Tuesday, December 27, 2011


One of the traditions we started several years back in California was to host a Boxing Day gathering at our house. If you want to read up on this British holiday, here's a link.

Anyway, last year was our first year hosting the event in our new house and we were thrilled to learn that our friends would be able to join us again. Chris had the brilliant idea of creating a menu entirely around traditional British cuisine. The menu included:

Cottage Pie - basically a mixture of meat and vegetables cooked together and placed in a baking dish, topped with piped-on mashed potato and baked. Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo of the finished dish...not my best piping work anyhow but it was reportedly delicious nonetheless.

Toad-in-the-Hole - this is essentially a large Yorkshire pudding (think giant popover), baked in a glass dish with whole sausages. Again, I forgot the photo.

Bubble n Squeak - this was a surprise winner (and, along with British baked beans was the basis for my vegetarian meal). It's a mixture of cooked cabbage, onions and mashed potato, formed into patties and fried on the stove in butter. They were DELICIOUS. Here's a photo of the mixture before I formed it into the patties:

I know, it doesn't look like much, but you didn't see the whipping cream and butter I used to mash the potatoes with ;)

And for dessert, Banoffee Pie. This is an incredibly rich and delectable pie consisting of a digestive biscuit base (digestives are Britain's answer to graham crackers...slightly less sweet and they form a finer crumb), sliced bananas, toffee and whipped cream. 

Mmmm, toffee. To make this, you just boil
unopened cans of condensed milk in water
for about 3 hours. 

Banana layer

Finished pie with shaved chocolate on the top

The meal was a big hit and, if we're being honest, I think everyone including Chris was sort of surprised at how yummy everything turned out. We're already excited about planning which dishes we'll try out for 2012.

A rare photo of the two of us together. Chris is in his London
Wasps rugby top and I am wearing my Brighton & Hove
football (soccer) shirt. 

Silly centerpiece

Didn't manage a photo of full hat compliance

The kids running laps after dinner. Considering how much
butter was used in making this meal, we all probably should
have joined them!

A little love between two adorable girls

This gathering is the perfect end to our holiday celebrations. It's really nice having our small, quiet family Christmas but hosting friends the next day keeps things from feeling lonely - plus we get to share some of Chris's heritage.

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