taken the lead and made me prep cook, as i'm kind of a disaster in the kitchen usually. my sense of timing is whack; i throw it all in too soon, or too late, and it's just never "right". but this year, thanks to curry's pc world, aeg global, and the cookery school london, i now might be able to add something of my own this year.

i spent the afternoon in the cookery's fully-loaded kitchen a few weekends ago, learning how to make some christmas dishes that just might wow this year. first we started with a roast vegetable wellington, that took less than half an hour to prep and cook, and less than five minutes to eat. we filled filo pastry with layers of field mushrooms, aubergines, courgette, and roasted peppers, before cooking for about twenty minutes in the aeg kitchen. the ovens in that kitchen are so smart, and so forward thinking that they can literally cook anything you put in them, perfectly. the wellingtons came out lovely and crisp on the outside, yet perfectly roasted inside. soft and juicy veggies, crunchy and delicious pastry. over it we poured a red wine jus, which was basically red wine, balsamic and brown sugar, reduced down then a dollop of cold butter added last of all. bladdy delightful!

then we tried our hand at mince pies. i'm not a fan of these festive favourites usually, as sultanas and such are not my idea of a good time, but making them was pretty fun. especially when once the mince pie making was over, dinner was served. while we had been in the school, learning how to make the holiday starters and desserts (and drinking a shit load of prosecco, natch), the christmas elves had been playing with the super ovens and prepping us the most tasty roast i've had in a long time. the beef was so incredibly tender inside, yet on the outside was crisp, crunchy, and crackled in a way you don't expect beef to. honestly, the most incredibly smart machines make cooking something once seem so foreign to me, seem so bladdy easy.

once we'd finished eating we all piled into the fanciest coach i've ever been in, headed to the christmas season of taste of london. as per is my tradition when it comes to this iconic food festival, i spend weeks perusing the menus, see which traders are showing, and get my itinerary ready long in advance of the day. not this time. foolish girl! this time, we spent far too long trying to find the restaurants we wanted, and dodging the longest lines i've seen there yet, before we managed to get our fill of the festival's food. we basically got in and got out again this year, as the crowds were heaving when we arrived just after 7pm. 

some highlights included the action against hunger five star doughnuts, which were poached pear and ginger compote with basil icing, and maple flakes on top, and 100% delicious. also the bit of time spent talking with amazon fresh about their food waste scheme, and what they're doing about their packaging (a lot, apparently), made me very happy, and of course: the cheese samples. always the cheese samples. so all in all, it was a very christmassy day! i feel a bit more motivated to try my hand at something festive myself this year, and with the recipe to hand thanks to the cooking teachers, i'm going to at the very least think about trying to make it again.

*i was a guest of aeg's and curry's, but all thoughts are my own.

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