The crisp winter air is getting chillier, and we are gratefully snuggled under a warm duvet on the sofa, listening to Christmas carols and watching holiday movies. Time seems to slow down as we take in the holiday cheer, and marvel at the simplest things such as the beautiful tree that is standing in our living room now and the pretty snowflakes that will soon grace the season. Even that mug of hot chocolate seems to be that much more special when tucked under your cold fingers. There is just something magical about the time that is Christmas. Everyone seems cheery despite the blistering cold. Shoppers smile as they bump into each other with their big bags in madly crowded stores. The lights are especially pretty, as if they were there to put the misery out of the shorter days and longer nights. The odd hum of a carol that pops in my head when I am cooking. The thought of seeing my family warms my heart, this year especially as we are moving across the globe (albeit with one or two pitstops) within the next year. This winter, our fifth, our last, the finale, is no doubt the most beautiful.
Delighted as we are to return home soon, we will come to miss everything and everyone that defines London. Our dear friends who have become our family over here, the stories that we share, the good and bad times that we have been through together, even the bitter cold and annoying rain that drapes London in a depressing shade of grey. It seems befitting to celebrate the last winter with our friends. What better way to do so than with a party full of cheer, brimming with home-cooked food and copious amounts of drinks?
And so we did. We came up with a menu that took all of what we experienced and loved whilst living in London, and entertained our friends with it. Grilled Camembert with tomato and chilli chutney, served with warm crusty bread and an assortment of cold meats. This was similar to what we had and loved during our recent trip to the Three Choirs Vineyard | An Ottolenghi-style salad of roasted aubergines with shredded roast chicken, pine nuts, pomegranate, basil and garlic yoghurt, something we have come to adore during our time here | Good ol’ steak, something that M has been crazy about after our trip to Peter Luger Steakhouse in Brooklyn, New York, and has mastered during his time here, served with creamy mash potatoes and homemade béarnaise sauce, a sauce that paralysed both my arms after some Olympic-worthy whisking when I first attempted it years ago, and now I’ve found a shortcut to doing them, sparing my wings from pain and agony | Moroccan leg of lamb with mint yoghurt and chickpea sauce, which I learnt to cook in my first year here when I was an amateur in the kitchen, after falling in love with Jamie Oliver’s recipes | Matcha tiramisu, a testament to how my eyes have been opened to the possibilities of reinventing traditional recipes.
After much nerves, and toiling in the kitchen, we’re glad to say that everything, including the monstrous leg of lamb, was cooked to perfection. It was the best dinner party we have ever hosted, and even we were very surprised by the success of it, because a lot of cooking had to be done in a tiny kitchen, and as we know, the tension runs high when two cooks with very different styles are working in a small space together. Our friends were duly impressed and we were even happier to know that they went home well-fed, drink-drank-and-ever-so-slightly-inebriated. Jokes were cracked, and embarrassing stories were let slip. We laughed till our bellies ached and I drank till I was hung over the next day. It was all in good fun and I’m really going to miss all the times we’ve spent together. Everyone’s going their separate ways come the heart of winter, so I guess it’s goodbye for now. Till we meet again, my dear friends, till we meet again.