I had a lovely, quiet new years eve with some friends - it turned out to be pretty international! Of the six of us, we had one Russian, one Belgian, one who grew up in the Middle East, one German and a one living in Switzerland!
I got there early enough to help with the cooking - we had two Russian salads, and one of the other girls brought a lentil soup - because in Germany lentils are seen as giving you good luck in the new year. I'd brought a carrot cake and someone else brought a lemon cake as well. The food was delicious!
We drank gin and champagne, ate dinner, played with the dogs, watched the German show 'Dinner for One' which is something that is repeated every year on German TV at new year, listened to Russian new year songs and then watched the fireworks at Big Ben on TV to count in the new year. Then we sang Auld Lang Syne, did some champagne toasts, and then went outside which is the Russian custom, where you head out to meet the new year. After that the neighbours came round and we drank more champagne, petted the dogs and finally at about 1.30 all of us who didn't live there headed home. It was a really genuinely lovely start to the new year.
Then today I had lunch with a friend, and headed to Pret to have a coffee and say hi to the barman - he gave me a free coffee! While I was there someone I hadn't seen in a while came up and told me that they were really grateful for the meditations I had taught them and the support I had given them, it was a really difficult time, he is much happier now, but he wanted to tell me how grateful he was at how understanding I had been. That was really surprising, and very moving. What a beautiful start to the year!
Vegetarian version of Herring in a Fur Coat (Shuba)
1 large beetroot
2 or 3 carrots
2 nori seaweed sheets
3 or 4 medium potatoes
200ml / 7oz mayonnaise
3 big pickles
1. Peel the veg and put in water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 - 40 mins until the beetroot is completely soft but not mushy
2. Then grate the veg separately. Arrange a layer of grated potato at the bottom of a baking dish and pat it down with a fork.
3. Spread 3-4 tbsp of mayo over the potato. Cover that with a nori sheet and wet it a bit with a tbsp of water to make it soft.
4. Cover that with a layer of finely sliced pickles, then spread some mayo over that.
5. Place the second nori sheet over that and wet it with some water. On that place the grated cooked carrot and flatten with a fork, and then cover that with 3-4 tbsp of mayo.
6. Then cover that with a layer of the grated beetroot, flatten that with a fork and cover with mayo. Place the dish in the fridge for at least half an hour. You should be able to cut it into slices like a cake.
2 salted cucumbers / pickles
1 cup green peas
3 tbsp of chopped sundried tomatoes in oil
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1. Peel and cook potatoes and carrots for 20 - 30 mins over medium low heat until they are soft.
2. Cube the potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and pickles and combine being careful not to overmix.
3. Cook the peas if you need to, add that to the salad, and stir in the mayo.