I am in love.

It happened about a week ago. It came in a plain packaging, it could have been anything.
But it wasn’t just anything, it was a fantastic surprise.

Just looking at the recipes, I fell in love. But that is easy. Anything looks good when made by a chef and photographed by a professional.

Cookbooks have to pass a few tests with me. Number one: Is there enough for vegetarians (and vegans)? The answer is yes. The good news is, there is a vegetarian and vegan section, and rather than being full meals, the sides are separate, making it easier to mix and match recipes. The vegetables look delicious – as sides or mains!

Test number two: Is there enough of everything? Here is my one critique, I miss a good salad. There are some, but none which jumped at me. Jamie’s Egg Salad, Zucchini Salad or Smoked Salmon and Avocado Salad would have been great!
However, ev-er-y-thing else was thought of! And I mean everything. From the large meals, all meats, the veggies, the vegans, the desserts, the cookies, the drinks (although a non-alcoholic option would have been great), the sweet treats during advent and even edible gifts and decorations – it’s incredible!

Now the most important test is, of course, if you can recreate it at home. And the answer is, YES!
I have tried a number of the recipes and it was a great success. I have made some mains as entrees, I have made sides as mains, and everything worked the first time round.
Of course, I would always suggest to try the recipes before the big day, and it is actually quite easy since you can conveniently make each part of your meal separately.

On a personal note, it wasn’t a good week for our family. I started cooking for me and grandma on Monday (Aubergine curry), and she was ecstatic – I am not exaggerating. On Tuesday, we had the salmon-en-croute and grandma decided it was to die for and we had to try every single recipe in the book. By the afternoon we ended up in the emergency room, I had to call an ambulance after she had a bad fall. In the evening, when she had to spend the night in hospital, I had my aunt and cousin at home, and we had lunch leftovers and dessert, and they were sold. To celebrate grandma coming home the next day, we had stuffed butternut, and suddenly other family invited themselves over.
By Saturday, when grandad finally got to come home after surgery, we had vol au vent and a day later another dessert. By Sunday, random family members happened to come over when it was lunch time. Overall, we did not have a good week, but by the end of it, everyone was back around one big table. A few casts and scars, but with all limbs still attached. And we had a meal worthy of a Christmas dinner!

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