Nice quite day here. I telephoned my family overseas for Christmas. They were all gathering at my Uncle's house today for their Christmas meal so I took advantage of that and rang in one hit. It was so good to talk to them all, I wish I could have been there myself though. Hopefully I will get over for there again for Christmas one of these years, I just need to do a better job at saving money. Perhaps that should be my new year's resolution...do better at saving. Actually, that probably isn't such a bad idea.
I really wanted to make the cover recipe from this issue, Valli Little's Chicken salad with Spiced Figs and Buffalo Mozzarella. It really looks so very delicious. The spiced figs are actually kind of like mulled figs as they are poached in a red wine and spice mix that reminded me very much of mulled wine, except for the inclusion of 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar which would give a wonderful richness and tang to the poaching liquid. This liquid is then reduced down to be a dressing for the salad. The chicken is browned in a fry pan and then finished off in the oven. I would probably add some extra greens but I think that this would make a wonderful lunch. I didn't get to make it as figs aren't in season here yet so I will have to wait to give it a try.
I considered two recipes for my Christmas eve (well day at the time) meal. Ham with red wine & cinnamon glaze. It sounded really good but I found a different recipe that I wanted to make more. The Cranberry Meringue tarts also looked really, really good. Although the meringue on top was actually little meringue kisses that were cooked separately. If I had made it I probably would have done it more like a lemon meringue pie/tart and spread with a regular meringue and brown it either with a blast in the oven or with a blow torch. In the end I went with something different, which didn't even end up being ready on the night but that was okay because I had already eaten more than enough.
One night I found myself with a chicken breast that really needed to be used up so I went through the December issues and came across Louise Pickford's Chicken Parcels with Basil, Tomato and Bocconcini. This was really, really easy and quick to make. I only used the bambini bocconcini so I probably should have used a bit more than I did as it pretty much disappeared. The chicken was lovely a moist though. I used some of the lemon basil that I have growing to add a little citrus tang to it and it was delicious. I will admit that I forgot the balsamic glaze when I plated up but it was still very nice without it. I ended up serving with asparagus and carrots. It was all very good.
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