A Very Wellington Christmas

Piping hot cinnamon rolls

Icing the rolls

Piping hot cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning —

Wellington Christmas tree

– Tree in the center of town —

Sugar Cookies

– Sugar cookies galore —

Candy cane, stark

– Tasty tree ornaments —

Harbour on a sunny day | Wellington

– Summer walks along the sunny Wellington harbour —

Pohutukawa blossoms

– Bright & festive red Pohutukawa blossoms —

Chocolate cream pie

– A crowd favorite: luxurious chocolate cream pie —

DIY Christmas tree

– Our humble but adorable baby pine tree —

December blooms

– Beautiful roses blooming throughout December —

Beef Tenderloin, defrosting

– A massive 1.4 kg beef tenderloin from a proper butcher

Duxelles on Proscuitto

– Preparing to assemble the Beef Wellington

Colman's Mustard

– Brushing English mustard over the just-seared beef —

Ready to roll

– Ready to roll (puff pastry not pictured) —

BEEF WELLINGTON

– PERFECTION: A Beef Wellington, IN Wellington —

It’s been sometimes lonely, sometimes surreal, spending the Christmas season 8,000 miles away from home. But, as you can tell from the array of images above, I daresay we managed to keep our holiday spirits high. Christmas Eve, in particular, was a gorgeous, sunny, and warm summer day, and we ended the night with dinner and several glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier at the home of a new friend. Thanks to my determined mom and sister, I even had physical presents to open on the big day itself. What really sealed the deal was that absolutely massive fillet, which, with a touch of mustard, several feet of clingfilm, some determined smashing of hazlenuts using a rock from the front yard (no food processor to be found in our adopted kitchen), and, let’s be frank, a dash of Christmas magic, transformed itself into a buttery, flaky pastry-wrapped earthy, oozing, wood-spicy beef creation. I may not be in Texas for Christmas this year, but I still appreciate a damn fine piece of meat. Wherever you are, I hope you found your own ways of celebrating.

Here’s to more festivities, fireworks, and a parade on New Year’s Eve!

Photo credits: rolls, candy cane, chocolate pie, rose, and defrosting tenderloin taken by G. Remainder by me. 

A Week of Fog

It’s almost like there’s an anti-summer going on here in Chicago.

For the past week, a dense layer of fog has settled over trees and roadways, obscuring the sun, stilling the winds, and sending cool wisps of moisture across my face.

Fog at the end of the road

It’s bizarre seeing everything masked in a calm, chilly coat of off-white.

Pink roses, foggy street

It makes me wish that things were draped in fog all of the time.

Weeping willow

It’s late June, nearly July, and yet I’m still wearing socks to bed.

Cobweb

And when I wake up in the morning and glance out the window, there it is, wafting, drifting, cooling, gathering…

Boats in Fog

…waiting to greet me.

All photos by G. 

Scenes from Lake Michigan

This weekend has been filled with balmy 80-degree temperatures (~27° C), which calls for biking to the farmers’ market, playing lots of tennis, and multiple trips to the beach.

Sailboat

Rocks/Lake

Paddle Surfers

If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, happy early summer! As for you southerners, I hope you’ve been preparing, because winter is on its way.

Photos taken around sunset with a Nikon D5100.