The week before Christmas, it rained pretty much all day and all night, all week. As a result, we woke up to some flooding of epic proportions Saturday and Sunday mornings. Epic to the point of Noah's flooding, as the waters came after the 21st of December. This was the worse flooding I've seen since we've moved here, and all our neighbours agreed. But, as quickly as the waters rose did they recede, and by Christmas Eve, water levels were back to normal.
A Christmas tradition for Pat and I is to make the journey down to Edinburgh before Christmas Eve for the reknown German Christmas Market in Princes Street Gardens. I LOVE these markets! So much so, that I would declare it is one of my favourite things about living in Europe. My first Christmas in Scotland was actually spent in Germany, at my sister-in-law Kate's house. Initially, I was indifferent about going to Germany itself because to me, it was more about seeing family than anything else. Once I got there, though, I fell a tiny bit in love with the country because it reminded me so much of Canada and because of the Christmas markets! We saw some pretty amazing ones in Hamburg, the type that you could walk around all night and graze on their many foods, buy a few pretty German Christmas stars (we have two), all the while sipping on some mulled wine of some kind, (I like apple). There's an amazing atmosphere at the markets, especially if you go at night, and the food is incredible, very fitting for winter: Bratwurst, candied nuts, gingerbread, fried mushrooms, spatzle (a German pasta), fried potatoes, steak, pork sandwiches and gluhwein (spiced mulled wine)! I go for the food, Pat goes for the wine.
|Enjoying some Apfelwein with my cute boot mug!|
A shot of the highly coveted, once a year, candied Christmas almonds. They're my last bunch!
There are also rides and ice skating at the Christmas market, and this year, Pat insisted I go on the ferry wheel. To many, this is a fun experience where one can enjoy the beautiful sights of Edinburgh lit up at night during the holidays. If you're me, however, it's a traumatic, tear-inducing experience as I'm afraid of heights and we were the first ones on as the ferris wheel was loaded. Did I mention it was a gigantic one? Here's a shot of the gardens below, right before I went into a panic:
After a quick stop at Marks and Spencer to pick up some holiday Kir Royale fizz, we made the trek up to the Royal Mile and our most favourite Thai restaurant, the Thai Orchid. A restaurant we love so much, we make a point of going there every time we're in town, neglecting many other fine eateries the city has on offer. Below are photos of our meal, which was heaven to me, (including the four bags of tofu skin containing thai vegetables).
Christmas was spent with Pat's parents, where we had a quiet but fulfilling Christmas, spending a lot of time Skyping with our families in Germany and Canada. I got some great gifts as well, including two new Helly Hansen running tops from my husband, and enjoyed watching other's open our gifts to them. My favourite gift reaction was my sister over Skype, opening her One Direction book from us; she was so excited and overjoyed! We were happy.
I spent the days between Christmas and New Year cooking and baking, naturally! Below are some of my successes.
Clockwise from top left: My mom's amazeballs hot cheese dip (recipe here); brussel sprouts on the stalk; French-Canadian cipate, a traditional Christmas dinner that we have with my Mom's family (recipe here); and a Nigella Lawson recipe from her Nigellissima Venetian Christmas episode, (recipe here).
And one of my failures: Mary Berry's Yule Log, which she made look so easy! I made the recipe and stuck to it, and it was just disappointing. The sponge was flat, the chocolate ganache never stayed firm enough for piping, and the taste was too plain. This disappointment, combined with the fact that we had far too much other sweet treats in the house, led to the Yule Log being untouched and thus binned.
And what is a holiday without some holiday sale shopping???? Sweatshop and Run4it had amazing sales on Garmin watches, so I took advantage of £50 off, and bought myself a Garmin Forerunner FR60 with food pod and heart rate monitor.
|To: Danielle, From: Danielle|
Here's what I'm working on for my next posts:
- Time for your piece: Hogmanay - New Year's Eve in Scotland
- My goals for 2013
- 2012 year in review posts, summing up the highlights of my last two trips of the year to Winnipeg and the Highlands.
- A purge of the few posts that are patiently waiting to be written, just waiting in my drafts folder, (which is part of one of my goals for 2013).