Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas with Family and Friends

Pictures from top - My sister-in-law and I in the kitchen at my in-law's house, the Christmas pudding, and my (fraternal) twin nephews who made it!

We had Christmas with my husband’s family, going to his parents’ house on Christmas Eve. My sister-in-law Gail and I cooked Christmas dinner on the day itself. It was the first time I had cooked such a big turkey (18 pounds) but it turned out really well, despite cooking much faster than anticipated! Dinner was very traditional, and the plum pudding at the end was as it has always been, except I think it was the most delicious we have ever had. My (fraternal) twin nephews made it, to my husband’s step-Grandmother’s old recipe (she was a cook in a manor house in the early part of the twentieth century), and it was really wonderful. My husband flamed it with brandy and vodka, a piece of holly from the garden crowning it off.

On Boxing Day we went to our friends’ house in Buckinghamshire, where we had a delicious lunch of ham with Cumberland Sauce, which our friend J had made from scratch. It was incredible. Our friends have just finished building their own house, and it was so beautifully decorated. Their Christmas tree was wonderful. I didn’t get a picture of it, but they have a galleried landing, so the ceiling in their family room is about thirty feet high. The tree was over twelve feet tall, and absolutely beautiful, decorated with ornaments that were not just pretty, but also had lots of meaning, including some their grown up sons had made when they were little. J is so good at decorating; her house always looks gorgeous at Christmas.

Today we were at home, and had friends come round with their lovely little girl, who is just 16 months old and full of beans. We had a really nice afternoon with them. I kept dinner really simple so I could visit, serving a buffet with cold marmalade roast ham, hot roast potatoes and salads. Dessert was a store-bought pudding - orange sponge with mincemeat and Grand Mariner served with vanilla custard, alongside mince pies and a bowl of sweet satsumas. I love easy meals!

Tomorrow we look forward to welcoming dear old friends (by this I mean the time we have known them, not their ages!!). They now live down in Dorset, and we only see them a few times a year, so every visit is precious. We are so looking forward to seeing them. Once again, I want to make sure I have lots of time to visit - so it’s a buffet for lunch, and Cottage Pie for dinner (which I will make tomorrow morning, chill and re-heat later). I just have to figure out what to make for dessert!

I hope you are having a wonderful Holiday Season, and finding some time to relax as well!