My garden is full of surprises.
One day last month, when I was moved to do a bit of tidying up outside, I found this:
That's one funny lookin' Christmas tree...
Having long ago resigned myself to the fact that the romanesco cauliflower I had planted earlier this year had come to naught, there it was, a single specimen, presenting its wonderfully fractal head for inspection. At times like these, you really have to hand it to Mother Nature.
Well, it’s about time that I got my Christmas baking boots on, now, isn’t it?
For weeks, my feed reader has been choc-a-bloc with blog postings stuffed with festive baked goods, and I can only hold out against that kind of onslaught for so long. So, having realised that resistance was futile, I closed my eyes and let my mind drift across the sea of baked possibilities. I ended up in Spain.
While I was still, unquestionably, in Ireland, I had found myself dreaming of that Spanish confection known as turrón. It’s made primarily from toasted almonds and honey, and varies in texture from break-your-teeth hard to soft and fudgy. When I was a kid, my brother, who lived in Spain, would bring a selection home at Christmas and I have been a sucker for turrón, particularly the soft variety, ever since. It’s just as well I can’t lay my hands on it too easily here – I inhale and it’s gone. And while the brother hasn’t lived in Spain for years, in my head Christmas is still flavoured with almond and honey. So I thought that I would try to capture that in festive shortbread form. I was very pleased that I did.
Shortbread, inspired by Christmas past
An apology is in order.
I have been guilty of taking the roastie for granted. A potato classic, known to feature regularly on my plate but yet scarcely mentioned on The Daily Spud… Oh for shame.
Nothing else for it but to make amends with a little Christmas roastie special, for it is fair to say that Christmas dinner in Ireland could not legally be defined as Christmas dinner without a great big pile of roast potatoes. So, with the assistance of the experts that reside on my kitchen bookshelf, may I present herewith my 12 step roastie program.