Fin des festivités
So we have entered a new year now, a fresh slate, some would say. To my eyes, it is in a sense the continuity of the path one has set on, not a new start in life. Yes, the path may be new, perhaps the old one you had set yourself upon is not good anymore, perhaps it's not working out for you any longer, so you set yourself on a new one. But I cannot perceive a new year as a new book, with 365 blank pages, as so many believe it is, because for me all that I have lived in the years before is still with me, part of who I am, part of my history and my story. A new chapter? Perhaps. Or perhaps the continuation of a chapter still being written, still being lived. This is how it works for me, does not mean it has to be the same for you.
But it does mark the end of something, the festivities. And because of said festivities, this blog has been a bit on the slow side, which is to be expected, right? And while I do want to start the new year afresh, with new sets of posts, vignettes, recipes, musings, starting from next week, when both husband and child are back to their routines and me to mine, I still want to finish things off right. Bring some closure to the festive season. So, Christmas. This was our Christmas table. We had more people than we could sit in it, so we decided on a stand up dinner, with a very informal table setting, as it was all family, no need to fuss over too much. I kept the theme around the reds, with dark blue and white and a hint of green. A simple table, a simple setting, it was to be all about the food and the company.
As for the food, there was plenty, as it is usual with us. There was a cheese platter, chorizo buns, herbs bread, good wines, natural orange juice. The main course was a roast leg of game, deer meat, which was cooked to perfection, seasoned in juniper berries, laurel leaves, thyme and rosemary, salt and pepper and a dash - just the smallest splash - of soy sauce, then thrown into an oven for hours and hours until it was tender and falling off the bone. Its praises were highly sung, everyone going for seconds and even thirds, and we were happy and proud to have done justice to a glorious beast whose life was taken to feed us. We served it with roasted veggies such as potatoes, onions, garlick, sweet potatoes and carrots. For dessert there was Bolo Rei, traditional in Portugal, Broas Castelar, another tradition, as well as Azevias. Liking none of those I relished in a chocolate mousse and some mince pies made from scratch, as I had been craving for them for years, and was finally brave enough to tackle them. Suffice it to say there was no reason whatsoever to fear the mince pie, it was scrumptious, and the compote was made to perfection, the little that didn't get into the pies having been used for our New Year's Eve cake. There were also vanilla and orange cookies, dipped into chocolate, and those were also given as Christmas gifts to our family members, as this year we really could not afford to buy anything. It was a great evening, the children had a great time, the grown ups were able to have grown up conversations, and it went well, with everyone carting off to bed at the wee hours in the morning.
As for our New Year's Eve, we decided to stay home, yet again, just the three of us. Our kiddo wanted shrimp tempura so we gave him shrimp tempura, as well as carrot tempura, hpmemade mayonnaise to dip into, a gorgeous Serra da Estrela cheese, some good Alentejo wine, a black truffle pate, a herb braided bread, a spanish fuet, black pork chorizo and the cake. Prettiest cake I baked this year, I think. Got a lot to live up to next year... so we had our own little party, our gathering, and after the meal we took off to the couch, the kid dancing away to the sound of The Clash, but we were quite knackered. As we had spent the prior week and even to that day de-cluttering our store room, by night we were really tired, and ended up falling asleep before midnight, only to wake up to the sound of fireworks. We greeted in the new year and took off to bed. The kid didn't even manage to really wake up for his midnight kiss!! But the truth is we have begun our year lighter, with heads and hearts and living space decluttered, as I so wanted to. We hope for a better year, this time as we did last year, we hope for less financial worries, and to keep up being healthy and happy and together. So here's to hoping, and I hope to see you all next week, back to my normal schedules. Just so you know, I'm gonna start the year with bread...