In the end I had a very quiet, peaceful and lovely Christmas with my mother. I cooked butternut squash with orange and pomegranate; brussels with chestnuts and roasted shallots; roasted parnsips and carrots (and one potato for her), and braised fennel. And veggie gravy. Yummy. We just chilled out and took long, cold walks along the river and watched TV (something I do rarely, and wow have I had enough of it) and it was just lovely.
This morning I made the Best Soup I Have Ever Made (until the next time). Making soup is my current addiction. Veggies are so cheap at the moment (which is scary and comforting at the same time). Parsnips, carrots and onions are 50p a bag in Sainsburys, and if I had more room in my freezer I would be a one woman soup production machine. The Best Soup I Have Ever Made was thrown together with a pack of parsnips, a bunch of carrots, 2 sticks of celery, 2 onions, some garlic, one star anise, a shard of cinnamon stick, a shake of the cumin seed pot and a very restrained one of the dried chilli, all simmered together with plain water for about an hour and then whizzed vigourously in my food processor (star anise and cinnamon removed). I really think soup is a miracle in potentia and today the miracle happened. OMG, v yum. I've got 3 lovely boxes of it frozen ready to grab whenever I want now.
Of course sometimes the miracle doesn't happen and in order to make room in the freezer for the miracle that did happen, I now have a vat of pond slime (aka celery-from-the-garden-soup-which-I-know-I-didn't-try-hard-enough-with-so-is-all-my-own-fault) defrosting in the kitchen. But... waste not, want not! But mmmm, parsnips!