Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Is it cold where you are? Are you hungry? Do you have a small mountain of French cheese in your fridge?

You DO!?

Excellent. You should make a tartiflette for dinner then. You should probably eat it with little gerkins and balsamic caramelised onions and a crisp apple cider.

A tartiflette appears to be a dish of fried potatoes, pig bits and Reblochon cheese, but since the cheese choice is apparently the result of a trade union attempting to increase market share I think you can (and I did) use whatever delicious melty type cheese you have available. Except that mozzarella that you use for pizzas. Ew. Please don't put rubber cheese on this. Do that much for me.

Tonight's tartiflette was brought to you by Diana Henry's Roast Fig, Sugar Snow: Food to Warm the Soul. It also provided the recipe for our Christmas Goose (six kilos of bird with a brandied fig, chestnut and cranberry stuffing). It's a cold weather book that ought to be read under a blanket, preferably beside a fire.

This fed two of us with a bit leftover which we will nibble on for lunch...

1lb or baby potatoes, boiled til just tender then cooled and sliced

4oz of smoked bacon, cut in bigger than normal chunks (about four rashers- I know it was four ounces because I weighed it) (nerd)
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 sage leaves, roughly torn

2 big dollops of Crème fraiche (you could probably omit this if you live in a sad place without it - or you could make your own!)
Half a camembert (or 4 ounces of melty cheese of your choice)

Turn the oven to about 190.

Fry the sliced potatoes until golden, season, then set aside in an oven proof pan.

In your potato pan melt a dollop of butter and fry your bacon until nicely coloured. Turn down the heat, add your onion and cook til just colouring. Add the garlic and sage and stir for a moment or two. Fold the bacon mixture gently into the golden potatoes.

Dollop the creme fraiche strategically on top, then lovingly place slices of your cheese over the potatoes. Pop in the oven til the cheese is melty and delicious- this may happen quickly so keep an eye on it!

Take it out and eat!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


C & I ate Kraft Dinner for dinner last night. No joke. We had two boxes, we made them and then ate them out of bowls while watching Mad Men. It was one of those nights.

But it made me think that C&C hasn't gotten any love lately. It's not that we haven't been cooking. We have. Killer marsala omelettes. Apple dishes galore. Lots. But we haven't been photographing anything and we've been eating everything before we get a chance to type up its story.

What I'm saying is, things have been busy. And will probably continue to be busy for some time. So we'll be back later. In the meantime if you need us, email.

We'll get back to you shortly.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lemon Zucchini Pizza

I've been making the same pizza dough recipe for eons. When I still lived at my parents I watched Mario Batali on his show Molto Mario and he made pizza dough and I took it to heart, made it, loved it and made it my own.

But I've recently been given Jamie Oliver's Italy and I decided to go crazy and follow Jamie's pizza dough recipe to a T. Except I halved it.

I followed Smitten Kitten's inspiration for the lemon-zucchini topping (adding some roasted garlic to the goats cheese) and voila- lunch!

The new dough was fabulous, crispy edges, nice bite. I love the addition of semolina to the regular white flour. A winner. Jamie's pizza dough FTW!

12 oz. white flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt

Just over a cup of warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 oz yeast

Combine the first three ingredients in your main bowl. Combine the last three ingredients, stir and let sit and watch the magical bubbles of yeast.

Make a well in the center of your flour and add the yeasty water. Start mixing with a fork. When it gets too difficult, get your hands in and mix and pull and knead the dough to a soft spring warm ball of luscious smelly dough. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, covered on the counter.

Split the dough in two and roll out each pizza. Let sit for another 15 minutes, add your toppings and bake it in a ferociously hot oven on a fancy pizza stone for about ten minutes.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Adam's BBQ

Adam had a BBQ last weekend. I stressed about what to bring. I mean, we don't get to BBQ that often, so it had to be good. But it also had to be eatable with a bunch of strange people in a backyard, so I couldn't exactly go get steaks or do burnt aubergine.

So I made kebabs. Fancy ones. With rosemary sticks from the balcony. I've always wanted to do that. They look fancy and automatically special and the frangrance of the roasted rosemary was gorgeous.

Rump steak cubed and marinated in lemon zest, garlic, sage and olive oil.



