Secret Santa and Stinky Baked Camembert

16 Dec

You know that Christmas really is upon you when you decide to Get Organised.  I put that in capital letters to help motivate me.  And then when you decide to Get Organised, Things Go Horribly Wrong. I think you get the idea.

With my parents arriving shortly I sorted out our spare room for them this morning with my best linen, plenty of coat hangers and a few little tasteful decorations.  The bedspread is a gorgeous mulberry colour and I have some lovely purple Christmas lights that I wanted to drape around. Do you think I could find them? Like heck I could.

Then I decided to remove all my nice table linen from the chest in the spare bedroom so that I don´t have to go disturbing my parents.  What did I find? Well, the linen was where it was meant to be but I also found the remains of an enormous red wine stain on my lovely tablecloth.  It´s not even in the middle where it could have been hidden by plates or candles…damn, that´s now doing its third round in the washing machine.

Finally, the dishwasher made a very rude noise and appeared to have given up on me mid cycle.  I foolishly opened the door to give it a good talking to, and out flooded a sea of dirty and very hot water.  One of those days, you see.

But all was not bad.  In the midst of all this mayhem, sorry…Festive Fun… Big Man came in bearing a beautiful poinsettia for me and a parcel from Secret Santa. I also saw that Nia awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award, so a huge thank you to the lovely Nia.  For my responses to this in a previous post, check this out.

Tandy over at Lavender and Lime kindly organised this fun exchange of gifts, so thanks so much Tandy! My Secret Santa (you can´t hide your details from the Spanish Postal system!) is a lovely Blue Jellybean from Madrid – thanks Jellybean, I´m so pleased with my gifts!  Look at my gorgeous book of Tapas recipes – there are some old favourites in there plus a load of new and inspiring ideas for me to try out next year.  I´ve only managed to get a quick flick through it as I had to wrestle it off Big Man who was deciding what “we” (for “we”, read “me”) should try first.  I also received some gorgeous decorations…which are very special as I ask Christmas visitors to buy me a new decoration for us to keep and remember them by.  So perfect…my first gifts and I am a very, very lucky Chica indeed.

Of course, while things were exploding and flooding all around me, I did have time to make a little bite to eat.  Inspired by some Baked Brie recipes From the Bartolini Kitchens and Rufus´Food and Spirits Guide, I decided to do a simplified version with a Camembert which was so ripe it was about to take a walk all on its own!  I unwrapped the very stinky camembert from its box and separated the plastic paper from the waxed paper which I wrapped around the cheese again.  I put it back into the base of the box and baked for about 20mins in a hot oven.

We ate it with bread sticks, and I put a few spoons of my plum compote in the top of the cheese.  The strong taste of the cheese worked well with the cinnamon and vanilla notes in the plum and we quietly sipped a glass of vino Rosado whilst the dishwasher groaned and breathed its last breath.  Guess what Santa might be buying tomorrow?!


43 Responses to “Secret Santa and Stinky Baked Camembert”

  1. chaiselongue1 December 16, 2011 at 18:21 #

    I love baked Camembert and that looks wonderful with the plum compote!

    • Chica Andaluza December 16, 2011 at 18:52 #

      It worked really well…it was a last minute thing!

  2. Mad Dog December 16, 2011 at 18:22 #

    The cheese sounds delicious – it reminds me of reading “A Year in Provence”. That tapas book looks very good too!

    • Chica Andaluza December 16, 2011 at 18:53 #

      I love cheese, and cheese with fruit, so this was a logical step! My book is great, am going to have a good read of it tonight…

  3. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide December 16, 2011 at 18:24 #

    Wait it’s not OK to make your family sleep on the couch, an air mattress and a crappy old bed. I have to light their room? Oh my. Seriously, this is such a great post, walking cheese! Thanks for the shout out. Love your version.

    • Chica Andaluza December 16, 2011 at 18:54 #

      Ah – they´re getting on a bit now, I have to treat them well! And they don´t usually get fairy lights (well, they probably won´t now either as I can´t find them)´s just for Christmas 🙂 Glad you liked the stinky cheese!

