Tuesday 15 November 2011

weekend - misty magical mornings and the count down is on...

The last few days I’ve felt a bit like a little girl on Christmas morning.  I don’t know what it is but there’s definitely something in the air.  The autumn days are mild and balmy. They begin with misty mornings that cast a strange, still white light, that lingers and makes me want to go and search in the loft for the Christmas decorations. I’m going to have to wait at least another 17 days to buy the Christmas tree…I don’t think I can do it before December 1st without being considered a total fruitcake!  But I could get some of the fairy lights down though…

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Saturday morning was the best…a bit like opening a Christmas present…it’s no secret that ironing isn’t my favourite occupation and so I have learnt to give myself an incentive to do it…(experience working with young people with special needs taught me that a reward is far better than a sanction)…my incentive on Saturday morning was TV…I turned on Sky Arts and was rewarded with the most amazing performance of the Paris Opera Ballet company’s rendition of  Rudolph Nureyev's ballet, Cinderella goes to Hollywood. As the dancers glided over the stage, I glided through my ironing…  The production was set in the depression of  1930’s to 40’s America.  I loved the stage design and the costumes, they were understated just simple lovely lines and gave me some more ideas for sewing projects I’ve been planning…including a dress for Christmas 

a bit of time doing more gliding...this time on the net and found this lovely free pattern on www.yourstylerocks.com 

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Food shopping followed.  I’m trying to buy a few extra things to stock up for the holidays.  We’ve all agreed that it’s not going to be an extravagant Christmas, present-wise this year, but it’s going to be all about family, friends, food and fun.  I’m not sure how many are coming yet and it may be a bit confusing as H is working both Christmas eve and Boxing day in London.  We offered taking Christmas to her, as her house will be empty, everyone having gone home for Christmas…but she insists on being  home for Christmas morning…so we’ll see what happens.  New year I think is our turn for extended family get together which we do once a month. It's a lovely tradition that began this summer with A's side of the family when his big sister came over from Iran and we gathered in each others houses.  

Christmas, stock-up-store-cupboard buys, included bottled chestnuts and dried cranberries. I couldn't resist trying out my pasty recipe using both items along with turkey mince.  You can find the recipe here.   I substituted the spinach, goats cheese and walnuts with the turkey mince, dried cranberries and chestnuts.  This time I  sauteed the onions and then cooked the mince, then added a little stock, bay leaves and the root vegetables, finally adding flour to thicken. I left the filling to cool before making the pasties, remembering to remove the bay leaves. I was than able to reduce the cooking time in the oven to about 25 to 30 minutes. 

The combination worked really well...unfortunately I was enjoying a nice phone conversation whilst they were baking and left them in a little too long, so the pastry was really brown...otherwise perfect...mmm...

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