Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

Have you recovered? Are the resolutions in full swing? What are they? I’ve gone for the following challenging three:

• learn French
• get fit
• blog once a week

Stop laughing please, I am fully aware that they sound almost impossible, but what else am I going to do in 2013?
Last year had so much hype and press (with all those Jubilympics) that 2013 has turned up as a bit of a surprise; so some tough resolutions is surely the least we can do.

So far I haven’t made a start on the first 2 (excuse alert) as my French language CDs and jogging bottoms are in London and I am in Nottinghamshire until the weekend. I have, however made a start on the final resolution; to blog once a week and in a wild, yet rare display of organisation I have planned a whole year of weekly blog posts and this is the first one!
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This little blue book is full of blog post themes and their deadline, with a small space underneath for notes. The themes you can look forward to this year (you lucky things!) include “Breakfasts” in March, “Melons” in August and “Bay Leaves” in November!

After my resolutions were committed to paper it was time to revel in the last few hours of 2012.
It all started out very sensibly, Richard and I had a lovely dinner at our friend Tom’s house. Tom made the main course; a Jamie Oliver menu of rack of lamb, hummus, flat breads, couscous and harissa yoghurt.

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In return we brought a Delia Smith style crumble with some festive trimmings. I love crumble but sometimes serving it with a sea of custard or a slab of ice cream isn’t snazzy enough for a dinner party, and anyway, why should the turkey get all the fuss?

Trimmings for Apple Crumble:

1) Berry Cream:
Gently heat the contents of a 300g punnet of frozen mixed berries with 2 tablespoons of water until simmering. Pass the fruit through a sieve and leave to cool. Whip 300ml of double cream and fold in the fruit purée. Sweeten to taste with a little icing sugar and refrigerate until needed.

2) Whisky and Ginger Jellies:
Put 3 leaves of gelatine into a bowl of cold water to soften. Mix together 300ml of Whisky and Ginger Beer (the ratio is up to you). Put a little of the cocktail into a saucepan with the gelatine and heat (stirring continuously) until dissolved. Add the rest of the whisky and ginger to the gelatine mixture, stir and pour into a shallow dish. Leave to set in the fridge and then cut into squares.

3) White Chocolate Florentines:
Line a baking tray with foil and set aside. Melt 100g of white chocolate and drop small spoonfuls of it onto the foil and spread out a little to form small discs. Before it sets top each one with a few nuts or pieces of dried fruit. Leave somewhere cool and dry to set hard before peeling them from the foil to serve.

All the trimmings can be made the night before or if you feel like rushing around the kitchen like headless chickens (as we did) you can make everything whilst the crumble cooks and cools.

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After our huge dinner we still had time to join a party and bungle the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne at the top of our merry voices!

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