We ate them in pita bread with salt and pepper chips and beer. A proper BBQ.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Mushrooms on Toast

I'm in love with Skye Gyngell. If I ever meet her I'm sure I'll be flustered and stuttering like a tween at a Twilight movie event when Robert goes through the crowd and like, totally, almost touches my hand. (For the record I thought Twilight was crap.)

Anyways. Focusing. Skye. A Year in my Kitchen. Everything I've made has been beautiful and a perfect seasonal expression of love and the Way Things Ought To Be.

We ate this back in March. Her recipe is called Morels on Toast. Mine is called Mushrooms on Toast, because I didn't get morels. We're in a recession here people!

Mushrooms, crème fraîche, lemon, mustard and parsley on chewy garlic rubbed bread. Delicious.

I love this book. Seriously. Broad beans with mint, ricotta and crisp Parma ham. Crab salad with nam jim. Pan fried salmon with wild garlic (which spawned a short obsession as we ate wild garlic leaves with everything for awhile). Mackerel fillets with roasted tomatoes and horseradish cream (C's new favourite way to eat his favourite fish). Lobster curry with tamarind, roasted coconut, ginger and coriander (made with still expensive monkfish).Baked aubergines with tomatoes, tarragon and crème fraîche. All love.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Italian Duck with Fennel Risotto

We ate this some time ago. It was rather lovely, subtle fennel permeating throughout. If I could remember exactly how I'd prepared it we might try it again.

Hm. Must remember to write things down with more detail...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday Supper Strawberry Shortcake

C indulges me. In alot of things.

So when I said I wanted to make strawberry shortcake with the strawberries he merely nodded and went about his business, as I expected him to do. BUT. He didn't know what to expect. The Strawberry Shortcake that he knew was the one his sister played with and who is trademarked by Hallmark.

So he was rather pleased when I put this before him for dinner on Saturday night.

Simple, light and airy cakes (thin ones- I don't like them thick) still slightly warm from the oven. Sliced strawberries with a touch of vanilla sugar and a drop or two of balsamic vinegar. And ice cream. Not whipped cream. Ice cream.

Summer on a plate.

And yes, it was dinner. We're the grown ups now. We make our own rules.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You are what you eat

If you opened your fridge to a stranger, what would it say about you?

Mine would say that I'm an alcoholic with penchant for cheese and random things in old Bonne Maman jars.

Photographer Mark Menjivar did an entire series on the premise. Find them here under Portfolio you are what you eat.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tart Tart Pie

When C & I moved to London 18 months ago, we left a lot of stuff behind. Books, sofas, daleks. But most importantly, kitchen stuff. We gave away, made friends take and sent to storage all manner of kitchen necessities that we had acquired while living in Toronto. Not that we came with nothing. Oh no. C & MM laughed, pointed and ridiculed me for the random things I insisted that we bring. One cooling rack (also serves as a trivet!), one decent knife (can't chop an onion with a Swiss Army knife), Riedel O wine glasses (I heart them- thanks Ebot/Gnomily!), et al. I'm so pleased I dragged it all here. Nothing has gone to waste.

Anyways, we've since started to repopulate our kitchen with even lovelier things, but I've been lacking certain baking implements, namely a pie plate and tart tin. I don't know why it's been so difficult to locate a pie plate. I thought England invented pie? Isn't it a traditional end to a roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and gravy dinner? Shouldn't there be a pie shop on every corner? And tart tins? The ones with removal bases? Why can't I find them everywhere?

Sigh. I finally tracked both pieces of kitchen love down in a lovely kitchen store called Gill Wing in Angel. I should, perhaps specify that I tracked down appropriate versions. There were others but they weren't quite what I wanted. If you're going to bake love you need to have love bakeware. Right?

So! First off I made C's favorite - apple pie. It tasted great. It looked … well, the pie plate looked great. But sadly we ate the whole thing too fast for a photo. And really, do you need a recipe or photo for an average apple pie? I didn't think so.

However! The next week I decided to inaugurate the Tart Tin with the Chez Panisse Almond Tart care of David Leibovitz. I've wanted to make this since David posted it on his blog. But I've never owned a Tart Tin with a removal base. But now I do. And life just got that much better.

Here it is.

Isn't it beautiful? It wasn't perfect, I'm no pastry chef (YET!) but it was delicious and satisfying to make. I will definitely be making it again.

