* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Twelve Days

Twelve Days 1As a child, I heard about the 12 days of Christmas in a song every year.  But nobody ever explained what it meant.  Because my grandmother's birthday was on January 6, I at least learned that that was the twelfth day itself.  When I moved to Europe, I learned about Epiphany, the official name of the twelfth day.  More importantly, I learned about the Galette du Roi, or King's cake in English. 

As we did not end up entertaining at all during the Christmas season, we had company for both New Year's Eve and Epiphany, keeping the Christmas theme.  Here's how we did the two dinners, keeping the same menu because it was so interesting.

Twelve Days 2
A holiday table
Twelve Days 3
Handmade angels

Over the years, I've developed some pretty Christmas place setting options, and this year I added something else, a set of handmade angel napkin rings.  They actually were made by our guest, but I bought them at our local Christmas market!

Twelve Days 4
Melted cheese and dippers.  What a way to start a fun meal.
I came across an interesting starter that surprised both sets of guests. 

I put a round of Camembert cheese into a little terra cotta dish and slowly melted it.

Then I served a variety of fresh veggies and some bread for dipping. 

Twelve Days 5
Catering and cooking to personal tastes
For the main dish, I made the guests cook their own.  I have this fun little mini party set of six woks, including their own spatulas. 

So I marinated three different combinations of herbs and spices for three different kinds of meat.  I did a traditional Asian style for small cuts of pork, a sesame one for chopped up chicken, and a lemon and capers one for a white fish and salmon mix.

To keep the cooking times down, I set out bowls of cooked baby carrots, roasted red bell peppers, bean sprouts, and mushrooms.  To round out the meal, I served a big bowl of rice.  Both sets of guests really had a good time, especially as neither had ever done this before.

Twelve Days 6
Omelette Norvegienne

For New Year's Eve, I bought this frozen concoction called an Omelette Norvegienne, meaning Norwegian Omelet. 

I had no idea what that actually means, just that it looked pretty and festive.  Turns out it's just another name, with a bit different form than I ever saw for a US version, of a Baked Alaska!

Twelve Days 7
Queen for an evening

However, for my Epiphany dinner, we just had to have a traditional Galette, which is basically an almond paste filling in a flaky pastry crust.  There is a little prize in each galette, and the one who gets it in their slice is the king/queen of the moment. 

As it turns out, your hostess got to wear the crown!

With our first group, whose little one never found a need to sleep, we congregated on our balcony at midnight and shouted out our best wishes for the New Year. 

With our second guests, we took advantage of the winding down season for one last holiday photo.

Twelve Days 8
Ending the Twelve Days until the next set rolls around

While our personal social activity was greatly reduced in quantity this year, the quality was wonderful. 

I hope you were able to feel the same way about your own!

And now we wait until the next Twelve Days of Christmas roll around again to see how our social life will play out.


  1. As always Barb, you throw a good party! Well done. The table and food looks fabulous!

  2. This all looks so pretty and the food is fabulous. What a great idea to do that table cooking...I'm sure it was all delicious, too. Happy New Year, dear Queen and Doc!


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