The Many Meals of Christmas 2020




This time last year I was in Kuala Lumpur, which was a last minute decision to spend the beginning of a new year with the KL Sister. Looking back, this was one of the best decisions I made in my years of travelling.

In all, I made three return trips to Malaysia in a space of seven weeks, between end December 2019 and mid-February 2020. Our lives are such that it is not possible to leave London for long periods of time due to our work commitments.

That was then. Ten months have have passed where we were grounded, with office work, study sessions and social meetings largely carried out via Zoom. I am now wondering whether life might be better conducted on the edge of an infinity pool somewhere in the sun. I say this in all seriousness, as my latest blood test results reveal that I have a vitamin D3 deficiency, from living in a land where there is hardly any sunlight for over half the year.

Despite the lack of light, and in the shadow of a London lockdown, we enjoyed some lovely meals over the Christmas week. We had ordered a large turkey and ham in anticipation of at least an extended family gathering, however this was not to be. We did share our food with friends who were then in a situation of having to be alone for Christmas because of the restrictions on households meeting.

For New Year’s Eve, most people will want to wear party hats and pop open a bottle of champagne. Sadly we have just heard of a friend (our age) who passed away unexpectedly. Mr Gochugaru’s uncle has also just passed away after a long illness, and not helped by catching covid-19 whilst receiving hospital treatment.

So I think we will have a quiet night with some Cantonese Roast Pork (siu yoke) and rice. My mother-in-law sent me the following quip: I am going to stay up on New Year’s Eve this year. Not to see the new year in, but to make sure this one leaves. I think we can all say Amen! to that.


Christmas Day: Roast turkey with all our favourite vegetables


When not eating leftovers, we made sure there were vegetarian meals in between.


Korean Bibimbap


Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup with Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Rolls


Roasted Squash with Rice, Cranberries, Pine Nuts, Feta and Parsley


Italian Pasta and Bean Soup


I was very proud of my attempt at making a Korean beef short rib burger, with pulled beef and kimchi in a brioche bun brushed with garlic and parsley butter


Some sweet things from one of the many bakeries in Hampstead High Street: Doughnuts (Bread Ahead), Christmas Buns (Gail’s) and Galette des Rois (Paul)


Galette des Rois (Cake of the Kings) is associated with the festival of Epiphany at the end of the Christmas season, which commemorates the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus. In popular culture we refer to the Magi as the Three Wise Men or Three Kings, and in common English an epiphany is ‘a moment of sudden and great revelation or realization’. I had plenty of those over the past year: you only need to iron your tops if you are having sit down on-screen meetings, tablecloths do not need ironing, listening to a storybook on Audible is a good way to alleviate boredom when cleaning the house, takeaways from our favourite restaurants are a good idea, you don’t really need to start watching an online church service at 9.30am sharp on a Sunday morning.

On that note, I am off to tend to the roast pork which needs salting and drying before roasting in the oven. Happy New Year’s Eve everyone, wherever in the world you are reading this from.