Friday began with the work Christmas party at Kensington Roof Gardens inside a cream and red ribbon marquee that felt like we were at a wedding dinner. The buffet menu was superb and served pork loin, roast turkey, salmon fillets, spinach and ricotta parcels and all the trimmings; an infinite variety of salads, from Caesar salad and Moroccan couscous to beetroot salad and tuna pasta; assorted deli meats and cheeses; and divine desserts from strawberry cheesecake to Christmas pudding and fancy custard.
The foodie celebrations continued on Saturday with a trip to Lowestoft's The Swan Inn with my parents and M to celebrate my mum's birthday. The restaurant is renowned for its excellent fish dishes and we stuffed ourselves with huge, crumbly cod fillets with chips, salad and coleslaw. M had a whole lemon sole, which was equally tender and melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Mum loved the glittering brooch we bought her to wear on her winter coats.
On Sunday, we celebrated M's birthday with home-cooked broad bean and cauliflower curry, chicken biryani and mushroom curry. Mum had bought M a birthday cake and we lit the candles and dimmed the lights. M was delighted: he hadn't had a birthday cake since he was a child. Come to think of it, I've not had a birthday kid since I was a child either! My parents bought him Heston Blumenthal's In Search Of Perfection cookbook for his present. Before we left my parents' house on Monday, my mum prepared a spicy chorizo and chickpea stew which we mopped up with focaccia bread.
We'd stuffed ourselves silly for four straight days and so when we returned to our house, all we craved for dinner was simple food. We ate chunks of feta in herbs and olive oil, flat Turkish bread warmed in the oven, green olives stuffed with pimento, quince jelly, slivers of manchega cheese, baby gerkhins and fresh pineapple chunks with freshly milled black pepper.
M finally got to open his presents. I'd bought him a year's subscription to The Economist, Tenchu: Time of the Assassins on PSP, In The Mood For Love soundtrack, and the Bechers' Typologies of Industrial Buildings.