Welcome to the Great White North where nothing will put a damper on my holiday spirit. At 8:00 this morning the fire alarm went off in my building. I had to decide as I was taking a shower whether this was the real thing or not. Of course if it's clanging inside my condo I thought perhaps I had left something on the stove so left my domain to check on it. I poked my head out into the hallway and I did smell smoke, so got dressed and grabbed my keys. Funny that all I would choose to take would be my keys in a situation such as this. I have lived here for over a year and finally met most of my neighbours as I stood in the parking lot with my hair freezing to my scalp in minus 26 celsius weather waiting for the fire department. The fire was on the second floor but had been put out long before the fire department arrived. Welcome to the Great White North when not even the possibility of losing everything can put a damper on my Christmas spirit. What happened was that a group of strangers became a little closer and wished each other a Merry Christmas.
From there I ran my last minute errands (read that as shopping for groceries) before the big day. I have been hanging out with a good friend of mine lately and wandering around the Okanagan. Christmas is always a time to renew frienships it seems. I think it is because we actually have time off and have the time to visit and socialize with the people we really want to. She has been wanting to show me a retreat she wants to go to in February. They have a beautiful site not far from the city with a breathtaking view. We wandered through the grounds with snow up to our kneecaps and drank in the serenity. We found a spot where 6 deer had burrowed down for the night amongst the trees and tracked their prints through the snow. This is a major event for a city girl!!!
From there we decided to try a new restaurant where I tried Paneer for the first time. I would have no hesitation on having it again..it was so good and came sizzling to my table!!!!! It was the perfect ending with friendly waiters for a perfect day.
I hope that all of you will have an amazing holiday season filled with love and laughter. I am looking forward to so many more tasty treats from all of you in 2009!!! I am also looking forward to making many new friendships in the New Year as well. May peace and serenity be your guide over the holidays and if you have to travel...BE SAFE!!!
I leave you with one more recipe for the holidays..because you asked. The recipe can be easily halved to serve only 6 for a smaller crowd.
**Eggnog Creme Brulee**
1 litre (4 cups)whipping cream
1/2 litre ( 2 cups) prepared eggnog
18 large egg yolks
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 large vanilla bean
Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Put the whipping cream, eggnog, vanilla bean and scraped seeds into a heavy pan and scald over low heat. Do not allow cream to boil.
Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a stainless steel bowl and whisk until well combined. Temper the eggs with a small amount of the scalded cream; add the rest of the cream and vanilla and whisk. Let stand at least 30 minutes but preferably 3 hours or more to infuse the vanilla flavour. Note, for the longer sitting time, allow the mixture to cool and then cover surface with plastic film and refrigerate. Strain the mixture and remove the foam from the top of the mixture.
Preheat oven to 300F. Ladle the mixture into 12 ramekins and place in a roasting pan. Pour hot water into the pan to halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with foil but leave a space at one end of the pan to vent the steam. Bake for 1 hour or until the sides of the brulee are firm but the centre is still fairly soft, like gelatin. Remove the brulees from the pan. Wipe the sides of the ramekins clean and let cool. When cool, chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight. If storing overnight, cover each ramekin with plastic film. The brulees will keep for 2 - 3 days.
To serve, sprinkle 2 teaspoons white sugar on top of the brulees; caramelize the sugar with a kitchen torch, until deep golden brown. Dust with icing sugar.Serve with pieces of fresh fruits in season. (ie, blueberries, raspberries...)
Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, Kala Christougena, Frohliche Weihnachten, Buon Natale, Shub Naya Baras, Selamat Hari Krimas, Geseënde Kersfees,Fröhlichi Wiehnacht, Nadolig Llawen, Seasons Greetings!!!!!!