Happy New Year from the Un-Chef (returned from exile ;)

Belated Xmas wishes from the Un-Chef

Our regular readers may have wondered why these blog pages have been unusually silent for the last couple of weeks. Our last post was on December 14th, normally too early to simply use the Christmas holidays as an excuse. Nevertheless, by and large, that is the card we are going to proffer since it happens to be the truth! Christmas Eve for Dorothy and myself came early this year and took place on December 11th….

Usually, we celebrate Christmas Eve with friends and family in Ottawa by holding an open house. This year, because we had been invited to spend the holidays in France, we advanced the date and held the event on Saturday, December 11th. I did not realize then,  just how different our Christmas would be this year – not only because of travelling abroad. Weather, health and family dynamics all converged to produce a memorable couple of weeks chock-full of mishaps, pleasures, surprises and laughter. Even though celebrating the holidays in France was totally different from what it would have been in Canada, the central themes remain the same the world over: Family, friends and food.

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Over the next couple of weeks, I will try to get caught up and give you a general, albeit very  singular and biased, overview of our European gastronomic trials and tribulations. Although this was the first Christmas that Dorothy and I spent out of the country since I arrived here in 1975, I suspect that it will not be the last….

Our Xmas Eve Buffet table before the onslaught of 20+ guests

As stated above, we kicked the season off in fine style with our now traditional open house. Certain foods have become standard fare for this event. Dorothy’s Tourtière and my home-made chili are the mainstays and then we add chicken wings, sausage rolls and various other snack foods all served buffet-style so that people can mingle and socialise.

Xmas Desserts

Which one does not belong?

Oftentimes, the pièce de résistance is the desserts and this year we went all out. Pictured at right in clockwise order are : Banana Kiwi Charlotte, Coffee Bavarian Cream, Assorted cookie tray (Costco), Dorothy’s traditional Yule Log and a contribution from our good friend Maureen Ruthman (I must admit to not knowing its name but can attest to the fact that it tastes as good as it looks!) All of these were repeat performers from previous years except the first and this was a true Un-Chef recipe since I had no idea how it was going to end up when I started out. I will describe its birth in the next post.

I wish all who read this a happy and prosperous 2011 and look forward to sharing more of our epicurean adventures with you 😉

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