Saturday 22 December 2012

Countdown to Christmas!

Everyone I've seen this week has asked me the same question "Are you ready for Christmas yet?"

The truthful answer is that today is the first day that I've felt anything close to being prepared for the onslaught of gift-giving and gluttony that is imminently approaching. It's just as well that I've finally bought a few presents and received our mega grocery order, given that we now know that the Mayans' predictions were wrong and the world hasn't ended after all...!

This year will be the first time that my boyfriend and I will spend Christmas Day together in our own little flat, with just our little cat for company. To be honest, we feel a bit like a couple of children pretending to be grownups...we literally burst into hysterics when we deposited our seemingly average-sized fir tree in our lounge and realised that it actually took up most of the available floor space! Thankfully my man was able to rearrange some of the furniture, otherwise we've have been forced to watch the seasonal TV specials from between its bushy branches!

I've never had a "real" tree before, and love how the scent of the pine needles instantly makes me feel festive. It might sound pathetic, but as someone mildly obsessed with order I was also very excited about being able to theme the colours of our tree decorations! I'm pretty impressed with our initial arrangement of baubles and beads...I think my boyfriend must be scratching his head in amazed admiration of his handiwork!

Why does it feel like so much advanced preparation is needed for the countdown to 25th December?! I'd never normally write a meal plan, preferring to see which ingredients need using up and throwing a different dish together based on our mood that day. But people talking in the news and on Twitter had me panicking about shops selling out of meat and vegetables, so I decided that for once it would be safer to plan ahead than risk disappointment on the big day.

Between now and Boxing Day I'll be cooking a few of our favourite dishes, plus testing out a couple of new recipes and no doubt tucking into faaaaaar too many chocolates! Given that it's the season to be jolly, I might also allow myself to sip a couple of sloe gins (see Day #344 of #Project366) on the rocks or as a warming winter cocktail...

Counting down to Christmas 2012:

Saturday: Using up the remains of last weekend's roast chicken in an adapted version of Pieminister's "Leftovers" pie from their excellent cookbook

Sunday: Classic comfort food in the form of spicy sausage stew with the best chorizo from Flavours of Spain (purchased on a recent trip to Brockley Market)

Monday: Reminiscing about our Moroccan holiday this time two years ago with a lamb shoulder fillet slow-cooked as a tagine and served alongside my fruity couscous

Tuesday - Christmas Day: There's no point cooking a whole turkey for just the two of us, and my boyfriend has vetoed anything involving Brussels sprouts! Like Nigel Slater, I far prefer the richer dark meat anyway, so we've chosen an alternative festive feast of gamey goose breast with honey-roasted carrots, creamy potato dauphinoise and iron-rich spinach (plus maybe some top-quality sausage stuffing).

For dessert, I'm going to attempt to make these mini chocolate and amaretto Yule logs by The Little Loaf...don't they look cute?! I'm not confident when it comes to baking though, so I might have an amaretto tiramisu on standby aswell, just incase my sponge fails to rise or refuses to roll!

Wednesday - Boxing Day: Treating ourselves with a couple of juicy rump steaks and thyme-scented potato wedges

On Thursday I'm then returning to Dorset to catch up with my parents and Cornish nan, where I'll no doubt graze on plenty of homemade glazed ham, plus The Dip Society's Mackerelata, and the Cornish Blue cheese and pate with pear and walnut that I bought from Taste of Christmas. My boyfriend and I will both meet up again in London on New Years's Eve...though we have no idea how we're celebrating the end of 2012 yet!

Whatever you're planning to serve up when the big day finally arrives, I hope that you have a very merry Christmas and don't spend the entire day in the kitchen...!

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