Another lovely Christmas has been enjoyed by us all. We have visited all our immediate family and done rather well visiting our “big” family too i.e. Anuties, Uncles and cousins. I have eaten and drunk to excess practically every day, unfortunately not of plant foods and juices!
I have however, amongst the rich and unhealthy foods, also eaten lots of plant foods which is easy to do at this time of year as it is citrus time and I love all the citrus fruits, such as these lovely tangerines. I have enjoyed some fruity smoothies but not enough, in part because we have been away visiting a lot. When I am at home I do make sure we eat lots of fruits and veggies. If I give Harvey a little bowl of fruit, all prepared and easy to eat he does munch his way through it so he gets some goodness in amongst the over indulgence of chocolate and rich foods. I find that if I have an appealing plate of fruit at the ready, I can graze on it while cooking instead of something more fattening.
Our Christmas festivities began in earnest on Christmas Eve. I made a pheasant casserole with the 2 pheasants BJ gave me. This is a Delia Smith recipe and it is excellent. The pheasant is cooked with bacon and mushrooms in Madeira and is one of my favourite casseroles.
We ate it with mashed potato, carrots and broccoli and it was the first of many fine meals we enjoyed over the Christmas period.On the evening of Christmas Eve we hosted my Aunty Marion, cousins Daniel and Bruce and their families for an evening of drinks and nibbles.
It was a casual and relaxed evening which is just how I like it.Christmas Day 2014.
As well as the usual present frenzy, we enjoyed a cocktail while the turkey cooked. I am not sure I have had a Martini before – shaken, not stirred – but it was rather pleasant. Quite strong though so one was enough!
Enjoyed with smoked salmon blinis while we played games. For lunch we had starters of prawn cocktail and avocado with salad.
Followed by roast turkey with all the trimmings. Harvey made the cranberry sauce the day before using Helen’s recipe and it was excellent.
Unfortunately this appears to be the last photo I managed on Christmas Day – maybe the cocktails were stronger than I first thought! On Boxing Day we went down to one of my favourite places in the world; Lyme Regis. We stayed with my sister Lucy and it was wonderful. Lucy always serves lots of veggies which I like and lunch time was no exception. We had a really well cooked roast pork with mash, a tray of oven roasted veggies, green beans and a fantastic red cabbage Vietnamese style salad. It was dressed with limes, chilli and Thai fish sauce and tasted amazing. I will share the recipe when I make it which we can guarantee I will. In the evening we went to Uncle Clive’s for supper with my cousins. They had built this charming Christmas grotto for their grandchildren. My Uncle has lived in this house for most of my lifetime and I have sat and enjoyed so many meals round this table over the years and this was another. Such a lovely occasion with so many of my family there. I felt very lucky. I always like coming here, to their home, which is always a pleasure to visit, in part because my Aunty is an exceptional cook. Back in Lyme the boys had commandeered the kitchen table for doing a puzzle which is a great use of time on a relaxing Christmas holiday day. We decided to take a break from cooking and strolled instead in to town to head to the bakery. Whenever I visit Lyme Regis I like to stroll along the seafront. Such a picturesque town, snuggled in to Lyme Bay with is lovely views. The Town Mill Bakery was as busy as ever. I had some muesli followed by granary sourdough with raspberry jam and a coffee. All completely deeeeelicious! These two gorgeous boys have lots of fun together.
I love these pictures of them jumping down the pebble part of the beach.
A cloudless blue sky. This little stretch of the seafront houses must be one of the prettiest I know of. We walked around the bay, past the harbour and on to the Cobb.
It looks as if Lara is leaning to the left but she is actually standing up straight. It is the Cobb wall which is leaning to the right and it is this huge wall which protects all the boats in the harbour. Back at Lucy’s house Martha found a cosy spot to sit in the sunshine and relax. Ian and Helen joined us for lunch and we had a lovely time. The only lull over the entire festive period was watching ‘Mr Turner’, a film I had been looking forward to seeing but which was so disappointing. 2 and a half hours of the usually impressive Timothy Spall grunting, snuffling and rutting like a pig through a series of sets which were too pristine, with little dialogue or action of any interest. At the end of the film we felt we knew little more about Turner’s life than we did before. Me with my sister Lucy. After the stupor of Mr Turner we had a lively evening playing Racing Demons which was far more fun.
Lucy’s house has a lovely view of the sea and it is always a pleasure to visit and hard to leave. This time was no exception. I was fortunate enough though to be heading for Chichester to visit my sister Holly and my sister Abi and her family joined us too. Another day, another dinner table, another lovely meal. Holly and her hubby Richard live in a converted chapel which has created a huge and very impressive home and it was a very comfortable place to relax in. Tempting to just sit and eat and drink some more but we managed to don walking boots and head out for a walk. It was sunny and cold which I think is great for walking in. The light makes everywhere look pretty and the coldness makes you walk perhaps more briskly than you might otherwise and it brings a rosy glow to faces. It was a pretty walk across flat countryside. Quite muddy in places! As the sun began to set, the frost had not melted all day which created a very pretty landscape. Definitely time to go in and relax and eat and make merry. We were joined by Lucy and Emily and dined on lighter fare than we have recently; melon followed by salmon with a lovely salad of red onion, fennel, oranges and pomegranate in a zesty dressing. That is another recipe I will be sharing when I make it at home.
We were entertained throughout the evening by three minstrels who produced multiple performances for us in a variety of weird and wonderful costumes.
I am now back at home, needing larger clothes ! I have overeaten by millions of calories every day and feel unhealthy as a result of it. However, I have had a lot of fun, been surrounded by many of the people I care about the most, which is what Christmas is all about; being with family. Thank you to all my hosts for a truly wonderful Christmas.