  4. spree December 16, 2011 at 18:36 #

    Oh madness! Thinking things are humming along just fine, and they ARE, until they decide to explode. A new washer, in brilliant cheery cherry red, might be just what Santa has for you. And THAT wouldn’t be so awful. Best of luck through the mayhem that seems always to precede the celebration!

    • Chica Andaluza December 16, 2011 at 18:55 #

      Oh yes, a cherry red dishwasher would be so much fun! When the storm passes and you look at it with a bit of perspective, it´s not quite so bad. It´s just when you´re up to your ankles in dirty dishwasher water that things look a little grim 😉

  5. gardenfreshtomatoes December 16, 2011 at 19:02 #

    Thank goodness you had that fine cheese to help cope!
    A broken dishwasher, right before company? I think I’d have had more than a glass of wine…or four!
    On the bright side, maybe you got all of your Holiday Disasters in a single day, instead of parceled out over the next two weeks!

    • Chica Andaluza December 16, 2011 at 19:13 #

      Here´s hoping there are not too many more disasters on the near horizon…but we are rather accident prone here!

  6. ceciliag December 16, 2011 at 19:14 #

    Have you ever made deep fried camembert? Don’t do it! Lucky chica!, wonderful to get gifts, Tandy is a clever girl setting that up .. I might do it next year too.. wishful thinking! now, focus carefully.. do not over stuff the washing machine,or forget to put the lid on the blender or mop the floors – the mops head might fall off..or yours you never know be very very careful now.. don’t feed the chickens onions or lock the dog in a shed, no driving for a wee bit, and whatever you do, leave a trail of pebbles if you go for a walk alone on the mountain! (is that a goat eating your lemon tree? how did that get in!! )c

    • Chica Andaluza December 16, 2011 at 21:00 #

      Of this did make me laugh – I am the most accident prone persone ver, and all this things are fairly typical of me…you´re right, best steer clear of machinery for a while 🙂

  7. Sissi December 16, 2011 at 20:30 #

    It sounds scary! I hope you dishwasher behaves well in the future. This simple baked camembert sounds fantastic! Thank you for the wonderful idea!

    • Chica Andaluza December 16, 2011 at 21:00 #

      Thank you so much! It was very tasty (and welcome after all the disasters) 🙂

  8. ChgoJohn December 16, 2011 at 21:24 #

    Oh, Tanya! It would seem that you’ve borrowed a page or 2 from my pre-arrival guest handbook and that includes discovering that I put away table linens sporting wine stains. Well, better now than after they arrive — at least, that’s how it works around here. Thanks for mentioning my brie recipe and I love your version. Can’t wait to give it a try!

    • Chica Andaluza December 17, 2011 at 09:06 #

      I clearly still had my “wine goggles” on after washing it and putting it away!

  9. Just A Smidgen December 17, 2011 at 01:48 #

    Tanya, you’ve had so much going on in your home these few days… my goodness, dishwashers exploding, fairylights missing, wine stains.. but a gift! (I try to focus on the positive, but your story was a tough one, just kidding).. Your brie sounds delicious and I could just imagine you sitting there exhausted and thoroughly enjoying the flavors and the peace that finally decended!!

    • Chica Andaluza December 17, 2011 at 09:07 #

      It was a relief when things calmed down – and the cheese was good, the present even better 🙂

  10. Tandy December 17, 2011 at 07:39 #

    I am having a big giggle! I have done the same thing, not once but twice, flooding my house. I hope Santa chooses a nice new machine. And your gift from Secret Santa is wonderful 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza December 17, 2011 at 09:08 #

      I was a lucky girl wasn´t I?! And yes, we need to get this dishwasher situation sorted before Christmas …

  11. Tammy December 17, 2011 at 15:24 #

    I’ve had that same dreadful moment when I pull out a linen that is rarely used and it’s spotted! Love that Tandy organized everyone into Secret Santa. Next year I shall be organized enough to participate.

