I celebrate the 25 December as the beginning of the final days of the year - something I'm quite sentimental about. I don't mock the idea of New Year's resolutions. It's a time to give it a go, to be warm with each other, to forgive one's foolishness, to plan and to make an effort. For the first time ever, we celebrated à deux. Modern life sends friends and relatives both across the globe and across the continent. We must accept it. And it was very, very simple, special and quite lovely.
We set the table for two with a tablecloth embroidered by my mother. It's what French girls did in Algeria waiting for fiancés to claim them after the war.
We had a modest petit-bourgeois sauternes, in possibly the world's most beautiful glass. (Joseph Hoffman, late 19th C., still available at Lobmeyr in Vienna.)
Adam Wynn, retired winemaker and Honorary Japanese Consul relates that Philippe de Rothschild liked his sauternes so chilled that splinters of ice would tinkle against the glass. I've stuck to this although I think Phillipe might have drunk Chateau d'Yquem.
This accompanied our mousseline de canard with sour-dough toast and pickled cherries ( from January this year).
We moved to Champagne, Pol Roger 2008, a birthday present from October this year to RTV from his friend and "medical adviser" Dick W. Bliss to allow oneself to drink Champagne with a meal, not just before. Note to self - do this more often. (And drink less but better.) I love drinking in these possibly "incorrect" glasses, (bought in Hobart). It's festive to have the bubbles tickle your face. In keeping with the simplicity theme, we had garlic prawns (very 1970s but quick to prepare) with a little basmati and a tiny salad of our baby cos.
To finish, a classic plum pudding, hot, with chilled custard. I'm not ashamed to say this was a pudding from Aldi and you couldn't have wished for better. I flamed it with over-proof dark rum. As you can see, I pour the custard around but RTV, the rugged individualist, pours his over, obliterating the pudding. He knows I dislike this but it's "party time" and to mimic Alan Bennett, "I didn't say anything".
But at this stage of the evening, things deteriorate a little and the laptop appears on the table. We reminisce, we draw out old dance numbers on Youtube, we rewatch some favourite comedy stand-ups. We drink water. Ah, well...
(Cutlery - Portugal - Cutipol-Goa - approx. 2008)
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