And the award for most ingenious Christmas present 2012 goes to…

... Mr E!

(I may be getting a little swept along in the spirit of the BAFTAs as I write this)

For my present from Mr E, alongside the boxed River Cottage Handbook Library which I've coveted for a long time, was a rolled up piece of A4 paper. I unrolled it to discover that Mr E had researched and planned a culinary and cultural tour around the world for 2013, without having to leave the country, or indeed our own house.

For each month he picked a country, a savoury dish, a sweet dish, a seminal album and a classic film.

To kick things off gently, we started with Scotland - our home turf! And since it was Burns night on the 25th, then it seemed rude not to enjoy some haggis, neeps and tatties. The sweet element was a Selkirk Bannock, baked with the 'assistance' of Mini-M who was chief raisin-mixer.

Hello Kitty does haggis
Smile for the camera!
Whilst we ate it, we listened to some vintage Eurythmics. I'm not entirely sure Mini-M was a fan - she's used to music being a little more sing-along-able and said in a puzzled voice "What is this Daddy?" pointing at the laptop that was playing it. But she put up with it with uncharacteristic good nature.

Pointing out the raisins
Yep - lots of raisins on the inside too
Independent buttering = lots of concentration!
Due to life being busy, evenings being short, the alarm for work being set unpleasantly early etc, we didn't watch our film on the same evening, but the next night (after Mini-M had gone to bed) enjoyed some guilty viewing pleasure, watching Brave! Which made us laugh at its take on all things Scottish, and made me secretly hope that Mini-M grows up with some of the portrayed feisty Scottish attitude! Now I know, there are a fair few Scottish classic films that might spring to mind before this Disney offering, however between us we'd seen most of them, either singly or together, so we continued the 'breaking ourselves in gently' with the culture side of things too, with some unadulterated commercial cheesiness!

We enjoyed our February country on Friday evening - Spain, although again we're waiting for the film, due to Amazon delivery not quite delivering on time!