This week I decided to go with a more traditional crust and tart. A Pear and Frangipane Tart. The crust and I were having some difficulties so I tore it up and flung part of it on the table, which then splattered across the room. After a certain amount of swearing, fridge time and patience (and more swearing) the crust came together. Not quite as beautifully as I'd hoped (you mean second time STILL doesn't make me a pastry chef?) but delicious nonetheless.

They are so satisfying to make! So very homey but elegant and accomplished at the same time. Now I need further inspiration. Which are the most delicious, loveliest tarts? Which should I make next? Suggestions? Requests?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


From the Ethicurean:

Edible San Francisco contains this anonymous quotation: “Despite its artistic pretensions and its many accomplishments, humankind owes its existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”

Sunday, June 07, 2009

One kilo of chorizo and monkfish

On a lovely Sunday, after the flower market and a walk through Victoria Park, I went to the butcher. Not just the butcher, the Ginger Pig Butcher. A place where I feel 100% comfortable buying (and eating) meat that is love, beautifully packaged and lovingly tended. I was going to buy a chicken to roast, maybe some bacon rashers and that was about it. But, it being Sunday and they being closed Monday, they were having a sale. A sausage sale. A kilo of sausage for £6.50. Now, I love chorizo. And I love a good deal. And really, I'd be losing money by not buying the kilo of sausage.

So I bought my chicken. And a kilo of chorizo.

I am the type of shopper who normally buys just what I need. I think the most chorizo I've ever purchased was three solitary sausages. Now I lugged home a kilo- which, for your information, is about 12. A dozen chorizo sausages all for myself. I was giddy with delight.

Thank god we have a freezer.

While C has been away I've not been cooking, or eating terribly well. Lentils and rice most night, supplemented by copious bowls of oatmeal (until I ran out of oats and was too lazy to go to the store and buy more). So at the market the day before I had decided to treat myself and buy a chunk of monkfish for my dinner.

Monkfish & Chorizo for One

1 onion, sliced in half moons and lovingly caramelised
1 chorizo, chopped into chunks
1 piece of monkfish for one

Once the onion was brown and ever so soft, I threw the chorizo chunks in the pan and let them brown, oozing out spicy sausage juice. Then the monkfish, cooked to perfection in the chorizo oil, then served on a bed of salad greens with the chorizo and onion on top.

Hardly even a recipe but so good.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A lunch to take pride in

I just had one of those meals where you sit down at the table and look at the plate before you and feel incredibly pleased with yourself.

It wasn't anything particularly special. Just a plate thrown together. Herb salad from the pots on the balcony, toasted nuts from the jar in the cupboard, a dollop of muhammara (my condiment du jour), some bread and grilled halloumi.

But the inspired combination and prettiness of everything on my plate brought me great pleasure.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ottolenghi for Lunch

Have I mentioned my love of Ottolenghi? I'm sure I have. I'm slowly introducing all my London friends to its wonders, either my dragging them to the Belgravia branch for lunch or to Islington for brunch or experimenting on them at home.

I love the cookbook. Heart it. It makes me feel confident and everything I have made EVERYTHING has turned out beautifully and made me feel like a competent, even fantastic chef.

This was Sunday lunch a month or so ago. Beef & lamb meatballs baked in tahini and covered with parsley and lemon zest.
Kosheri. I've made this numerous times since. It's rice, lentils & vermicelli noodles with caramelised onions, cinnamon and a spicy tomato sauce. It makes mountains and is one of my favourite things to eat for lunch.

Roasted aubergine, pomegranate seeds and basil with saffron yogurt sauce. Surprisingly simple and so lovely. I love saffron and whenever I use it the dish feels just a little bit special.

I've made about 30 items from the cookbook so far. It is love.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


One of the things I love about living in London is that sea salt is just sea salt and is cheap enough that it isn't a special item, to be used sparingly. It's just salt.

When my mom visited me in Toronto a few years ago we found Malden Sea Salt at the St Lawrence Market. It was stupidly expensive but mom bought us both a box and I used it (thriftily) and thought it very special. Fast forward to Tesco and it's cheap! Love it.

Incidentally the website is actually really interesting. Check it out.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Chickpea Fries

So, I think my photographer is on strike.

