A welcome Christmas recipe change - 2014

After a great and relaxing Christmas, I'm now back at work and looking forward to new, exciting photographic commissions and sharing many delicious recipes on my ChilliRosso blog.

Our holiday this year involved lots of great cooking and baking, fantastic walks on our local beach (Murlough Bay), climbing in the Mourne Mountains nearby, visits from friends and family, a light hearted coastal rowing challenge in Dundrum Bay (the women’s team I was part of won its race! Hurray!!!), and off course enjoying spending time with our 6 months old puppy.

Breathtaking views from top of Mourne Mountains

Breathtaking views from top of Mourne Mountains

Cold but very enjoyable - our young puppy's first experience of walking in snow.

Cold but very enjoyable - our young puppy's first experience of walking in snow.

The last couple of years I had been quite bored with the traditional Christmas vegetables and when it came down to it, after hours of preparations, I didn't really enjoy the meals very much. This year, I decided to follow my own instincts and prepared a lovely selection of vegetables to go with our corn fed, free range chicken.

For starter I cooked halloumi and pepper kebabs. This was a light and healthy appetiser and left plenty room to enjoy the rest of our dinner.

Halloumi and pepper kebabs - a great healthy starter

Halloumi and pepper kebabs - a great healthy starter

For the main meal we had roasted chicken with herbs and nut stuffing. The vegetable dishes were butternut squash and Parmesan cheese, red cabbage with walnut and raisins cooked in balsamic vinegar, spicy multi coloured beetroots, honey and almond roast vegetables and finally, potatoes roasted with rosemary and thyme. Although I say it myself, it was a great Christmas feast and a very welcome change. These dishes are not just for Christmas and in the course of time, I'll be uploading all these recipes. So, please revisit this blog.

Apologies for poor photos - taken by my old ipad which is not great in low light

Apologies for poor photos - taken by my old ipad which is not great in low light

My husband's contribution was Delia Smith's apple dumpling, this is the second time we have made this recipe and we both love it. He made a slight modification to it and replaced the suet with butter and added some cinnamon.

The feasting did not end just at Christmas. For New Year's Eve, I decided to go for an Iranian menu. There is an Iranian stew that is made mainly with herbs and is called Ghormeh Sabzi (gourmet of herbs). It is a very traditional stew and absolutely delicious. However, it is a complex dish to make. I will one day share it with you. I also cooked another Iranian dish which I believe is from the south of Iran and it is made with rice, nuts and fruit peels. Eating this rice is my idea of heaven. I learnt it from my cousin's wife Fariba a couple of years ago and for ever I will love her for it. Another recipe to upload in the future.

Rice with fruit and nuts - Cooked by my lovely cousin Fariba

Rice with fruit and nuts - Cooked by my lovely cousin Fariba

This blog only started a couple of months ago and I am now looking forward to a year of sharing my recipes with you and hearing your views.

Have a great year and I look forward to your comments on my ChilliRosso recipes.