Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Season's Greetings & Christmas Specials

How are last minute preparations for Christmas coming along? Are you frantically baking and cooking or relaxing with your feet up while your parents put together the Christmas feast? Either ways, I'm sure you are all looking forward to Christmas celebs tomorrow.

The husband has pushed off to India and I had to stay back because of a hectic work schedule and Id be joining him only in Jan. I was all ready to have frozen pizza and get drunk on wine on 25th, when a friend invited me over to hers for Christmas. Since the entire transport system comes to a standstill on 25th I am heading to hers tonight, attend a midnight Christmas service at the church and ring in Christmas with friends tomorrow. I would have loved to be with family, but hey, I'm not complaining. Atleast I'm not having frozen pizza and watching Downton Abbey reruns in my Pj's.

Anyways, here's wishing all you guys a very Merry Christmas. Have a glass or two of wine on me and enjoy your day to the max. Leaving you with some fun Christmassy stuff ...

Oddka
I love my cocktails and am forever trying to recreate new ones at home, which means scouting the drinks aisle at the supermarket is a treat. I came across this vodka drink called ODDKA and was thoroughly amazed at the flavours on offer. Fresh cut grass.. seriously.. now that's a flavour I'm completely intrigued by. Other flavours include Electricity, Salty caramel popcorn, Twisted melon and Peach Bellini. As luck would have it, I was asked if I'd like to try some Christmas cocktails using ODDKA and how on earth could I say no? Since I'm home alone, I've not really made any cocktails as yet but if I have a girls night out around New Years, I'd definitely be trying out a few cocktails from the list ODDKA has put together. If you do want to try something different this Christmas, then head on over to the ODDKA website and give some of their cocktails a go. Your local Asda or Sainsburys should stock a few flavours of ODDKA.

Castello Cheese
I received this really adorable Christmas stocking, with my name on it and all, filled with Castello Cheese. I had big plans to make Ronnie Murray's Baked leek tart with Castello Jersey Blue and I even bought all the ingredients, but with crazy work schedules I had to put the cooking on hold. I shall definitely give it a go one of these days I'm home. The Castello range includes Creamy Blue, Creamy White, Traditional Danish Blue, Extra creamy Danish Blue, Pineapple Halo i (I made a macaron filling with the Pineapple cheese), and the latest addition just in time for Christmas is the Tickler Cheddar, with a sweet, strong and tangy taste. If you are doing a cheese platter for the parties, don't forget to include this one, its a winner. Pair it with a Rioja Gran Reserva 2001 or a an Italian Barolo wine.

Christmas food and drink matching
Pairing the right drink with the food you serve is really an art. I try hard to actually do this and mostly, because of lack of knowledge, I just do a theme and follow with drinks from the same cuisine. When you do a large spread like for Christmas, this becomes a bit of an issue, especially when you have invited people with different tastes. To make matters easy for people like me, Waitrose has teamed up with wine lover Philip Schofield and wine connoisseur Olly Smith to develop a food and wine matching guide to get the combinations right. The infographic gives you a basic knowledge of pairings which would help you manage your Christmas meal pretty easily. I am sooo going to keep this for future references. There are also some great videos here for some festive inspiration

Parmigiano Reggiano Christmas Cook-off
Parmigiano Reggiano (PR) is one cheese I regularly use in cooking- in souffl├ęs, bakes, dips and just to grate atop pasta. I was recently invited to a Parmigiano Reggiano Christmas Cookalong organised by the Consorzio del Formaggio and lead by top chef Valentina Harris. We started off the evening tasting some amazing starters like dates filled with PR and wrapped in Parma Ham, PR lollipops with sesame seeds and chilli (an absolute favourite) and a 30 month matured PR with balsamic vinegar. We were then split into two teams and set about creating our meal for the night- Venetian duck stuffed with a PR mix, Fennel topped PR and Rosotto PR. It was my first time cooking with duck, and although not really a favourite, I quite enjoyed the whole cooking experience. Highlight of the evening, however, was cracking open a 45kg PR wheel which we all got to taste, after which we all sat down to a fabulous meal. After an evening of like minded food enthusiasts and after gaining such indepth knowledge about PR, I cant wait to cook with the cheese. For more information and recipes check out the website

With thanks to all the brands for inviting me to their events and for review samples.

2 comments:

Sona - quick picks/pick quicks said...

belated Merry Christmas to you too.

MonuTeena RecipesPassion said...

Belated Merry christmas from my side too :) Hope you had a lot of fun ;)