Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year!!

Have been neglecting my blog of late - excuse  - which I am sure you can appreciate that Christmas got in the way!
Christmas was wonderful yet exhausting.  It makes you wonder why we buy so much for what is effectively one day.
60 mince pies made some of which were made by my grandchildren who love to "help" - we had lots of fun and Christmas is all about children.

They are still at the stage where we have to look after Santa Claus and his reindeers. They carefully left out 2 mince pies and a glass of sherry for them and were delighted when Santa left an empty glass and crumbs the following day ....and a thank you card :)

Something I noticed this year is that family and friends are not eating as much as they did. Many commented on that uncomfortable feeling when you eat too much and were determined not to be silly.  Maybe it also a fact that as we get older maybe we don't need as much food and we are more health conscious.  Anyway good time had by all!!

Well another New Years Eve and we have already celebrated by going out to lunch and will enjoy the rest of the evening tucked up by the fire with a bottle of Champagne.....perfect.

Hope you have an equally enjoyable time!!

Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Continuing the Countdown....

Well the tree is up and sparkling, the presents are mostly bought but not wrapped yet.....hate wrapping...

Food to get and I think I am ahead of myself!

The one thing I don't complain about is cooking Christmas lunch.  I prepare as much as I possibly can the day before so that I have time to spend with family. I enjoy the buzz, the good smells and the whole thing coming together

If you cook regularly for your family, the Christmas meal in itself is just a bigger version with a little more attention to timing.

This reminds me of the conversation I had last week at a Christmas party. A man probably in his mid 70s was telling me how his wife had sadly passed away 3 years ago.  He said at first he relied on ready meals and support from his daughters.  Even though he was managing he longed for wholesome meals his wife used to cook.

So he said  he gave himself a "good talking to " and said to himself that it can't be so difficult and why not learn.  He then expanded on how to cook a chicken and to get crispy skin. I hadn't the heart to stop him as he was obviously pleased with his achievement. He then went on to the subject of casseroles and described in some considerable detail the pros and cons of embarking on these dishes.  One of the successes was his new slow cooker which he said was excellent and only used the energy of a small light bulb! He was so positive and clearly enjoyed spreading the word on how easy it was to produce a tasty and economic meal.  He said he had attended 3/4 short courses with Waitrose which surprised me as I didn't think they provided lessons.  I didn't have a chance to ask him more about them as he had quickly moved on ....not only had he embarked on acquiring cooking skills he additionally had taken up tennis and joined a local club and he found that "he wasn't bad" and could keep up with many who were much younger than himself.

I was left feeling exhausted after this chat but also full of admiration for someone of his years who was looking for the positives and enjoying himself, still learning and also making new friends.

...........back to the wrapping...................

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Christmas countdown - oven!!

I have mentioned this in the past but one of the greatest aids to household sanity is getting your oven professionally cleaned.

I have a double oven - top not used so much but the bottom one always ends up looking a disgrace.

Man from the "DomesticOvenCleaner"  came this morning at 8.30 and started the task.  I always start apologising for the state of burnt on grease and spillage and they always say it is nothing compared with others - which I am sure is the standard line they provide for embarrassed customers.  Its not as if I don't clean it but its like fighting a losing battle and I never get the spanking clean look I crave.

While he was busy scraping and soaking he asked me if I wanted my electric hob, extractor and hood to be done as well.  I hesitate for a split second and give the go ahead.  An hour and a half later I have gleaming appliances - I feel like inviting the neighbourhood to admire.

The cost of this exercise?  £80  I would say given the time, effort, materials and finished product - this was money well spent!  In the past I have bought many expensive cleaning oven products which claim to do miracles and have been very disappointed with the result.

So happy woman with this task ticked on the Christmas countdown!!