It's not like I haven't been cooking. It's not like some of the meals weren't beautifully plated on my sage green dishes from Vintage Heaven. They weren't all beautiful, to be sure, but surely some of them were? Surely.

Sigh. Guess not.

In light of that I have a few options. Let the blog languish until the walkout ends, renegotiate the terms and conditions or slog on without photos.

No photos it is.

So. Chickpea fries. So odd. I first saw them here and thought I can make those. But the recipe isn't exactly clear. Water. Chickpea flour. 2-1. But if you read the notes it's not clear which is the 2 and which is the 1. It could work either way. It could flop either way. So which way is it? Not sure so I made both.

And it turns out C liked them both. In fact, I rather think he liked the 'wrong' ones best.

Experiment I

1 cup water
1/2 cup chickpea flour

Whisk together. Add some ground pepper, salt and olive oil. Cook, stirring constantly until the dough turns into a ball. Remove from heat and punch out on plate so that it's relatively flat. Chill. Realise that this looks nothing like the custard promised in Bittman's recipe. Refuse to be defeated, or throw something out. Continue with recipe. Cut into frie-like sticks and pan fry. Sprinkle with salt and eat as a snack whilst C prepares thai fishcakes (excellent).

Experiment II

Make dip: one finely chopped onion and 8 cloves of garlic, gently cooked in olive oil over low low lowest of low heat until golden and fragrant. Squish and mix with salt and pepper into Greek Yogurt. Set aside.

1 cup chickpea flour
2 cups water

Whisk til smooth. Add pepper, salt and a glug of olive oil. Turn heat on low and mix like crazy with a spoon (not a whisk it will get glumpy. Glumpy is the technical term. Look it up.) until the batter is the consistency of thick pancake batter. Pour it quickly into your cooling pan (I used a roasting pan with baking paper in it) and leave it to cool and firm up in the fridge. An hour or so later, take it out, cut into shapes (If I'd had cookie cutters I'd have used them here) and fry in olive oil until goldeny- burnt. Eat with prepared dip.

Experiement I was dry and almost cracker like. Experiment II was definitely what Bittman had in mind- custardy inside- and quite delicious. C liked both but my clear favorite was II. Will definitely make these again. Especially as I have more chickpea flour and not many more uses for it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Apple Weakness

If you wanted to catch a Design Monkey named C the best way to do it would be to combine apples and cinnamon. Bake these in the oven with a crumble top and he will walk right into your trap.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Fried Chickpeas & Sage

Fried Chickpeas with fresh sageThis was a Chowhound recipe that arrived in my inbox and that sat there for a long time until some random Saturday when we needed a snack.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Chorizo & Cannellini Bean Crostini

You know the roasted red pepper and cannellini bean crostini I made? I had left over lemony bean paste. So I fried up some chorizo and made chorizo and cannellini bean crostini with rocket for lunch.

I was impressed.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tickle(me)more with Drunken Lentils

Lentils with Ticklemore Cheese
Is fennel in season right now? I know the first rhubarb is showing up. But I don't know if fennel is particularly in season and that's why it's been on my mind or if it's something else...

I cooked the Puy lentils in my usual manner but instead of a glug or so of wine my hand slipped (and there was more in the bottle than I thought) and I poured in about a half a cup- hence the drunken lentils. Atop the boozy legumes was a bulb of roasted fennel with parmesan cheese and Ticklemore cheesefrom Broadway Market. Simple and lovely dinner for a Thursday night.

Drunken Lentils

One onion, chopped
A shallot or two, chopped
Two cloves of garlic, chopped

Herbs (either a bushy spring of rosemary or a few twigs of thyme)- sometimes destemed and chopped, other times lazily thrown in in one piece)

About a half cup or so of red wine (or white if you were going with thyme)

One cup of rinsed Puy lentils

Fry the onion, shallot and garlic until they start to colour and begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the herbs and then deglaze with the wine. Add the rinsed shallots and two cups of stock/water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes until tender.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper & Cannellini Crostini

Roasted red pepper and cannellini crostini from Ottolenghi
Oh god. The title isn't long enough to describe what we had for dinner. It should read 'roasted & marinated red pepper and garlic with lemony cannellini bean paste crostini'. Even that doesn't really begin to explain to you how good dinner was.

