Chicken soup with Knaidlach

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I have just spent 4 days in London and one of the things I love doing is shopping for items it is hard to get on the Island. I was pretty excited when I saw this box of kneidl mix. Kneidl are dumplings that are traditionally used in chicken soup. Growing up, we were lucky to regularly dine with family friends who made extraordinary chicken soup with dumplings- but the dumplings were very much made from scratch and were exquisite.They were light, puffy and fluffy.  I have never tried to re-create them, but bought this box to see if I could approximate them even if only slightly.

The box contained dehydrated kneidl mix. You just add beaten egg.

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I love these free-range blue eggs. The shell is a very pale pastel blue and are produced by a breed called the Cream Legbar. I just love how pretty the colour is. It makes me happy.

You then mix the kneidl and egg together then roll into little balls.

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I made chicken soup just my standard. I almost always make chicken soup from the leftovers from when we have roast chicken. Just celery, onion and carrots and the chicken meat.

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This was the finished result.

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The chicken soup itself was very good, but the dumplings were a disappointment. They were tough, stodgy and hit the stomach like cement. A bit of a fail really. I looked up homemade dumplings and it seems that the light and fluffy texture is achieved by whipping egg whites and folding them into the mixture so I will try that at some point in the future.

Christmas2016 – Getting hygge with it

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If you do not live in Great Britain, you may be (sadly) missing out on the ‘hygge’ craze. Hygge is apparently a Danish word, pronounced ‘Huh Gah’ (Or something like that).  It is generally described as ‘coziness’.An entire industy has sprung up to sell the concept of Scandinavian style and contentment (and fuzzy socks) to the Brits, but at its essence hygge seems to mean promoting a feeling of contentment with life. Fostering family, friends, and living well.

I am all for living well.  I tend to think that as life can often be difficult, stressful or uncomfortable, taking a conscious decision to celebrate anything- big or small – can only be a good thing.  If that means sitting in a cozy chair covered by a blanket while knitting and calling out tv quiz answers while Baby-Gusto plays board games then that is a good day. If it means getting together family and friends for Christmas drinks then even better. It is about celebrating – no, relishing- the small.

Christmas has to be the ultimate in hygge. In it’s best incarnation Christmas is about spending time with loved ones.

This week this is what I have celebrated.

This simple, gorgeous Christmas wreath. Not my house or door, but one in the Old Town of Cowes. I love the pale, pure, icy feel to this wreath.

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Studying with candles. I am a sucker for candlelight, and lamps. We DO have overhead lights, but thankfully both H-G and I are big believers in diffusing the light by having chandeliers. When we first were married some 9 years ago we went a little overboard buying chandeliers from ebay. We still have more chandeliers than rooms- I joke that every decent bathroom needs a chandelier. Actually, that’s not a joke.

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Clearing the junk from the hall table, and finally finding a place for the gilt mirror that H-G was a bit [hmm] about.

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Christmas days out with the family.

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Why have one wreath at the door when you can have 3?

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My dog snuggled on her favourite chair is definitely hygge.

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Christmas Eve dinner of baked ham, potato dauphinoise, peas and cranberry jelly.

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Putting out on the mantlepiece the mince pie and sloe gin for Santa and a carrot for the reindeers.

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Christmas day meal of roasted goose, apple sauce, roasted vegetables, bread sauce and gravy

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Boxing day cosy dining room

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Boxing day light lunch of cheeses (brie and stilton), apples, pears, walnuts, cucumber, tomato and crusty bread

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This is our first ever crop of home-grown walnuts.

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Followed by a good book in front of the fire.

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Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

Three Buoys -Ryde

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The school Christmas term finished at noon on Friday and so Husband-Gusto and I took Baby-Gusto out for lunch. We chose the Three Buoys in Ryde, a small restaurant down on Appley Beach in Ryde. It was a beautiful setting overlooking the sea.

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It was a blustery day and so comfort food was the order of the day.

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The fish fingers and chips from the children’s menu. The fingers were fresh fish fillets and the batter was speckled with seaweed which was a lovely touch.

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Moules Marinieres with garlic chiabatta

But the standout meal was the butterflied fresh mackerel with a butternut squash risotto. Truly excellent.

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Following this it was time for ic-ecreams and a stroll along the beach. Appley tower is always a pretty view.

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This was a lovely way to mark the end of the school term and the start of the Christmas break. We all really enjoyed our lunch. The restaurant staff were relaxed and chilled, and the food was extremely good and fresh. Husband-Gusto had never been to the Three Buoys before, and he was very enthusiastic about a return. A win!

Merry Christmas!!

http://www.threebuoys.co.uk/

Smoked mackerel pate

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I am feeling in a lazy and self-indulgent mood today so made smoked mackerel pate with melba toast and a crunchy peppery green salad. The recipe is basically from Nigella Lawson’s ‘Express’ cookbook, but she has it as smoked trout pate. Baby-Gusto calls Nigella; ‘Mama Gella’. That is how his toddler head first understood Nigella to be. I did however include 200 gm of light cream cheese instead of the 50 gm Nigella recommends and also added a large knob of melted butter so the thing would set in the fridge.

I skinned and flaked two smoked mackerel fillets. Added 200 gm cream cheese, the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of creamed horseradish, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a little bit of water to loosen and lots of cracked black pepper. I blended, added melted butter (about 2 tablespoons worth) then chilled in the fridge for several hours. I served this with toast and a mixed green salad made up of baby rocket and watercress leaves. The most difficult thing about making this pate is washing up afterwards

I also do this with a poached salmon fillet, and if having dinner parties line ramekins with smoked salmon before pouring in the mixture. In order to set though you need quite alot of melted butter. Husband-Gusto finds the addition of smoked salmon in the ramekins too rich for his taste so for him I slice cucumber very very thinly, lightly salt it and use that for lining the ramekins.

Baby-Gusto, my budding food blogger took this photo of his dinner. Bacon and egg pasta with sweet corn on the side.

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Finally- it appears that summer is well and truly over and winter is on it’s way. This photo was taken mid-morning out of our bedroom window earlier this week.

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