Christmas, Matfen Hall

Hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas and New Year!

This post is a bit belated – bad blogger – as the seasonal grub on offer meant that I was in a partial food coma for the majority of the festive season.   Alas, I’ve now recovered and have regained the ability to write again!

This year, the Ayre family headed to Newcastle to spend Christmas with the extended familia.  As is tradition, Christmas morning was spent walking along Tynemouth beach preparing ourselves for the mammoth task of unwrapping presents and the traditional Turkey dinner which lay ahead.

Tynemouth beach is undeniably beautiful and is even better on Christmas morning as  hundreds of people bring their dogs out for walks along the sandy stretch.  As a dog lover, I adore seeing our canine friends having the time of their lives on a beach chasing each other.  

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After our bracing walk, we headed back to the hotel (The Vermont in Newcastle city centre) for the inevitable unwrapping of presents!  Nowadays, although I do like receiving a well wrapped package, I prefer a spot of money to bolster the bank balance and to spend in the post-Christmas sales so I was grateful for a bit of moolah.  I did end up spending my new funds on a looovely Sandro coat which I found in the Selfridges sale in Manchester and have been wearing ever since!

We quickly stashed away our presents to play with later and got ready to head out for Christmas dinner.  I wore one of my favourite purchases this year, a tartan suit from Topshop which I endlessly scoured both stores and eBay for before acquiring it!  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture, so you’ll have to imagine me wearing an outlandishly patterned suit.

We picked up my Grandma on the way and headed out to Matfen Hall in Northumberland with rumbling bellies.  We’ve visited Matfen Hall on Christmas Day several times now and I’ve loved every single meal I’ve had at the picturesque hotel so was more than excited to return to the old haunt for some spectacular grub and a few glasses of wine along the way!

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Once we’d had a couple of glasses of champagne, exchanged greetings and presents with our cousins we slipped into our seats ready for the six course meal which was ahead of us.

First of all, came an amuse bouche of celeriac and black truffle soup with some white truffle oil on top for good measure.  As always, I was eager to start so I abandoned all blogger senses at the first sight of food and forgot to take a picture.  Apologies! 

I just about recovered my senses in time for the second course of duck and duck liver terrine which was the perfect warm up to the upcoming fish course of seared fillet of Seabass served with a fennel and saffron compote and salsa verde.  Having upheld that I was not a massive fan of fillets of fish for the last couple of years, I had to concede that this was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating and will now be considering the fish sections of menus far more often.

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The main event was of course the Turkey dinner which came with all the traditional trimmings (the photo is sans pig in blanket as I quickly gobbled that up)!  Although the portion size was just right for me, the men of the table were still pining for some more meat!  Greedy

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Still not conquered, we moved onto the dessert section of the meal which included a traditional Christmas pudding and the final cheese course of a fine stilton.  Although I’m not a fan of Christmas pud, I did give it a try before finally concluding once and for all it is just not for me, fear not, the blue cheese made up it! 

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After defeating five out of six courses, I was well and truly in a Christmas Coma and spent the rest of the evening with family playing with all of our new gadgets and watching all the specials on TV.

Although it is a bit late, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year spent with those that you love.  Of course, the turn of a New Year is always full of people repeating the old mantra of ‘new year, new me’ and blabbing about their resolutions for the year, although I don’t personally set myself any resolutions I did decide to join the bone marrow donor register!  If you’d like to do the same then please have a look at the Anthony Nolan website to learn how to sign up!

Lets hope 2014 is a good one!

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