Well, it took its time coming (weeks of preparation), finally came and then went in the blink of an eye but we had a happy time. I had some fabulous presents from Husband, children and friends. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but here is one of the books I had specifically asked for. At almost 900 pages, it’s very heavy to hold and I’ve found the only way to cope comfortably is to rest it on the arm of the chair. Bedtime reading is an impossibility! My fondness for hares prompted the gift of mug, coaster and small tray (perfect for a slice of cake).
I also had a pretty glass bowl containing money for pampering (a favourite activity), a pot of fabulous Filorga Time Filler face cream (which I am known to like a great deal but can’t always justify buying), a voucher for The Blue Lemon (for the foot balm I use) https://www.thebluelemon.co.uk/ , Bare Minerals make up, Butler’s chocolate, Perfume, gift vouchers and lots of other lovely treats. From work we each received a very welcome £50 voucher from Love to Shop which can be used in several outlets including M&S, Debenhams and other major stores.
I thought that the Christmas TV offerings were exceptionally poor. I watched Call the Midwife which, although rather gloomy, I enjoyed, but I switched off the eagerly anticipated Little Women before the end of the first episode and didn’t even bother with The Miniaturist despite the hype because I thought the book (aptly described by Margaret in her blog as ‘pretentious twaddle’) was boringly awful!
We were only four adults for Christmas day lunch and two little ones (29 and 15 months) who barely ate any of it (the elder one was far more interested in pulling crackers). Nevertheless I still bought and cooked too much, but not a single bit was wasted. The leftovers have been used thus:
Parsnip, potato and apple soup: Made extra thick (takes up less freezer space), it will need diluting before serving. These two containers will yield six generous portions. I usually add water, or if I have some left over from something else, perhaps coconut milk or even a drop of cider.
Crustless quiche with ham, mushrooms and Stilton cheese. It made lunch today with plenty left for tomorrow.
Also in the freezer now individually portioned:
- several portions of thickly sliced ham which will be eaten with egg and chips or served with parsley sauce, mashed potato and peas.
- a cheesecake from which only two slices were eaten – cut into wedges ready to be removed one at a time.
- cherry & apple crumble
- gammon and turkey pie filling complete with stuffing and gravy (mash or pastry topping required)
- a large container of mixed grated cheeses suitable for making cheese & potato pies, quiches or sauces (and there’s still lots of cheese left in the fridge)
- turkey & mushroom in peppercorn sauce – great as a jacket potato filling or topped with mashed potato
I haven’t bought a thing since Christmas eve (food or otherwise) and have no intention of going shopping over the weekend (though Husband will buy bread and milk when fetching his newspaper). It’s not often I go a whole week without even entering a shop! I reckon there’s enough in the cupboards and freezer to take us though January. I’ll buy fresh fruit and veg, of course, but I can’t imagine the need for a supermarket shop. (If I do, I’ve nowhere to put it anyway!)
For my final comment on Christmas 2017 – as requested by Theresa, here is the recipe for my Christmas cake. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t make a traditional one. This is a much used apple-cake recipe (more than 25 years old) which I tweak. The original is from the Bygones Museum (Babbacombe, Devon) recipe booklet. I’ve shown in brackets what I actually use
- 10oz SR flour
- 6oz butter/margarine
- 6oz caster sugar (Billingtons golden)
- 4oz sultanas and 2oz currants (6oz Whitworths mixed fruit. I like this one because it’s very moist and sticky)
- 12oz cooking apples (red eating apples, cored and chopped but not peeled)
- 3 standard eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk (3 tbs amaretto for Christmas version)
- Pinch of salt (I never add this)
- Half a tsp mixed spice (2 tsps cinnamon)
Rub fat into flour and cinnamon. Stir in sugar, fruit and apples. Add beaten eggs and milk/spirit. Baked in loose bottomed 8″ tin on 175c for …….here the recipe suggests one and three quarter hours but I find an hour maximum is ample time. Test with a skewer.
For the Christmas version, I spread top with icing sugar/water mixture and decorate with cherries, walnuts and almonds but use whatever suits your tastes.
I have played around with this recipe using pears instead of apples or a mixture of cherries and pecans instead of the mixed fruit. I’ve made it with ginger instead of cinnamon and even thrown in a few halved grapes or blueberries when I’ve wanted to use them up. Experiment and enjoy!
And if you missed my earlier post – here’s what my Christmas version looked like.