Xmas Rated

Along side the homemade Xmas rated (pear, rum and raisin) Jam (a neighbour Sandra grabbed the last three jars before heading to be with family in France for the holidays), a few of these festive, visual or gastronomic delights seem to be a bit naughty as well! The slurry of Christmas movies we have subjected ourselves to, let alone the slightly boozy puds and exotic meats, well I will say again, I am truly Christmassed out. Mind you, Laura Linney’s looking good in ‘Love Actually’! Remember ‘The tales of the City’? A classic from channel fours past, best not forgotten… This year our pigs in blankets were actually chickens in blankets – don’t tell anyone. Our turkey actually had a name, Kelly (bronze) and the bird arrived with exact cooking instructions plus a thermometer and a box of maldon sea salt. I shared a video of Xmas lunch, so you might remember that it was in the whole, a straightforward affair. However we continued to feast on Kelly and the large joint of ham with a second ‘Mock Roasty’ on Boxing Day. Why go with the cold cuts and pickles when for the sake of deep frying some cooked, peeled potatoes (microwaved) and as I always do, heat pre blanched vegetables, glaze the pre cooked carrots in sugar, a splash of water, butter and a pinch of salt and microwave blanched green beans, cauliflower or whatever. Peas easily cooked from frozen. A second ‘Mock Roasty’ is so easy at this point. Slice the meat cold and reheat in the gravy. Save the cold cuts for the 27th as we did. Turkey breast, gammon ham, cheddar, Stilton, branston (or home made pickle), cornichons / gherkins, baby beets and buttered baguette, the only word for it is ‘Wow’. Okay the slurry comes in the choices of Xmas movies, certainly not the food. We’ve had chitty chitty bang bang, which the children loved (hated it last year), Charlie and the chocolate factory, The Wizard of Oz and for us grown ups we’ve entertained ‘The Holiday’, ‘New Years Eve’, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and most recently, ‘Love Actually’. At this very moment we are enjoying the BBC’s new rendition of ‘Poirot’ – isn’t John Malcovich a rare talent?

One small ‘Q and A’. What did I do with the rest of Kelly the turkey and the ham joint? The freezer of course, as it won’t last until New Year’s Day. Nestling besides the frozen turkey gravy and the last of the blanched sprouts! Carrots don’t freeze well, so we’ll steam and glaze them on the day.

Moral dilemma tonight as we had veal escalopes. I last enjoyed veal many years ago when minced veal was just £1.00 per lb. the purchase was mostly based on price back then, the ethics of cost I guess, not about the age of animal at slaughter. But tonight’s indulgence was just shy of £30 per kilo. Wow – have we stopped selling the entire male population of male calf births (in the U.K. and Ireland) to our French cousins? I hope that Veal is back on the menu here at home, as so many livestock farmers benefit from the less discounted sales price with a real market lead by demand. We try and be honest and open with the children about why farm animals exist, it is all a diplomatic consideration, just enough info to warrant why things are so…

Okay it’s getting late and almost time to say goodbye to Xmas and welcome in the New Year. A few words from me, maybe over the weekend, but for now, ‘Au Revoir’.

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A Gay Dad reflecting on life in the Shires of England with my not so famous five and two rapscallion Dalmatian hounds

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