    • Chica Andaluza December 17, 2011 at 19:30 #

      Why do we put them away like this?! I guess we just don´t see the marks at the time 😦 Secret Santa was fun…Tandy was so good to organise it.

  12. Karen December 17, 2011 at 22:05 #

    I think there must be a bad wizard hanging around your home casting spells. I bet the beautiful poinsettia broke the spell and everything will go better now. And maybe there is a very large motorized present that hasn’t been wrapped yet from a second secret santa. I have my fingers crossed.

    • Chica Andaluza December 17, 2011 at 23:59 #

      That wizard often lurks around here! But I think you´re right about the poinsettia (or else the fact that Big Man is an Electrician)…things are better today and the dishwasher has had its motor fixed. Hurrah 🙂

  13. sportsglutton December 18, 2011 at 15:46 #

    A stinky Camembert is stinky good. 😉

  14. Rachel December 19, 2011 at 18:17 #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE “stinky” cheeses… and love that it is snowing on your page as well (I think I forgot to say so last time…) Safe and very happy holidays! Mmmm…

    • Chica Andaluza December 19, 2011 at 19:46 #

      Thank you – and I LOVE the snow! Still too warm here for the real thing 😦

  15. Caroline December 19, 2011 at 21:00 #

    Mmmmm baked brie…one of my favorite appetizers. Your version sounds fantastic! Sometimes the stinkier the cheese, the better. 😉

    • Chica Andaluza December 19, 2011 at 21:32 #

      Seems we are a big “gang” of stinky cheese fans!

  16. Bluejellybeans December 20, 2011 at 01:12 #

    Hola Tanya 🙂
    Perdona el retraso…ha sido una semana de locos (está siendo) con todos los preparativos del viaje. Me alegro mucho de que te llegara el regalo y de que te gustara (y a Big Man también).
    Os deseo a los dos una muy muy feliz Navidad con vuestra familia.
    Un beso muy fuerte!

    • Chica Andaluza December 20, 2011 at 05:21 #

      Gracias Giovanna – entiendo la locura de esta semana. Está casi lo mismo aquí y no tenemos que preparar para un viaje como vosotros. Saludos y abrazos para unas fiestas increíbles!

  17. spicegirlfla December 20, 2011 at 20:53 #

    Brie is one of my absolute favorites! And prepared simply and easy is my style too!!

    • Chica Andaluza December 20, 2011 at 21:23 #

      Seems like there are lots of us who like “proper” cheese!

  18. Michi December 22, 2011 at 13:17 #

    Hahaha, my dishwasher has been going berserk lately too!!! It’s the landowner’s though, so I think we’ll have to make do for the time being.
    Mmmmmm, I am stealing your stinky Camembert idea! I LOVE Camembert, and the idea of heating it in the oven to later dip bread in sounds divine. Merry Christmas!! I can’t wait to see what Tapa Recipes you whip up! 😉

    • Chica Andaluza December 22, 2011 at 14:52 #

      You´ll llove this then. Try to get a camembert as close to its use by date (you can even use it a few days after) so that it´s good and ripe! Dishwashers….ha, what a pain 😉

      • Michi December 25, 2011 at 11:34 #

        Will do, thank you! It’s officially on my grocery list.

        I meant washer, as in lavadora. I don’t know why I wrote dishwasher, haven’t had one in over 8 years. Maybe that was my subconscious wishing for one!

      • Chica Andaluza December 27, 2011 at 13:25 #

        Maybe the 3 Kings will get you one 🙂

  19. katyarich December 24, 2011 at 19:14 #

    looks great,yummy….. so Feliz Navidad……I’m in England right now, and hope you share some of yours delicious recipes with us from Spain because I’ve never spend Christmas day in the country I reside. Hope you have all the best for 2012..and don’t forget to eat 12 grapes for good luke …take care katyarich

    • Chica Andaluza December 27, 2011 at 13:22 #

      Thank you and we will be eating the grapes on Noche Vieja! Still recovering from the Christmas excitement, but plenty of recipes still to come 🙂

  20. Burhan April 19, 2015 at 00:26 #

    Definitely tasty, visible from the presentation .. 🙂


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