Tuesday, 30 December 2014


This year is almost over ...

As we near the end of 2014, it's only natural to reflect on some of the highlights of the year.
Life is what you make of it.
We design our lives, in part, by the stories we tell.
Especially when we experience change...
It is a moment of quiet reflection - reflect on the year gone by; of the happy gains and missed opportunities.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Grumpy Old Lady

I guess the cold weather and shorter days affect not only human...
Of late, Lolita has become incredibly short-tempered, refusing to have anything to do with anyone!
Perhaps she's going through menopaws.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Family Dinner

With Elsa-Bear away most of the year, having meals as a family is something I really cherish and look forward to with pleasurable anticipation.
Traditionally, our family does not celebrate Christmas. The day would normally pass by unremarkably. We would always have a meal followed by a country walk. In the evening we would sit and watch a good movie - usually some mindless, nonsensical comedy or some action-packed ones; preferably with some form of super mutant. Our shared sense of humour is one of the things that binds us as a family...

Our simple meal consists of
Turkey Breast with Stuffing and gravy
Homemade Mixed Fruit Acar
Chili Maple Carrots
Stir-fry Brussel Sprouts

Here's to having the family together!
A happy family is but an earlier heaven...

Friday, 26 December 2014

Stuffed Turkey Joint

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...
as the song goes
that is, if you're not a turkey
If you are one, it is the most unfortunate time of the year!
If you manage to escape the chop on Thanksgiving day, you might not be too lucky to escape Christmas
Oh well, c'est la vie... one ended up on our table, albeit just a joint

To make this,
you'll need a turkey joint (a small turkey breast - boned, butterflied with skin left on)
immersed in brine solution overnight

For the stuffing: 
dried cranberries
1/4 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots (peeled and finely chopped) - fry the shallots for a minute or so, to soften
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground allspice
400g minced beef
grated Parmesan
grated cheddar

Mix all the ingredients together until well combined

Remove turkey from brine
rinse  under cool water. Pat dry inside and out.
Discard brine.
Lay the breast out flat, skinned side down. 
Spoon the stuffing in the middle of the joint. Fold the breast over the stuffing and tie up. Place the turkey breast upwards in a roasting dish.
Smear with some butter.

Roast in a 230C oven until the juices run clear (approx. 80 minutes)
Leave to rest for 20 minutes before serving

Festive Lights

Union Street, Aberdeen

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Winter Solstice Get Together

Last Sunday marked the Winter Solstice, also known as midwinter,  which is the day with the shortest day of daylight.
Coincidentally, OakenShield welcomed some guests over for a spot of lunch in a cosy, intimate atmosphere by the fire.

 setting the table

 Some seasonal decorations

the all-important family photo opportunity before the guests arrived

the starter:
crayfish and carrot stir-fry croustade with homemade chili sauce
marie-rose crab vol-au-vent

The main course:
Soto Ayam

Tepung Pelita
Pulut Tai-Tai with homemade Egg Custard (Kaya)
Baked Pear with homemade Vanilla Custard


The guests