Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Christmas Dinner - more than a menue

Of course I didn't do all the 6 courses of my menue, we left the redbeet risotto for tormorrow. I tend to cook large portions and it probably was quite tasty since we had two servicings from every course. But after the third course or so we started to get really full.

Here are some pics, so you can see that it also looks quite nice most of the time.

First was the cream of potatoe soup with some coriander green on top to make it more exotic or just because I didn't get any chervil in winter, who knows. this recipe is my mother's hence I can't post a recipe.

Then we had the 'Christmas Salad' from ( which was as good as it looked in it's Christmas colours:

I served it with soybean-baps a la bruschetta and it came out really nice:

We restricted the main course to the nut roast and it was a wise decision. I put Wendy's nutroast ( in a star-form dish to give it a bit more festive character.

This is a really light and wonderfully cashew nut-roast, which would be lovely in summer, too. Mini-gnocchi, roasted carrots and asparagus with a creamy crème fraîche lemon basil sauce rounded off our main.

For desert we had the lemon-tofu cake, a recipe from the Eight Day Café in Manchester. Instead of the digestive cookies I used spekulatius Christmas cookies (a kind of gingery biscuits) and I decorated it with a drizzle of rosehip jam, again to give it a festive look, but also because I put too much lemon juice in it and it was quite sour *lol* any way, it was tasty and not bad for my first vegan cheesecake, altought still worthy of improvement.

Stay tuned for the rest of our Christmas dinner which we will have tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Joyeux Noël, Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad, Frohe Weihnachten, メリークリスマス

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas time. Our tree is in purple and silver decorated, though I really do not have the space for a large standing tree. It is therefore a bit cramped in the corner but still nice to look upon and the smell is worth it anyway.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's a veggie Christmas this year!!

Since M is not here this Christmas, we can have a completely vegetarian Christmas dinner, no cooking twice, no carcasses in the workspace, no killing involveld. I wanted a nut roast all along, since this is the English traditional way (for vegetarians of course, carnivores must eat filet wellington and goose and such poor animals). Doesn't this look good?

A peaceful Christmas to all my friends and readers, have a wonderful time!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I left Bradford as soon as possible and stayed the rest of my trip in Manchester. First because it is an endlessly better option for shopping, second because my flight went from Manchester anyway, and last not least, it is a way more interesting town.... city..... whatever.

This is Manchester Cathedral, or rather one of it. I learnt that there are two cathedrals in Manchester, why, I don't know.

This is one of its modern, yet wonderful, stained-glass windows:

The townhall of Manchester with the European Christmas market (one of the seven markets in Manchester):

The old city centre with a ferris wheel. But this time a bit more discreet, being in front of the modern departmentstores instead of the old timber-framed buildings:

and a nice pub (this photo is especially for P and C, stay sharp!)

This is the International Christmas Market:

And of course the German one with -what is so typical for Germany- Bratwurst!

Christmas Carols in the shopping centre:
And funny buses:

I also had the chance to test one of Manchester's vegetarian restaurants, the Eight Day Café ( I had a marvellous vegan cottage pie. And don't forget to check out their webpage because they post a lot of their fav recipes.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Bradford cathedral and the 'grotto' archaeology conference

Yestereday evening I had a look at Bradford's cathedral:

The Polish community sang Polish carols, offered Polish (alas, very meaty) food and -of course, since we are in England- wine. There was also an exhibition of Polish cribs, with a single specimen from the Polish community of Huddersfield. It looked more like an oriental castle than the birthscene of Jesus, but well....

The cathedral has the wooden ceiling beautifully rebuilt:

And so I had a pretty nice evening.

Today was the Pre- & 'Grotto-History: Some Recent Research into the Prehistoric use of Caves day conference of the Prehistoric Society. There were some interesting talks concerning the Neolithic use of caves, for example Tom Lord's presentation of an early Neolithic non-monumental burial type, involving -not cannibalism- but complicated burial rites with decomposing in the open and then bringing back the still articulated body to prep it up with stones to imitate a living body. He called the stonepacked corpses 'skeletal mommies'.

Two speakers tried to develop a system how to predict where archaeological caves would be in order to find them before metal detectors and looters. Both had to admit that it is not really working.

Rick Schulting then presented his work, comparing isotope values from skeletons of Gop Cave in North Wales with skeletons from the very near chambered tomb Parc le Breos. He could demonstrate, that the people of the chamber tomb had a higher portion of meat/dairy in their diet than the people buried in the cave (lower end of social hierarchy?). this is the cave site (Cathole Cave, Gower peninsula):
And this is Parc le Breos, the nearby chambered tomb:

A PhD student of Paul Petit presented a paper in his absence about Mousterien use of caves, like fire places and stone tools.

Andrew Chamberlain did his statistics about cave burials, like 'a third of people buried in the Neolithic were sub-adults'. He was one of the two who presented the prediction model. The only thing he found was htat larger and higher caves attracted more burials.

L'art pariétal at Sculptor's Cave:

Neolithic pottery from Elbolten cave:

Friday, December 05, 2008


Bradford is just as I have remembered it, one of the sadest and most pitiful towns in England. I was looking for a knitting wool shop (which of course didn't exist anymore) and came across the TJ Hughes department store. Here you can experience on of the worst department stores you will ever come across in your life. It has the charm of pound land and the prices of Primark, but at least primark keeps it's dignity, so if you want to buy cheap, for heaven's sake go to Primark and not to TJ Hughes. I have never seen so much acrylic things on one spot. But that is the essence of Bradford, not value for money (which would at least make sense) but cheap, really cheap.

This is the new "Broadway Centre with over 100 shops and offices" according to the leaflet from the tourist information " for opening late 2007". And what have we now? Ah yes, late 2008. And still not a single wall standing of this ambitious project. But how could Bradford afford building such a project when they can't even afford to put some gritt on the iced pedestrian walks.

This here is the townhall of Bradford, which was built in the second half of the 19th century and extended in the early 20th century. It actually is a nice building but at the moment it is defaced by the Bradford Christmas spirit. A ferries wheel is obviously the highlight of Christmas, and the illumination doesn't help either. So sad.

The best thing Bradford has to offer is certainly it's university. One of the finest universities (archaeology-wise) in the country with a beautiful campus. And let's not forget Waterstones, not because of it's divers selections but because there is a Star Bucks on the second level.
But of course not all is bad in Bradford. The Love Apple restaurant and bar has wonderful veggie dishes and the new Tulsi being an all vegetarian Indian buffet restaurant. Hm...yummie.