A Traditional Christmas

How life changes, eh??? Having a few days R&R has had me thinking…. not something I do a lot of 🙂

Usually I am rushing about and so busy I don’t have much time for reflection… but over the past few days I’ve been thinking about how much my life has changed in recent years, especially when it comes to Christmas traditions.

Growing up in Canada I got used to snow at Christmas…. yes, all that picture postcard stuff that Irish people long for … we had snow every year!  So it was picture perfect.

On Christmas Eve it was all about getting home to my parents house.   The whole extended family would gather at the house, sometimes there could be as many as 60 people gathered around the table, from all corners of the world. As we all know, Canada is very multiculural. Everyone brought their own unique dish to share at dinner on Christmas Eve, but there would always be turkey and ham….. and with such a crowd the chatter and laughter would be something else.

Once dinner was finished, it was time to open presents.

Christmas morning everyone got suited up and we played ice hockey – trying hard not to kill ourselves or each other!!!!  It was a great way to work off all the excesses of the previous evening!  Mind you all that exercise and burning of calories was followed by a few pints and left-overs, so it is questionable that it did us any good at all???? I just loved those turkey sandwiches!  They always tasted wonderful after all that fresh air.

By Boxing Day (St. Stephen’s Day) everything would be kind of back to normal… but if you did have the day off from work, mostly it was all about shopping.

Since getting married to my beautiful Polish wife, Christmas tradition is quite different.  We are both getting used to the fact that we live by the sea in Ireland where the chances of snow are very very slight!!!

Now we celebrate Christmas in the Polish tradition with my wife cooking dinner on Christmas Eve.   I love having others cook for me 🙂  I like the lovely Polish tradition of sitting down to dinner on Christmas Eve as the first star appears – dare I say it, it adds a romantic feel to the evening 🙂

On Christmas morning, we exchange our gifts and take a walk down to the beach in Lahinch with the dogs, to watch the Christmas Day swim….. the key word here is ‘watch’.  I don’t know how those folks do it?  Jumping into freezing cold water!!  Maybe some year I’ll be brave enough to do it!!!  It would make me feel all virtuous then as I sit be the fire for the rest of the afternoon with a glass of wine and watch lots of movies!

And then St. Stephen’s Day….. it’s back to work.

Do you have family Christmas traditions?  How will you be spending Christmas?

However, you will be spending it, we wish you a very very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

See you soon

Randy

Ah gnocchi

Ah gnocchi … little pillows of pasta mixed with potatoes and just about any other ingredient that you can get your hands on.

I remember the first time that I tried my hand at making homemade gnocchi I was in India. Your probably thinking what!! Well I had sold myself as a pasta maker to a school of culinary students in India.ad before i knew it, one of the teachers had volunteered me to do a demonstration for 250 students.. As you can imagine this was very intimating but never the less I pulled it off.

Now I am doing it again here at randaddys.We have just added wheat free wild mushroom gnocchi to the menu. It’s very simple and easy to make.All the ingredients can be found at the local shop.

Here is a simple recipe that you can make at home the kids will love it.

•3 large baker potatoes. Cooked mashed and cooled.

•1 egg

•About 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

•About 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced

•1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

•Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

•About 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Mix all together and roll out into a long snake like shape. Cut into 2cm pieces, place into boiling water for around 4-5 minutes  and top with your desired sauce..

With the left overs you can put in the freezer for a later time.

Have fun!!!

Randaddys 5 Steps to Drinking Pint of Guinness

Being a chef has its demands,long days on your feet,the heat, and keeping constant clear mind to keep the food coming out of the kitchen on a steady pace. By the end of the week, my feet, body, and mind is in need of a wined down.One way that I do this is have a pint of the creamy black stuff at the local.

1. The Visual impact – you always drink a pint of Guinness with your eyes first. Take a moment to view the beauty of the beer in the glass. Never look down at a pint of Guinness; always look to the horizon and raise your pint to your mouth

2. Own the pint. Stand proud and stand tall. Feel confident and think, ‘This is my pint. I deserve it as the week was a long one.

3. losen up your elbow up.. Raise your pint and drink the liquid through the head. (Too often, a first?time Guinness drinker will take a small sip and get only the creamy head, which is full of bitter tasting notes). By drinking through the head, you will get the roastiness of the barley in the liquid with a hint of bitterness from the head to round out the overall taste experience. I usually drink a quarter of the glass to insure the

5. Always drink from the same side of the glass so you can see the glass become laced and layered. With each pull from a pint of Guinness, you should see a “ring” of head inside your glass, which we refer to as “lacing.” Stand your ground, tilting the glass so you get enough liquid in your mouth, and energizing the four key elements of Guinness in all areas of the throat; 1) the sweetness of the malted barley on the front of your tongue 2) the roastiness of the roasted barley in the liquid on the sides of your mouth and the 3) the fantastic lingering hint of bitterness on the back of the throat as the liquid flows down. And best of all, 4) that fabulous smooth finish unique to Guinness draught as the taste buds awaken.

Whats your Favourite  beer of choice????