My food Xmas travel adventure

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Having not been abroad since last January when I managed a week in Madeira and not having travelled to other parts of the UK other than a trip to see grandchildren, we remembered travel in an unusual way this holiday time. And it was better than any virtual travel I have done. Some of it even tasted like the real thing!

Moroccan lamb tagine with Australian almonds and Turkish dried apricots

Instead of traditional fare, we ate food that reminded us of where we had been in years’ past or had planned to go in 2020 or even later.

Consequently there was no turkey, no ham, no salmon, no Christmas pudding and even mince pies were limited.

Instead the meal over Christmas and Boxing Days looked very different from what might have been expected on many British tables. The main course was a Lamb Tagine, a dish from Morocco – a place I have still to visit but which was on our list of places to holiday in during 2021. And with the announcement yesterday that the Astra-Zenica vaccine would now be rolled out, there is every chance that we will make it to Morocco this year.

I did plan on having a starter from Tunisia – a Brik – but I have yet to master the skills of managing to cook a raw egg is deep-fried pastry without the egg exploding into the fat via the pastry. Having had briks on virtually every visit to Tunisia over the last decade, it is one of those snacks that seem so simple yet it defeats me. Nonetheless, thinking about it reminded me of all the fun I have had on previous visits.

Instead, a French/USA influence took over and French camembert with American glazed walnuts (the honey was from Buderim in the Australian state of Queensland) sand cranberries was cooked in puff pastry. Instead of just making two as a starter, eventually eighteen were baked and since then they have served as a supper snack being filling yet not to the point of feeling bloated. That paid tribute to two other countries that might have been on the “to do” list last year in a combination of seeing relatives and exploring other parts of the countries we have yet to see. And to stock up on some more Chablis – my preferred white wine.

Talking of wine, the tagine was served with an Argentinian Malbec because Argentina is a country I have planned to visit for the last couple of years and still haven’t made the trip. Yes, there are relatives there that I have never met but who are descendants of an uncle, four generations ago who was involved in railway building in parts of South America. There was a Pouilly Fume from France, an aperitif from Normandy and a bottle of something that was red and came from my father’s wine collection in Australia but whether it was Australian or from somewhere elsewhere I know not.

Still it reminded me that this was the first year in a dozen that I haben’t been out to see the relations there. He must have had it a while before I brought it back last year for the label to have disintegrated. Even after drinking it I would be loathe to suggest a source for it but it was strong and fruity and went down well which is all that matters although purists might condemn me for drinking such a wine with a tagine.

The mystery wine is on the right and comes from ?

Maybe we should have a mystery holiday in 2021!

For pudding, there was a domestic memory- my late mother-in-law’s cheesecake which brought back memories of Bristol which is from where she hailed. Bristol has changed so much over the last thirty years from being a little run down in places to becoming vibrant and full of things to do and see.

Wrapping up Christmas Day was also a domestic travel journey. Isle of Mull cheddar, (I prefer Hafod but it is in short supply this year) Caws Cenarth Perl Las, ( a soft blue cheese from a fam in West Wales which is to be found along a very narrow, muddy track) another cheddar, this time Westcombe in Somerset and some Carraig Ban goats cheese from County Derry plus some Cornish brie completed the trip around the UK.

Next year we might return to normality but my wife and I rather enjoyed exp,oring the world by food. This might become our new Christmas tradition.

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