Happy New Year from Battenburg Towers!

The Battenburgs had a lovely New Year’s Eve with Becky, Tom and Lily – big thank you to them for a delicious last meal of 2013. Tomato, avocado and mozzarella salad, followed by gorgeous fish pie. As a special request from Lily, I brought along a red velvet cake. This time I used the recipe from my friend’s new book – World’s Best Cakes by Roger Pizey. It’s a beautiful book and if you like baking, eating cakes or just drooling over tempting pictures, you should buy it. And the cake was wonderful, if I say so myself. Slightly a shame that we managed to set off all the smoke alarms in the house by the addition of some kind of industrial strength sparkler. 

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It was all washed down by some pink fizz. As has become tradition, we each had to do a turn. This year there was a very funny comedy double act from Mr and Missy B, an entertaining and challenging topical quiz from Lily and a hilarious game of Pointless, courtesy of Tom. I decided to dust off the accordion and attempt a tune. I needed more than an hour’s practice in the afternoon. It wasn’t a polished performance… All that took us up to the beginning of the Hootenanny, so Becky missed out. She’s going first next year!

Fortunately we paced ourselves fairly well, so we were able to present our New Year’s Day guests with a full meal and a reasonable level of coherence. Mr B made a rare appearance in the kitchen and roasted a chicken with some tarragon. It wasn’t elegant, but it was very good indeed.

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I made Missy B’s favourite potato dish – dauphinoise. As ever, however much you make, it all goes. In the interests of increasing vegetable intake for the new year, I made a vat of delicious ratatouille: a life lesson – it doesn’t matter if your aubergine is slightly wrinkly, having been overlooked in the general festive excitement. Haven’t made this for a while, but it was delicious – so many tasty vegetables!

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Dessert was another prune and rum tart – I love this and it keeps for several days, so we took some on a trip to Twyford yesterday too.

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So now it’s time to re-visit some healthy recipes for the new year – watch out for many soups and salads!

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