Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Only two more sleeps till Santa Claus comes, and all seems to be going according to schedule.  My last Xmas present was delivered today by Dave, my postie, and I had to refrain from hugging him!  I even ordered two new dog beds from Pets at Home yesterday with a special 20% internet discount, and much to my amazement they arrived today too!  The only fly in my ointment was that Wilfred decided to roll in some foul smelling substance on his walk this morning, so he doesn’t deserve his clean bed-clothes really!   So I am all wrapped and labeled and even have some spare gift wrap available so that when my children do their last minute wrapping, I can still remain calm and in control!  I still have a couple of rogue Christmas cards that need delivering and I am wondering who I shall delegate that to tomorrow!

My Ocado delivery actually arrived early and everything was present and correct except for a punnet of cress .. on the basis that my chickens are on a go slow, egg and cress sandwiches are off the menu so it isn’t a problem anyway!

Today seemed like a good time to refresh my first table arrangement that I made about 10 days ago, so I stripped it completely, salvaged all the reusable bits, and added fresh greenery, mistletoe and some new red roses.  It seems to look a bit more wild than my first one, but it will do for another week at least.


I had hoped to make another batch of pastry today as I am clean out of mince pies, but got distracted by laying the table for Christmas Day instead.  So that can be a job for tomorrow morning along with the big house clean.  Wish that could be delegated too!  And now it is time to watch my all time favorite Crimbo movie … Love Actually ..  I have made a pact with my three girls that every Christmas we have to all sit down together with a boxes of Celebrations and tissues and watch what is probably my all time favorite chick flick.  And every time I watch it, I still salivate at the scene when the extremely fit,hot, bronzed, honed young man (Rodrigo Santoro) is trying to get with the dumb american girl (Laura Linney) and she seems to think talking to her barking brother is more important than him .. epic fail!!




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Well I am now beginning to question my sanity!  Last night I had a quick check to see what time M & S opened today, as the most important thing on my list today was to secure the turkey.  To my surprise for the next couple of days it opens at 7am, so possibly because I like to be ahead of the game, or crowds in this situation, I set my alarm for the crack of sparrows and found my self driving into Dorking before it was light!  And I am happy to report that my dawn mission paid off.  Firstly the car park was empty.  Not only did I get the last two free range Turkey’s in the chiller, I was offered by a lovely girl (shop assistant) a whole side of fresh salmon for £5 which I have stashed in my freezer for a later date!  I managed to fill up a little trolley in no time, and at the checkout was greeted by a friend of mine who was working on the till, so I had a natter whilst loading my groceries into my own free carrier bags.  All in all a very stress free and pleasant experience although a little early in the day!

On returning home, I quickly prepared my Delia Smith Parmesan Parsnips, and they are open freezing now, whilst I write this.  My final pre-Christmas job on the list for today was to make a dining room table decoration.  I managed to buy some beautiful red roses that had been tipped in gold glitter, and some bronze sprayed thistles from M & S earlier, totaling £11.  I foraged in the garden for greenery and mistletoe, and then made a display pushed into oasis that was secured to a plastic plant saucer.  I have to say I was pleased with the outcome, and am enjoying the new-found florist within me!

Tomorrow I plan to rejuvenate the display that I made last week, with some fresh greenery, and take delivery of my ridiculously expensive Ocado shop, which I booked back in October …..  always an early bird eh!?

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Well the countdown to Christmas is truly underway with less than a week to go!  I am working through my list, with a couple of cooking jobs scheduled for today and yet another delivery of mistletoe to my local Kingfisher Farm Shop.  I was just reading an article on the BBC website that mistletoe is a dying species and under threat of extinction!  Not sure I should be harvesting it daily, but the mistletoe season is very short so I can’t miss this opportunity!

I now have to admit, that I only completed one of my pre Christmas cooking tasks today due to time constraints!  I have made the Delia Smith Cranberry and Orange Relish, to go with our turkey, and popped it in the freezer.  Another very simple recipe and so much nicer than the shop bought variety  …  it’s such a beautiful vibrant burgundy colour laced with Port and packed with the zingy flavour of fresh cranberries.  Got a house full of family to entertain tomorrow, so I think it’s unlikely that my Parmesan Parsnips will be prepared!  It’s ok though …  everything is under control (famous last words!).

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So today is the day to get ahead with the preparation of some food items, that will  make the big day less stressful and more enjoyable to us domestic godesses!   I made a double lot of of the delicious orange pastry that I use for my mince pies, and I also invented a fruity stuffing to go with my Christmas day Turkey.  I made the mincemeat about a month ago, which was so easy, and if you haven’t made any yet and have a minute over the weekend, I always use a Delia Smith recipe which is quick and idiot proof!  Below are the three stages of development from the mincemeat prior to being cooked, then in the jars waiting followed by the finished article!

As for the orange pastry… I think I originally got this recipe from my dear friend Mrs Mad, and I have since passed it to all my friends as it is the most delicious pastry recipe I have ever used.

In a food processor, combine 1lb plain flour, with 12oz butter and 6oz icing sugar.  Then add the zest and juice of an orange and combine until it forms a dough. This can then be kept in the fridge and used as required.

The next job that was ticked off my list today was making the stuffing for Christmas day.  I prefer a non-meaty stuffing and couldn’t find a recipe for what I fancied, so I softened an onion with some smoked garlic, added some chopped chestnuts, apricots, an apple, some sage, juice and zest of a lemon, some fresh white breadcrumbs with heaps of seasoning and bound it with one of my freshly laid eggs.  Then I had a vision and decided to roll it into two long log shapes, in cling film, ready for the freezer, so that on the big day I can cook it and slice it into perfect portions making it so simple to serve whilst looking aesthetically pleasing!  After all, you eat with your eyes!!

Next job will be my cranberry sauce … the cranberries arrived in my Tescos delivery but I forgot to order an orange .. dementia again!!

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I can turn my hand to most things, and my very good friend who is also an amazing florist, Kim Shaw did a little pre-Crimbo flower demonstration last week.  She inspired me and it encouraged me to have a go at a rustic fruity Christmas table decoration for my lounge.  All the greenery came free of charge from my garden, small apples from my local farm shop, and I recycled some dried clementines, cinnamon, chillies and gold twigs from an arrangement from last year.  I spent under £6 on 2 bunches of red roses from Waitrose and a Church candle from Homebase and below is the result!

Now back to my things to do list, because today I need to make some mince pies to welcome my husband back home from a month in Australia!  Recipe to follow tomorrow for my homemade mince meat and crispy orange pastry …. be prepared to drool!

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Time is running out fast to get all those jobs done before the big day!  Keep reading my blog for the count down to Christmas hints and tips for a hassle free life!

Festive tree

It's beginning to look like Christmas

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