The recipe is, again, from Ottolenghi. I am cooking my way through this book. As should you. Everything I have made has been stellar. And distinctive. There is a definitive style to their cooking but it really works with where I've been wanting to take my own cooking. (Think Claudia Roden, Crazy Water, Pickled Lemon, Moro)

So. Go buy the book. Then marinate your roasted red peppers in balsamic vinegar, thyme, sugar and olive oil. Puree some freshly cooked cannellini beans with lemon, garlic, olive oil and plenty of salt. Top with green onions.

Eat and rejoice that food is so damn good.

Demi Gourgeres

When I was a kid I made choux pastry with my mom and we filled them with all manner of lovely sweet things - custard, whipping cream, chocolate mousse, et al. It seems to me now that I loved making them then because they were cute, delicious and infinitely moreish.

So when David Lebovitz made a savory version called gourgeres for a post New Years Eve drinks partay at his (no doubt lovely and welcoming) flat in Paris, I was besotted and decided that I had to make them. I had forgotten how much I liked making choux pastry. (It's very satisfying for some reason.)

Anyways, I was not having a partay (maybe I should have - anyone want to do a wine and gourgeres evening in East London? call me!)and, there being only two of us, I made half his recipe. Which was relatively easy to do, measurement wise. David's makes 30. SO, mine should have made 15. Right? Right.

Except in my tired brain I thought - half the amount of ingredients. Should make them half the size. Which made topping them with extra cheese slightly more difficult! But they were delicious all the same and we ate them all.

London Food Favorites

top ten list of four

I appreciate when food bloggers have a top ten list, or a list of favorites. I regularly check when I'm looking for dining out inspiration. So here is my list of London favorites. These are the places we go to again and again, the places I want to take friends when they come to visit Leah-London.

There's only four of the top of my head. But I expect the list will grow. But these five are solid.

1. Arancina - Italian in Bayswater. Owned by the friend of a friend they have fabulous everything. But my absolute favorite, must-have every time we go is their escargot in a tomato-fennel-pernod sauce. Amazing delicious and so unique.

2. Prince Arthur - Just north of London Fields. This is our local, that takes us a twenty minutes walk, past five other completely suitable pubs. But this one is lovely and warm with great food- green olives with mint, basil and lemon; deep fried jam sandwich with clotted cream ice cream; oysters; great chips. Love on a Sunday.

3. Ottolenghi - Is there nothing they can't do? I've got the cookbook and everything I've made has been brilliant. Their brunch/lunch menu continually surprises and delights me - and even though getting a table at the Islington branch is a bit mad, I heart them.

4. Tayyabs - Tucked behind a mosque and a synagogue just off of Whitechapel, Tayyabs is crazy busy. Ridiculously long cues that wind through the restaurant, an element of chaos. Fluffly naan, killer lamb chops, amazing lassi. Bring your own booze. Super.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Livestock's Long Shadow

Long ago I signed up to some weekly newsletter for some random farmer's market in California. I like the sidebar that tells me what's newly in season every week.

This week there was the following article, which I want everyone to read it.

Mark Bittman's "less-meat-atarianism" 101

Editor's note: At CUESA we believe that local meat from humanely raised, pasture-based animals is a sustainable choice. By expanding our awareness of just how many resources go into a single piece of meat, we are more likely to make conscious choices and to appreciate more fully the meat we do eat.

Mark Bittman wants you to eat less meat. In his typically disarming way, The Minimalist — as he's referred to in his New York Times column, as well as online, where he writes a blog and appears in short cooking videos — will dish it to you straight.

At a recent appearance at the Ferry Building’s Book Passage, while promoting his new book Food Matters, Bittman told a room full of fans: “You can’t be an environmentalist unless you care about how much meat you eat.”

Bittman is well known for his books How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Food Matters expands on his idea that “if you buy your own food and cook your own food, you tend to put much better things in your mouth than if you don’t.” Thanks in part to a realization he had after reading the UN report called Livestock’s Long Shadow, and to his decision to tackle some of his own health issues head on, The Minimalist is now advocating an even larger shift. In the vein of Michael Pollan's now well-known creed, "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants," Bittman has the potential to reach a broad audience of home cooks who may have not read Pollan's books or seriously consider their food choices from a sustainability perspective.

