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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Is it really 24th December?

It's hard to believe. The sun is shining and temperatures are up in the high teens. We have taken our coffee breaks out in the garden, sitting on dining chairs in t-shirts. No doubt we will pay for it, we have weather warnings for the end of the week with snow and ice expected. But until then we shall enjoy what we have and if it is as nice tomorrow as today we will be having Christmas dinner in the garden!


It has been a busy week. On Sunday we took twenty or so mince pies round to Venka and Jordan as the daughter and son were round for lunch. Dave had made a list of what was in mincemeat as there is no translation for them and we thought it would be easier to do it that way. It's safe to say that they went down well with all of them, so much so that I have been asked to make some more and some shortbreads for a party to celebrate the daughter's 50th birtday back in September. So more mincemeat has had to be made. They can be our 'present' to her.
Something for us...cheese scones, yum

Monday we made a hundred or so biscuits and iced them all for the neighbours etc. As well as the vanilla and chocolate shortbread we made ginger snowmen...which we had to taste just in case...they were lovely and I will certainly be making them again. They took up the whole day and have now been delivered and appreciated. Venka has had her cake, with an explaination about what it is. She was a bit overwhelmed, but whether it was the cake, biscuits or the photos we had printed out of the puppy, which it seems they are all besotted with, we have no idea. Lets hope it continues when shw grows up. She is off the chain at the moment and living in the recently vacated pig pen. She will be fine in there till the new weaners arrive in spring.




Ginger snowmwn. Easy to make and delicious,

 http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/gingerbread-bunting


The marzipan just about stretched to two cakes


We decided to add the plastic snowmen and tree as they are traditional, but the rest is more modern with pearlised snowflakes

We favour the more simple approach for our own



Yesterday we went into the city for lunch with a group of people we met over the summer, and some new ones. It was a get-together organised by David Morgan, the plant grower, and his partner Graham and it was a really nice event. We had a laugh and caught up with news...and on top of that had a nice meal. Unfortunately I had been awake since 3am and that meant we were shattered by the time we got home after calling in for some shopping, and had to give a party given by an ex-pat in the village a miss.

We both had baked brie with almonds and blueberry jam (I could make them a chutney thet would work better)

Dave's steak and chips with peppercorn sauce. It smelt wonderful and he thoroughly enjoyed it

Crusted salmon, hollandaise sauce and scrummy potatoes. I can't eat big meals any more and we gave pudding a miss.

Today I have been cooking. I am my mother's daughter and I find it hard not to do too much. I hope I have only done as much as we will eat. All thet remains to do tomorrow is potatoes and cream for the trifle. I made an extra pud for Dave, a half sized baked vanilla and chocolate cheesecake. He would rather  have that than trifle....though he might change his mind as I used the raspberries out of the rakia wih some from the freezer. You can still have boozy trifle even if you can't get sherry!
Raspberry rakia

Home made fruity stuffing, bread sauce, apple sauce and Dave's goose breast, stuffed and wrapped in serrano ham, will have some thin pork fat sliced and laid over as there is no skin

Trifle, rather full with egg custard. We only have UHT cream so we won't have much on it.

You've heard of micro herbs? These are micro sprouts and caulis, but they are all our's. The caulis are going manky so we thought we had better use them

Nut roast

Grab and go olive and garlic and cheese and garlic bread sticks. Dry and plain for when you want something to chew on

Chocolate and vanilla cheesecake

You have to have sausage rolls don't you. These are made with my home made veggie sausages

We have had lots of ding dongs on the doorbell today. Dave took Venka and Jordan to the market and since he came back he has been constantly answering the bell, recieving cards from our British friends (they won't all come in) and small gifts from the neighbours. Dave went round to our rear neighbours to see how Angel was as we had been told he would be in hospital until next week. But he was home and they were so pleased to see him, though Angel is very frail and showing his 83 years. They have help from a lady in the village and Dave has said he will help with chopping wood and such if they need him. Bless them, lovely people.
Cake from our Russian neighbour

Chocolate and biscuits from our rear neighbours

A small bottle of rakia from Baba Danke........

....And some dried peppers
And, of course, we are still eating the goodies sent by my friend Nigel. I am limiting my smarties to make them last longer, the chocolate coins have gone and the Advent calendars are finished today.

All the animals have been enjoying the better weather. Splash spends a lot of the day outside playing and  hunting and being chased by chickens and ducks. The dogs have also been playing and Bonnie has a spring in her step. albeit a lame one. The fowl are spending their time either sunbathing or scratching about at the far end of the plot. The bees have even been out and Dave says they are doing housework, whatever that means.
The dogs look a bit bewildered with this weather

It's a bit hot mum....

Both after the same ball
And rest...

Before boxing himself.....

....or Dave. I'll 'ave yer....

As far as wildlife goes, there has been a lot of twittering going on as the birds enjoy the better weather. The hawfinches are still about and the black redstarts. They are hard to photograph with the sun being so low. The pine martens are screeching and chasing each other around the garden, Dave sees them when he lets the dogs out early. Splash doesn't take much encouragement to come in when they are about...he has no wish to meet them!

There have been no dramas with the Christmas tree. As expected, Splash desperately wanted to get up there to play with the shiny balls, but hanging plenty low means that when he has gone on there he has not needed to climb But like a naughty child who wants because you say no, if you don't make a fuss (or just squirt him with a syringe of water) he has more or less lost interest. Possible that wouldn't have happened if it had been cold and murky still outside and he had wanted to stay in.
No-one can see me.....

....this is fun....

////just see if I can reach that one....

Yesterday my blog reached 60.ooo page views and I would like to thank readers old and new for continuing to support and encourage, especially those who leave comments. Much appreciated.

So all that remains today is to wish everyone a happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2015. I hope you all get what you wish for.

7 comments:

  1. Wow! I am in awe of your baking skills. I hope you both have a great Christmas. With best wishes from Northern Ireland.

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    1. Thank you Lindsay, have a great day yourself

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    2. Ooops, sorry, I mean Lindsey (blush)

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    3. My, you sure do a lot of baking and it all looks so good. That is my least favorite thing to do, so I don't do much of it. Your dogs look so cute in their Santa hats and of course, Splash is adorable. Merry Christmas to all!

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    4. Yes, baking is a hobby I came larte to. But I am always looking for a way to use eggs and I would rather make a cake and freeze it than waste any fruit. But a lot of what I make at this time of year is given away. It is good manners to always take something when visiting a neighbour to always handy to have something available, even if it's just a couple of slices of cake.

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  2. Enjoyed your post - can't believe how much food you have made! All looks delicious. :-)
    Love the hawfinch shot, not seen any of them in Brittany, sadly. Hope you had/are having a great Crimbo!

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    1. I can't help doing too much food, it's in my genes! Mum was a cook and always did too much. I try to make sure I make things that will freeze or which we can share with neighbours. I will be doing nothing for the next few days, today was spent making the biscuits and mince pies for the neighbours and some ordered birthday cards. Tomorrow is my boxing day. Report on Christmas dinner coming soon!

      It's hard getting shots of birds in the garden, there are fences, many cables and low sun to get in the way. I usually end up taking dozens just to get one half decent one, but I will never have the patience, or be nimble enough to get the sort of lovely shots you get.

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