not long ago, i caught myself counting the days (literally) to christmas. fifty-two days, to be precise. if you don’t mock me, i share my christmas preparation process with you. i split the preparation in several phases… and, i do this to get the maximum fun and pleasant anticipation out of it.
first, there’s the ‘sniff around and get inspired phase’. this
may start some months before christmas, already actually is a year-round activity for me (sorry, but you wanted bluntness). it basically means coming up with a basic concept for christmas. something like: fairy christmas (never happened, though i like fairies, i think they’re nonsense for christmas). or chalet christmas. or black and white christmas. or rustic natural christmas. something like that. this will help me, later, to focus on buying the right decor elements, on paraphernalia for packaging, on the ideas for the menu (that i will discuss with my mom, of course) and on gift ideas, even (like the home-made foodie goodies, for example).
the second phase means is the actual ‘get your hands dirty’ phase. it means hunting down the goods, ingredients, presents, jars (for canning), cookie cutters, plants, pine cones, fairy lights, place cards, tableware, candles etc. for the perfect christmas time. it means planting a little tree on the balcony and adorning it with lights. it means getting all the christmas decor up from the cellar and find a place for it in the home. it means baking and canning and jamming. it means decorating and spray-painting and glueing. it means writing cards. yes, it’s dirty work. i love it. i’m a diy-er at heart (which doesn’t say anything about my skills, ahem).
the third phase is the ‘take a moment to enjoy’ phase. that’s the most important part, and you should not forget it. because with out it, christmas would be over in a jiffy! so, savour the lots of work you’ve put into the preparation, actually eat (!) the cookies you’ve baked for nights on end, that wait in the jars already. listen to the music that is only here to last for a few precious weeks! drink that tea you got at the christmas market! enjoy the lights on a shopping night in the city! sind a stupid song about santa! get a bit cheesy about it all, also. and watch your personal christmas movie favorite. basically do everything to enjoy it to the max.
also, it’s clear that i probably won’t go out of this (or any, really) christmas season skinny, that much is certain. and i won’t fool anyone. because there is a lot of food to cook and try! lots of experimenting involved (note: my bf has a love-hate-relationship with my pretty intense cooking, i think…). but okay, at least you get to see (if not taste…) some of the dishes here. those oven glazed charred carrots with feta are one of them. you’re my guinea pigs! ha! also, thank you.
and also: what do you think, balsamic oven glazed carrots with feta… sound good to you? good enough for christmas?
oven glazed charred carrots with feta
500 g carrots (about medium sized 10 carrots), peeled and cut into diagonal stripes
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (i used a reduction)
1 tbsp. honey (acacia)
1 tsp. maldon sea salt
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup feta cheese, crumbed (ricotta would work, too)
1 handful mint leaves, chopped
preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius (or 400 degrees fahrenheit). line a baking sheet with parchment paper. in a large (salad) bowl, combine the carrots with the oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and red pepper flakes. toss to coat. spread evenly on the baking sheet. now roast (glaze) in the oven for 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender, shrunk and partially ‘charred’ (this may sound extreme, but it renders the carrots very sweet, actually). remove from the oven and let cool a bit. sprinkle with the feta cheese crums and the mint leaves. serve warm, as a side dish to meat or together with other simple vegetable dishes.
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