We have had an interesting time. One of my favourite 'down-time' things to do is enjoy cooking in a relaxed, no pressure manner. However, this year our landlord gave the thumbs up for the kitchen renovation, so it was a bit touch and go as to whether we would actually have an oven to use on the big day! In the end we did, but that meant Christmas food shopping was literally just before the big day, although I was surprised how quiet it was doing everything last minute, so it worked out OK in the end.
So I guess you want to see kitchen pics! I would too!
We went from this with 2 working days to go....
To this, I know it looks done, but none of the tiles are grouted, no plinths around the cupboards, new skirting boards not in place yet, and still lots of white gloss paint needed, appliance heights need sorting....so i think there is still 2-3 days work left to do.
But the best part is the oven got wired in just in time, which was good because the old oven is in the garden, and with all the rain we've had it would have been camp stove with 2 elements and a very dodgy microwave as the only alternative. I am loving the tiles, and I am really loving the wall colour, so every morning I feel like I am walking into someone elses's kitchen!
So this was the temporary kitchen which we put in the lounge, and it actually worked really well....like going back to New Zealand open plan living! Damn lucky the fridge fitted behind the door! Just!
We were joined with my sister and her BF from Cambridge for Christmas, in fact they are still here for this weekend, but it has been very relaxed, and lovely to have extra helping hands around! Plus of course Courtney is back from Uni for 3 weeks, and her BF arrives for a few days today. So Even though Millie and Ella left us for New Zealand, we have been just as busy as a household! And we are only a Skype call away from the girls, so it's been pretty cool.
They didn't want to pose for a normal photo at Heathrow - typical!
So Christmas morning the team decided Eggs Benedict was the order of the day with bubbly. How civilised I must say, eh what! At least I didn't curdle the proper home made hollandaise sauce! It was ace!!
Next up the 'turkey baby' that we had prepared the day before. Mark and I (and kids) are rather partial to a 3 bird roast. It's not as hard as you'd think, and so worth the effort. Once you've had this, you would not go back to turkey on its own, the flavours are amazing, and so juicy.
De bone your outer bird, we usually use a really large chicken to keep costs down, but we couldn't get one big enough, so we opted for a small turkey from the local farmer's market this year. You cut down the side of the backbone, to open butterfly styley, leave the legs and wings intact on the outside, but removing all the inner bones, creating a big open cavity. You lay a layer of christmassy sausage, then the next 'bird' although we just use breasts (duck) and repeat with pheasant. Then my last layer is a normal breadcrumb style stuffing, with fruit/ nuts/ herbs.
Then you start sewing it up - which is where the teddy bear stitch I learned about 24 years ago comes in handy to create an invisible seam. Once you have sewn it back together it looks like a normal turkey again! Only better on the inside! I like to cover with a lattice of streaky bacon. And then you cook it based on the weight, as you would for roast poultry.
The beauty of this is I think the layers of sausage meat on the inside keep the turkey meat much moister than usual, so it's a win win.
So we sat down to a proper Christmas meal after all - yay for the kitchen guys getting it done to usable status just in time, and yay to having Emma and Nick here to help us unpack everything into it, and restore normal working order to the lounge and house in general!
And so we sit in front of the fire each night, with the tree blinking each evening watching the rain come down outside watching the Christmas tellybox, and generally eating too much chocolate and other festive food! There is deffo something magical about a winter Christmas, rather than the hot ones in NZ! Although I could handle a beach right now!!
We are still managing snippets of work, trips to the post office and so on in between the leftovers!
Here's wishing you all a wonderful New Year, we'll see you on the other side, it's nearly 2013!!! Flipping Eck!!