End of Year round-upDecember 31, 2007
Well, there are about two hours to go until 2008 so just time for a few end-of-year round-ups.
Since so many of you have asked we are happy to report that it was absolutely wonderful. Seasoned with mustard and freshly crushed black pepper, it roasted happily in the oven while the trimmings cooked around it. Before the sun set the joint was stripped and the remaining meat was back in a casserole dish with some caramelised onions and the remains of the red wine gravy. Having bubbled for an hour or two it was portioned and popped into the freezer.
That lovely joint will be keeping us fed for some time to come … at least another three meals in cold January!
The Seville Oranges
About a week before Christmas we were offered some Seville oranges. A friend has a tree and, as so often the way here, once it starts to crop it is a challenge to use all of the fruit before it goes bad. Marmalade-makers wandered off with carrier bags full but we have no such leanings. However, if there were half a dozen oranges to spare we might have a beef recipe that would appreciate them, said we.
A few days later we were presented with a carrier containing 17 goodly sized oranges.
Mands did a little research and then amended menus. Instead of Christmas beef followed by tart au citron perhaps there could be a light orange syllabub instead?
After a couple of false starts it ended up being one of the foodie highlights of the holiday, and a perfect foil to rich Christmas pudding.
o Juice and zest enough oranges to yield 1/4 pint of juice (about two large oranges)
o Reduce juice to about 1/3 of the original volume. Allow to cool
o Mix reduced juice with icing sugar to thicken and sweeten. About 4 tablespoons gives a good consistency
o Whip one pint of cream
o Fold sweetened juice mixture into the cream
o Spoon into small glasses. Serve with almond thin biscuits
Tonight, as part of our NYE meal, we cooked a variation of Gary Rhodes’ Beef with Seville Oranges. This too was fantastic, but does mean that of the original batch of oranges we only have two left. Hmmmm, wonder if there’s another dozen available?
We made another batch of syllabub today to say thank-you to the providers-of-the-oranges. Pity we didn’t know that they’ve gone to Dubai for a holiday! Another friend, who is staying at home by choice, was happy to take them home to add to her planned meal.
Bright, clear, warm in the sun but chilly out of the sun.
These last couple of days have given us some of the coldest temperatures this year. Overnight it is dropping to around 6 or 7 degrees. The irony of getting a lightly sunburnt nose during an afternoon and then huddling under a 13.5 tog quilt at night isn’t lost on us! To some extent the issue is made worse by the very poor insulation of our rental house.
At 5pm today the bedroom temperature was 12 degrees and falling. We have no real heating upstairs, and only a gas burning heater downstairs. It isn’t expensive to run but doesn’t heat much beyond that which is in front of it.
At midnight tonight we join the Euro. The Cyprus pound will be no more. Well, apart from those liberated from mattress hiding places and cashed in at the bank for the coming six months. There are reams of stories in other locations about the mechanics and the legalities and the difficulties and the dual currency calculators.
Suffice to say that tomorrow we can pay for our groceries (if anywhere were open) with a trusty 10 Euro note rather than a £10 CYP note but we’d almost certainly be standing next to someone, Cypriot or English, complaining that prices have gone up. Same old, same old!
Best wishes for the outgoing and the incoming years. We wish you happiness, prosperity and shorter bank queues. Oh, maybe that last one is only relevant to those on the island ;-)
Ian & Mands