Here’s how Bittman breaks it down: industrial livestock production accounts for 18% (1/5) of the greenhouses gases currently being emitted and ranks above transportation as a contributing factor to climate change.

The average American eats a half pound of meat a day, which accounts for 1/6 of the world’s livestock consumption. As the developing world begins to eat more meat and countries such as China take on behavior similar to ours, the projected global demand for meat will be 120 billion animals a year (or twice what we currently consume) by 2050.

“I know statistics are numbing," says Bittman, "and these numbers may seem like no big deal, until you consider that it takes 70% of all the available farmland in the world to produce the meat we’re eating now – whether it's land the actual livestock take up, or it’s being used to grow the corn and soy that feed livestock.” And, he points out, if demand does go up to 120 billion animals, you’d need an impossible 140% of the world's arable land.

“The land just isn’t there,” says the chef-turned-environmental-advocate, adding that meat production can’t get any more efficient (“and the efficiency we’re experiencing now comes at the expense of animals’ well-being"). Bittman also makes a comparison to Americans' dependence on fossil fuels. “The resources aren’t there in order to grow unless people change their behavior. So we have to — for lack of a better word — conserve.”

Bittman himself now eats a vegan, whole grain-based diet for the first two meals of the day and allows himself to eat "whatever he wants" for the third. In other words, the recipes in Food Matters are the direct product of his own at-home experiments. The book is also full of concrete suggestions as to how to accommodate a more plant-based diet. He recommends making a frittata, for instance with a much a higher ratio of vegetables to eggs than average. Or a spaghetti sauce “spiked” with a little meat for flavor, but loaded with vegetables. He also encourages his readers to get to know a few delicious ways to prepare beans and other legumes, so as to incorporate them into weekly meal planning in place of some meat-based dishes. See Bittman’s whole grain granola recipe here.

Most importantly, Bittman is asking his audience to think incrementally, and to start where they’re comfortable. “If we ate nine billion animals in the US next year instead of 10 billion, that’s still a significant change,” he says. As for his own love of meat, Bittman says: “I’ll never stop eating animals, but it is time we stopped raising them industrially and stopped eating them thoughtlessly.”

Made Bittman's granola. Also try Nigella's Andy's Granola. It is the best, but a bit more work.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Leah's Sweet Potato Gratin

Awhile ago I made the Sweet Potato Gratin from Ottolenghi. It was great. A definite 'make again'. So I was at home myself the other night with a lone sweet potato and I thought I'd make that for dinner.

Only I improved it.

I started it off the same way, roasting in the oven with tin foil. But for the second step I fried up some bacon and sauteed some mushrooms and garlic which I added to the cream that gets poured over the sweet potatoes for the second step. So you've got creamy sweet potato goodness with garlicy mushrooms and bacon.


I love that the Ottolenghi recipes are so approachable and yet once I've made them the first time I have the confidence to play with them. And that is fantastically fun cooking!


I've always been somewhat disturbed by mortadella. Despite its Italian roots (which would imply it is most likely delicious), I can't help but feel like it's unnatural, chemical-laden and that it's essentially the European equivalent of baloney. I realize that's probably a controversial statement, but then a friend delivers this into our hands:

Creepy bear-shaped mortadella? Yeah, I think my point is valid.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Not Turkey

My mother makes a fantastic Christmas spread every year. The menu is utterly dependable (much to her chagrin) and always delicious. It's also her thing, and her tradition (albeit for us). It is sadly not appropriate for two people celebrating Christmas far from their families in eerily quiet London. I can't do Christmas like my mom does- and I don't think I should try. But she does have a reputation for fantastically fabulous New Years Eve meals. So in the spirit of that, I made Christmas dinner for C and I.

And. It. Was. AWESOME.

Not particularly difficult (I think it took me an hour to make, which was good as it was 10:00 pm before we had called everyone and were ready to start dinner), not a decadent, heaping amount of food. Lovely beautiful flavours that sang. Quite possibly one of the best meals I've ever made.

Roasted red peppers.

Balsamic braised shallots.

Crispy potatoes.

Balsamic braised shallots and crispy potatoes

Lemon mustard aioli.

And a gorgeously tender, succulent beef tenderloin.

Beef tenderloin

Oh god. And a special bottle of Cote du Rhone.

Christmas dinner