Christmas Countdown. The big day is nearly here. Could you be interested in any time saving tips, on the run up to that festive feast. No. Of course not, you are not worried, or panicked, no doubt you are sitting down, with your feet up watching your favourite Christmas movie. Or, maybe you are tearing your hair out, bitting those finger nails & wondering how you are going to cope? Have a read, you might find something to assist you.
Lots of things can be prepared, ahead of the big day, saving you time & allowing you to demonstrate just how good a hostess you are:
Laying the festive table, the day before is alway a good idea. Delegate the task to someone else and check that all is in order, with nothing forgotten. Make sure you have enough glasses for all those festive drinks. Don’t stress if they are mis-matched. No one will notice, as long as they have a drink.
Peel the spuds & par boil them. place in a bowl, & toss in whichever hot oil you are using, on the day.
If you are serving mash, invest in a potato ricer. No only can you have your own, cheap, cauliflower, brocolli or carrot rice. It saves time trying to mash those lumps out. Start a new trend, to impress your guests. Place the rice potato in a serving dish, & hand butter or oil seperately. (will satisfy all dietry requirements!)
Of course, if you have chosen a cold starter, this can be prepared the day before. Was salad veg ready & wrap in kitchen towels & store in the fridge.
Slice carrots & celery sticks into chunky strips. Plave in a casserole or roasting tin. Sprinle with chopped parsley & pop in the oven to cook. Drain, reserving the stock for the gravy. & serve. (Any root veg can be cooked in the same way)
Make your gravy the day before, thicker than usual. when the Turkey is cooked pour some of the juices from the roasting tin, into the made gravy to add more flavour & thin it down. If lumpy, pass it through a sieve.
If you need a quick extra pud. Keep a shop bought pastry case to hand. Spread mincemeat over the base & arrange apple slices on top. Grate over some marzipan & bake. Sprinkle with icing sugar & serve.
Hope you find some of this useful. Just remember, delegation is the key. This is after all, just another roast dinner. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Above all. ENJOY. It is your Christmas too.
Share our blog on Social Media or print out a recipe.
While the world paused for thought at the 11th Hour of the 11th day of the 11th month remembering the courageous young men & women who lost their lives in WW1, Remembrance, then turned to my own family. Only last Wednesday, I pushed the pooch into the back of my car & set off to West Sussex to see my brother. Over the years, I cannot say that we have been close. Living miles apart from each other didn’t help – that’s what I told myself – but in reality we both perceived things in different ways & were both – mainly me – too stubborn to talk about our feelings & emotions.
Having suffered mental health issues since a teenage & being diagnosed with Bipolar in later life, I now know I wasn’t the easiest person to get on with. With reality comes the dawning that something has to be done about it. But what? I spent many years in therapy, being told to “hold on to that positive thought, acknowledge it & let it go”. Didn’t seem to work for me. To be honest, I didn’t even know what they were taking about. I can only describe it as clambering up a crumbling cliff side. As soon as you think you are reaching the top, bits of stone & chalk start sliding under your feet & you slip back again & on and on the process goes. Of course, all this was hidden from the people around me. I just kept it to myself. When work colleagues found out I’d had a nervous break down, they all said “No. I don’t believe it, you are always so, jolly & happy, nothing worries you”. But, you see, that’s what its all about. Shame & people knowing. With that shame & silence, monsters grow in our minds, which are difficult to cope with. If we remain silent & ashamed these monsters can take over. So seeking help & talking, is a must.
I digress. Having finally reached Sussex, through the pouring wind & rain & let my pooch, leap the break waters on the beach like a racehorse, my brother & I took afternoon tea in a small local hotel. Delightful. I thought.
Now. I must say at this point, the company was amazing. We spent a good couple of hours in conversation & I haven’t laughed so much in years, but, the food was appalling. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with cheap sliced bread with hardly any filling, but when it is priced at £31 per person, I think they could have done a bit better. Being a cook myself truffleicious.org I pride myself on fresh home made food, which is value for money. This afternoon tea, certainly wasn’t. The scones were hard & the cakes of dubious quality. Hey ho. that’s only my opinion. Did notice another two tea takers ask for a doggy bag.
Tea concluded we set off into the dark, wet & windy gloom of a late afternoon in November.
I had booked myself & the pooch into St Marys Gate Inn in beautiful Arundel, opposite the Castle & next door to the Gothic Cathedral. I had been a frequenter of this quaint little watering hole about 45 years ago & my how things have changed. The establishment has been transformed from a gloomy pub, into a very smart Inn with comfortable accommodation, restaurant & cosy bar, complete with open log fires. Another great plus for me, when booking was that it is dog friendly. On arrival being greeted by the pubs five resident fur balls, was a delight. The staff & jolly landlady were also friendly & house trained.
St Mary’s Gate Inn. A right royal welcome
Breakfast is served
After settling into my room & giving the pooch a quick trot around Arundel Park. It was time to retire to the bar. My brother had returned, with his two lovely sons – my nephews – who I had not seen for more years than I care to remember. Bit embarrassing for them to be reminded of when they were about 6 years old. Photos being called for, Gypsy who had settled down in the brick hearth of a large fire place – unlit, not trying to toast her -, decided it was time for her to get in on the act. Now, we were sitting on a rather comfortable leather sofa, in front of a low table. Picking her moment, when one of the nephews had his camera, trained on us. Gypsy leapt, from a lying down position, straight on top of us. 28 kilos of furry Labrador proceeded to settle herself comfortably on our laps & pose for the said photograph. Needless to say a great time was had by all, with a couple of us feeling a bit worse for wear, in the morning. It was really great to talk and I shan’t leave it so long next time.
Next morning, after a freshly cooked breakfast, which Gypsy was determined to share, I set of for home, reflecting on the most enjoyable time we had, together & that it really is good to talk & drive out those monsters.
Now there are three morals to this ramble. Those being:
Not everything that is expensive is good.
Make time & TALK to your family & friends.
and finally – to me the most important:
If you suffer from mental health problems, DON’T try to hide it & suffer in silence. It is good to talk & write things down. I found that writing this blog was very cathartic. Long healthy walks with my dog are also a great benefit & most of all meeting my brother & feeling good about myself.
If you wish to leave a comment, it will be gratefully accepted.
Share our blog on Social Media or print out a recipe.