Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Christmas cooking recollected in tranquillity

Here is my guest the kitten on Christmas day. Sadly he has gone home now. We miss him.

A proper family Christmas is terrific fun, but exhausting if you normally lead a quietish life. We had ten people for four days, so I had to concentrate hard on being a domestic goddess. Fortunately I’d bought myself a pre-Christmas present of Mary Berry’s Stress-Free Kitchen, the sort of title that attracts me. This has several easy but looks-as-if-you’ve-tried fish recipes. I wanted to cook three fishy dinners as one family member doesn’t eat meat, just poultry and fish. First evening we had a Delia-esque fish pie, topped with crumbled Weetabix (it’s good, honestly), second evening Mary Berry’s creamy Thai-style salmon (not Thai at all really but interesting, I thought) then turkey, then MB’s haddock peperonata. Turkey came from Norfolk, twice as expensive as Saino’s normal ones but did taste good. I forgot to put semolina on the potatoes as advised by Nigella – fine all the same, as had bought duck fat (N. again). Memo: must invest in a new dressing gown next year – not red satin though, because something tells me I won’t look like her anyway.

Mistakes this year: next time I won’t buy pre-peeled Brussels sprouts. And I won’t put orange zest in the brandy butter as it looked a bit peculiar, despite my mother’s elegant dish. Oh another thing, Nigella said to flame the pudding in vodka and it worked a treat. I always heat the alcohol before setting light to it. Another more mundane cooking tip – Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon (purple pot) cheers up any home-made soup made from left-overs, even sprouts.
Photo - sister-in-law gave me Christmas pot pourri so I put it on the table (photo credits Rory V)

Went to see the film Australia yesterday. Good epic scenic romantic stuff, two stories really, very long. Take your sandwiches. I’ll blog about recent reading another time. Currently on English Passengers which I’ve had for ages on my TBR list. Hard work but an impressive piece of writing and interesting.

A very happy new year to all readers and blogging friends.


Jan Jones said...

Happy New Year to you too, Susie. It certainly sounds as if it's time for you to put your feet up and relax a bit!

Flaming the pud in vodka - interesting idea, but I'm still using up my mother's really very cut-price brandy on ours. It's done four Christmas puds so far and shows no sign of running out.

monix said...

Happy New Year, Susie. Isn't it lovely when the Domestic Goddess days are over for another year?

galant said...

Happy New Year, Susie! Re the flaming voddy, I'd just cut out the pud and go straight to the vodka! Only joking, I don't actually like this spirit at all, much preferring gin (only Plymouth Gin will do, as I live in Devon!)
Love that silver basket with the pot pourri in it. My fave pot pourri is Culpeper's Elizabethan, but I'm not sure whether they still 'make' this.
Margaret Powling

Claude said...

Happy New Year to you. Thanks for the visit and the comment. I am having more and more trouble blogging these days, so your comment was spot on.

sablonneuse said...

A very Happy New Year to you too. All good wishes that 2009 brings you health, happiness and maybe another book . . . . .?

Susie Vereker said...

Thanks for your kind comments. Yes, am rather looking forward to getting away from keen domesticity and back to writing. Must finish next bk!