Thursday, 12 December 2013
Last weekend saw our annual Uni Christmas lunch. After hosting last year it was my turn to kick back and relax. There was no cobbling together a table from MDF and packing boxes, or running round my neighbours to borrow chairs.
We had a lovely day down in Lewes at Jo and Matthew's new house, a gorgeous Victorian property they only moved into a couple of months ago. You know you are in the countryside when Christmas trees are sold with names. When we arrived Matthew was in the front garden cutting the lower branches off 'Tina' so that she would fit into the stand.
Times are changing, and there were three children at the lunch this year. We had tinsel trains, pet chickens and tree decorating were new features to our Christmas lunch.
Even though I wasn't hosting I couldn't resist getting involved in the cooking and offered to bring along desserts. Inspired by the café tres gourmand we had in Paris, Becks and I decided to make a small tasting plate.
A Sunday flick through the cookbooks we decided to make Annabel Langbein's chocolate and cranberry slice, Donna Hay's maple brulée tart and some fresh pineapple to cut through it all.
The maple tart required me to get some more lighter fluid from my blowtorch so that I could caramelise the top of the tart. I had no idea what to buy and had to purchase two canisters before I got one with the right attachment to fill up my torch.
The desserts all went down really well. Some people preferred the tart and others the chocolate. Two and a half year old Toby stole his mum's forkful of the chocolate start and stuffed it straight in his mouth. His face was a picture when he realised how dense and sticky the chocolate he'd just popped into his mouth was. After a few minutes of quiet concentration he'd scoffed the lot and looked quite pleased with himself!