so that was Christmas

We had a woodburning stove installed on Christmas Eve – thought we’d never get it done before the holiday because of 4 weeks of snow, but the builder was a hero and went up on the roof in -5C to do the necessary, ghod bless him.

As you may see from the video, our tradition is to hang a big branch from the wall, so we trundled over to the old cemetery on 23rd and brought a selection of branches home, and then selected one to hang and decorate. This caused the fire installer to bang his head a bit, but he didn’t mind too much.

And then we just … vegged. Lit the fire every day about 10 a.m. and just sat on the sofa in front of it. Watched a stack of DVDs, a little television, and barely left the house. It snowed on Christmas Eve, which was remarkably seasonal of it.

We didn’t even go for any walks, as we’ve both had this horrible viral thing and, indeed, I’m still suffering from it 3.5 weeks on.

We woke up a bit around New Year, and had people round for nibbles and home made wine on the 30th, then a grown up dinner party on 31st, with eight round the table. Two delightful evenings, and we shall make them new traditions, I think – must get more wine on the go for next year!

Then we had the weekend off to recover, after which we had two small boys (and their mother) over for tea on Tuesday, so we’ve only just taken down the decorations – they’re in the loft now until next year.

Consulting the database (yes, I know), we watched:

The American President
Strictly Ballroom
Doctor Zhivago
No Country For Old Men
Brassed Off
The Fabulous Baker Boys
Con Air
Fargo Special Edition
The Rock – Special Edition
Grosse Pointe Blank
Postcards From The Edge

Which doesn’t actually look all that many, but is for us. We also saw The Snowman with the aforementioned small boys.

So … that was that. This year holds a likely trip to France to a friend’s 60th birthday party (which we shall do via the Hull – Zeegbrugge ferry), a kitchen makeover in Feb/March (we frightened ourselves to death today in the granite worktop shop!), and further decline into badgerdom.

Happy New Year, all!

a trip to Withernsea

Originally uploaded by ramtops

We promised ourselves a walk on the beach this morning, so once Johnny Goose had been en-ovened, we took ourselves off to Withernsea. Hull was relatively mild, compared to last week, but as we got further towards the coast, the temperature dropped, there was snow laying on the fields, and black ice on the roads.

As is often the way with our personal $deity, the tide was just turning when we got there, and the steps down to the beach were very icy, so we just slipped and slid our way along the promenade. A beautiful winter morning – sunshine, brisk breeze, gorgeous clear blue sky … it’s so nice to be back on the East coast. We shall do more exploring this week, in between visitors (who are all most welcome!)

Goose is in the oven, stuffing balls are cooked, pigs in blankets are cooking, veg done, sausage rolls made for tea, bottle of champagne on the go. Life is good.

Have a great Christmas, one and all.

so that was it …

I cooked a lot, and we watched a lot of movies (and I ate a lot of Maltesers, and there are *still some left*. And that was it, really 🙂

We slobbed out on The Day, and scoffed roast goose and trimmings. The Tivo spectacularly failed us, omitted the second half hour of the Doctor, and the last five minutes of W&G. Bad Tivo, but they will be round again.

perlmonger was incubating a cough and sore throat, so after our guest had been decanted on Boxing Day, we vegged in front of the television. Casino Royale from Lovefilm, which was really quite good. Madagascar (which wasn’t) and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (which was far better than we expected) on the television. And then on Saturday afternoon we embarked on something we’d been promising ourselves – all three extended Lord of the Rings movies back to back. We managed two on Saturday, and the last one yesterday, and then we started on the extras on the Return, as we’d never watched them. One DVD to go!

During this televisual marathon, we were generally accompanied by all five cats, so hopefully they are settling down together.

And that was it. I plan to continue doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the week, as we both desperately need a break. Will be cooking up a storm on Wednesday for our traditional NYE gathering, but other than that, more slobbing.

Posts re xmas fud and this year’s books will be coming along soon. Ish.

another year over …

well, not quite – and I will be writing up some stuff about 2006; I bet you can all barely contain yourselves. I hope you all had a jolly time.

we had a very quiet festering season, which is exactly what we wanted. We collected kalunina from Temple Meads on Friday afternoon, and apart from a brief foray to North Street for veg and brunch on Saturday, we didn’t stir out of the house again* until we returned her to Bristol Parkway (why she used two different stations, lord knows). And we saw nobody apart from Pat and Dave (WANOLJ) who popped over on Xmyth Eve with some home made gifts of fudge and damson vodka.

mostly, we cooked and ate, as follows:

  • Friday: lasagne with embedded spinach, something that I tried once when we had some of the green stuff to use up, and it worked fabulously well. Just bung a load of fresh washed spinach in between the last meat and bechamel layers.
  • Saturday: lunch in cafe in North Street, boeuf stroganoff and chips for supper. I know, I know: chips. In my defence, it’s Rick Stein’s idea, and it works so well …
  • Sunday was 24 hour roast chili and lemon pork. I was so looking forward to this – and I was all geared up to do all the fiddly stuff on Saturday night. But it was disappointing – very dry, and no gravy juices. Don’t think I’d bother again. We had it with sweet potato/ordinary potato mash, which was delicious. And some sprouts.
  • The Day bought forth roast goose with apple sauce, red cabbage, sprouts, roast parsnips, roast spuds, home made sage and onion stuffing. All cooked as a team effort, dished up right on time at 3 p.m., and all perfect. I was well chuffed. We were far too stuffed for pudding, and barely managed anything else all day!
  • Boxing Day – cold cuts, including a gammon boiled and baked in spices according to the blessed Nigella, which was beautiful.

we also consumed home made sossidge rolls (go me), mince pies (dozens), walnut bread (go pete), grapes, and god knows what else.

tonight perlmonger is cooking his wonderful indian lentils with spinach – we’ve eaten *far* too well over the past few days, and we’re both suffering from it 🙂

*actually, we did go for a walk down the part of the River Avon trail yesterday, but it was miserable and damp, and the cold got right into my joints. My arthritis really is bothering me right now, but hey ho.

now we’re going to go into hibernation until NYE, when we will be holding our usual Open House. If anyone in the Bristol area (or further afield for that matter) would like to join us, drop me a mail to my LJ address, and I’ll furnish you with details.

sausage rolls

sausage rolls
Originally uploaded by ramtops.

I’m a good cook, but I’m not great at baking. And I’m lousy at pastry.

however, inspired by this recipe which claimed to be “easy flaky pastry”, I thought I’d give it a go.

I had to get perlmonger to come and grate for a while – it was hard work. But *I* rolled out the pastry, and rolled out the sausage meat, and brushed it all with eggy stuff, and put it in the oven, and baked them. And they were *gorgeous*.

the sage plant in the garden had died, so I made do with some rosemary, and a hefty grating of nutmeg.

go me, I think. And we only ate three – the rest have gone in the freezer.