Christmas 2021 is over! It was nice, lovely even. Certainly much better than last year. We were able to have the whole family round at our new house and enjoy being together.
Ignacio bought a large turkey, which my sister cooked for us. It was delicious.
There was inevitably a great deal of turkey left which I did not want to waste. When I lived at home as a child, Mummy would take the turkey leftovers and make them into a delicious tomato pepper stew which we would eat with rice during the rest of the Christmas holidays. It was always one of the best things about Christmas when I was younger. I think this year I was trying to recreate that feeling and explore new recipes. After tidying the house, cleaning and washing up from the previous days festivities, I logged onto the internet, found a recipe for turkey currry that looked interesting and for which I had most of the ingredients. I did have to make a quick trip to Tesco to get a tub of yoghurt and a squeezy bottle of honey. The curry was fairly easy to make and so tasty. It was so tasty.
I also wanted to use up the turkey trimmings so I thought it would go nicely in a bubbleandsqueak-esque combination. I made up some mashed potatoes, mixed with the trimmings and fried up the whole lot.
It was a great Boxing Day meal.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic
A thumb of ginger
1 tablespoon garam massala
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons honey
250g Leftover, cooked turkey (ideally, a combination of white and dark meat)
200ml Chicken or turkey stock
400ml natural yoghurt
A handful of coriander
Heat the oil in a large pan over a low heat, and add the sliced onions. Cook until the onions are soft and golden. Grate in the garlic and ginger using a fine grater (a microplane here is very effective), and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the garam massala, ground cardamom, black pepper and the chilli powder, stirring through the onion mixture and cooking for two minutes more. Stir the honey through the mix.
Spoon in the cooked turkey, add the stock and bring up to a simmer. Leave to gently simmer until the stock has reduced by half.
Add the spinach: this won’t all want to go into the pan initially, but will quickly wilt and reduce in volume.
Turn the heat right down and add the yoghurt. You want to heat the yoghurt through, but if it boils, it will split (don’t panic if it does split; it’ll look odd, but still taste delicious). Once warmed through, season generously with salt, and serve with rice and lots of coriander.
This weekend has been a bit dull, if I am being honest. Igancio is off for the weekend, the first since August and we have opted to stay indoors because everything seems more than a little crazy at the moment, in terms of COVID. Well, to be fair, I did pop into London to do my hair (I noticed my hairdresser wearing two masks) but that has been it. It feels like lockdown by stealth. I have stayed inside and watched reruns of Sex And The City (SATC), tided the kitchen, a bit, and baked some frangipani mince pies. Yes, mince pies, in preparation for Christmas day. A Christmas day this year that currently seems as uncertain as Christmas 2020. A lockdown has been announced in Holland where from today schools, universities, and all non-essential stores, bars and restaurants in the Netherlands will be closed until January 14. Residents only will be permitted two visitors except for Christmas and New Year’s, when four will be allowed. The Mayor of London has declared a major incident in London, and there is talk of further restrictions. I just can’t imagine how that would even work here and how and if people would comply. At the moment it feels like a timebomb is ticking, we are all waiting for the noise of blast and the flash of white light and all our dreams to come crashing down around us. It’s a bit dramatic but Christmas last year was just sad, despite us making it the best we could and being glad to be alive. This year Ignacio and I are meant to be hosting and while it will be hard work, I am so looking forward to it. The last full family Christmas was in 2019 and it was wonderful. I will never take Christmas with the whole family for granted again.
I still need to plan the menu with my sister who is really the family chef at Christmas and perhaps the only one, other than my mother who knows how to cook a turkey. However I have a vague idea of what I will be cooking/baking and it will include these mince pies. I made them last year too and they are still every bit as delicious. Ignacio, who is Spanish, never grew up eating these, and is not a fan, absolutely loves these mince pies.
Last night, instead of heading out to the cinema and restuarant as planned, we sat on the sofa, looked at the Christmas tree, drank mulled wine and snacked on these almond flavoured beauties.
Next week I am working from Monday through to Friday. I have clinic and I am on call on Thursday so I’m going to have to be sensible about my time if I want to get things done without fuss and drama. I just feel like so many things are out of our control at the moment, so the least I can do is manage my manageables!
Fingers crossed eh…
When will this be over?
Not anytime soon it seems.
In the meantime we learn to live with new variations of normal life.
In a bid to make working life more bearable and bring back a sense of civility into the workplace, we were asked as a team what might foster this. There were many responses and one of the ones that came into life was an idea for regular virtual coffee and cake chats. It was felt that meeting on Wednesday afternoon on MS Teams for a chat would help with team bonding and bring back a sense of community that had been smashed by the arrival of COVID-19.
We had our first meeting a few weeks ago (I’m not sure when the next one is, maybe I’ve missed some…!) and I was suprised by how nice it was. I sat in my study at home, stopped dictating and correcting letters and checking my e-mails, and listened to and spoke with my colleagues about this and that, that and this. It was fun, I found myself laughing and feeling a little warm inside. I made a chocolate cake in honour of the meeting and ate it with a cup of tea and some strawberries.
That evening I made another chocolate cake to take into work for my colleagues for the following day. I think they liked it. I certainly enjoyed making it. It is covered in a chocolate ganache made from dark chocolate and olive oil which was really nice and easy to make. The chocolate cake recipe itself I now cannot find! I think it was a recipe my sister used that took from her but now I cannot seem to find anywhere in my usual digital places/notebooks. I might well have written both recipes down, sometimes I do that, but I can’t find the piece of paper I put it on. Well if I ever find it/ask my sister to re-send the link, I will edit this post accordingly!
Lol…If I make to another Wednesday afternoon coffee and cake chat, I guess I won’t be bringing this homemade chocolate cake.
Chicken soup is apparently medicine for the soul, or just medicine full stop. So I’ve heard. We are heading for two years into this rubbish pandemic (actually there are no good pandemics!) and I’ve managed to stay reasonable well. The thing that has suffered the most is my mental health and general level of fitness. Both never very good at the best of times but taking a downward spiral with the worry and stress of our current times. So I managed to stay free of anything COVID like until September when I think I caught a cold from my nephew. He was rocking a fever and runny nose when I had seen him and spent part of the time slumped across my chest while I was trying to be good paediatrician/good aunt. He got better with a few doses of paracetamol, I on the other hand started to feel unwell and off colour for some time afterwards. All my COVID tests were normal but I felt quite rank. I stayed at home and felt sorry for myself. While lying listlessly on the sofa and scrolling through my Instagram feed I came across a recipe for chicken soup by my old neighbor https://linktr.ee/indiancurrybykhadeeja and I saw her recipe for chicken soup.
I didn’t have any choice but to make it, did I? It looked so simple that I did manage to lift myself off the sofa and into the kitchen and put this together.
It was incredibly delicious.
And I did feel better for making it and eating it.
It lasted a few days and got better each serving. So another ‘go to’ recipe for when it’s all getting a bit too much.