Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas fever and Vegetarian delight in Bath

As I am a lady of leisure and have nothing better to do than relish in the company of my favourites, I went down to spend 5 days or so with my big sister and Carl to indulge in some Christmassy relaxation, spa sessions and cooking frenzies.

My sister Jennifer works very hard from home as a designer, and so we made every effort to ensure we enjoyed each spare moment she had between work! As she is a perfectionist she sometimes doesn't have a lot of time to prepare meals as she would like, and as I love to cook it seemed the perfect opportunity to help her out.

I spent the afternoons cooking while she sent important emails and delighted in the smells of mushroom and squash risotto and carrot and coriander soup. I also planned to make a vegetable stew and dumplings but then we got a bit carried away with skiving off and so went to a restaurant or two including the very tasty and highly recommended ''Las Iguanas'' a Chilean food house in Bath where we ate from the reasonable early bird menu before watching a movie and of course we did lots of shopping and turning around town for ''design research''.

The highlight of the weekend was the day we spent in the historical city of Bath. The Christmas market there is like most other markets in big British cities, full of the scents of mulled wine and hot mince pies, with lots of food and drink samples to be relished, amongst the Christmas gift and craft stalls. The market looked wonderful with lights, music and carols and the cold woke us up after our spa treatments at the famous Roman spring spa facilities. All in all, we were raring to walk round and peer into the brightly lit wooden huts. We went to two separate liqueur and whisky vendors and drank some samples to warm our hearts, mouths and bellies!

Jennifer bought some Russian Wooden dolls decorated with traditional Santa designs and we debated about who would like this and that for Christmas. In truth though we were mostly angling towards the Vegetarian restaurant 'Demuths'', we planned to visit which did not open until 5, and we had shared only half a brie and grape sandwich in the spa between sessions a fair few hours earlier. We were definitely hungry!

Jen had been to the restaurant before and it sat on a corner near all the festivities. We were sat down as the first guests of the evening, and enjoyed a glass of Somerset cider. This was incredibly musky and strong, I guess it tasted as proper cider should, fresh from a barrel and strong enough to give you a good hangover the next day if you drank in excess!

We ordered starters and mains of course.
Jen ordered an Asian style aubergine-wrapped vegetable roll for starters which was decorated with wispy green leaves and pink radish. The smooth yellow sauce was a delight and the whole thing was wonderfully presented.

I ordered the potato rosti which wasn't as pretty but it was served in a delicious tomato and garlic herb sauce and the rosti itself was warm and crispy and went superbly with the cider. Trust Jen to order the pretty food! Everything on the menu here was wonderfully vegetarian and thankfully there was no 'vegetarian' spam in sight!! What a relief to enjoy vegetarian food as it was meant to be…..vegetarian!

For main, I had a vegetable and baby onion pie, served with leafy kale and cheesy mashed potato, yummy comfort food!! You could not fault this as a vegetarian delight, gorgeous pasty, creamy smooth mash and sweet thick red wine gravy. The kelp was a neat alternative to cabbage and added a lovely texture to the plate. Jen had a nut roast served with roasted vegetables and gravy. Equally as excellent and once again pleasing on the eye!

To finish we went out to the market and ordered a mulled wine and hot mince pie with custard which we ate while we browsed around with no intention of buying anything else, just simply to absorb the Christmas cheer with a definite full belly.

What a wonderful week that was shared with my wonderful older sister. I will add it to my memory bank so that next year when we are back in Korea for Christmas, I can feel sorry for myself in knowing what I am missing while abstaining from a true British Christmas. The thing is, I guess I appreciated everything about the holiday season so much more than I would have if I had not spent one in Korea. There is very little in the way of Christmas decoration in Korean homes, cities or spirit at that time of year, despite there being a large Christian population, and there is a definite big fat zero for Christmas food intake. Oh well, I will have to make the most of this year eh!!!

Thank you Bath, Christmas and most of all Jennifer and Carl for having me!

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