Tuesday, 10 January 2012


Right, I am very behind the times, but all the jolly Christmasy business made my life rather hectic for a few weeks. The Christmas tree is down and M&S are selling chocolate Easter bunnies, so I guess it's time to move on. Most sad. But before I officially fold up my Rudolf panties until next year I'll give a quick run down of some festive bits & bobs.

A while ago I popped along to the Avenue Cooking School with my brother for one week to do 'The REALLY USEFUL cooking course'. 'Really useful' as in 'it's okay if you don't know how to crack an egg (my brother...seriously), we'll hold your hand through it..' It was a fun-fish-pie-victoria-sponge-lasagne-filled week in which we not only learnt the art of the perfect white sauce, but also how to tie a bow tie, change a car tyre & get wine out of the carpet. I don't consider myself to be a mini Nigella Lawson but like to think that since the course I've got a few Kitchen tricks up my sleeve - up my APRON - I mean (ah such a chef pun. Told you I had it). So while I was hanging in Durham right before Christmas my chums & I decided to have a mulled wine & mince pies party & being a 'really useful' semi-pro, I volunteered immediately to make the pies. Naah probs.
Well, slight probs. Mince meat, what? So...does it have like actual meat in it? How bizarre! Thank goodness I was stopped in my tracks before raiding Tescos meat & poultry section by a friend who happened to have a big jar of mince meat hanging about. Perhaps a little cheating, but I'll make the pastry, naah probs. Well, slight probs. Pastry - bake blind? Does that mean I should wear a blind fold? How bizarre! Thank goodness I was stopped once again by another friend before I set about tying a scarf over my eyes & getting involved with a hot oven - Bella you can buy ready-made pastry. Perhaps a bit more cheating, but I'll roll it out to maintain some kind of authenticity. 
Unfortunately the only pastry I could find in Tescos was pre-rolled pastry. So there was me - promising to make the creme de la creme of mince pies, inspired by a week's cooking course - with mince pies made from pre-rolled, pre-minced mince meat. Shame. At least I made them look pretty (sort of).

Then there was Christmas day. Too jolly. We spent it, like every year for as long as I can remember, with our friends the Bluffs who ACTUALLY had their own Christmas napkins made. Now that's what I call hardcore Christmas appreciation. They really know how it's done. Seriously, everything from the Christmas tree shaped soap to bottled water with Santa hats - their house is quite frankly the most wonderful Christmas grotto one could ever imagine.

And I rather enjoyed the abundance of Christmas socks poking around...most festive...


Various dinner parties - this one particularly jolly - there were 12 of us & we all had to bring a dish & cosidering most of the group have somewhat competitive sides, we ended up with some pretty spectacular dishes. The cherry pie a particular gem, created by a brother & sister who spent more of the day sourcing cherry liquor & pitted cherries in the most merticulous manner. 

 Alongside the dish I took with me, I made some owl shaped biscuits to earn myself some extra brownie points. They were a sucess, despite a little initial confusion - apparently they are somewhat phallic shaped...? I'm far too innocent to have even considered that, of course...

Then there were many carol services - one particularly fab one at St Pauls in Onslow Square called 'The Alternative Carol Service' at which Giovanna Marshall, King Charles, Stokes William & the chap from the Hoosiers sung (all amazing singers. Check 'em out)

Last but not least - slightly un-festive themed, but themed nonetheless - LMFAO.
Enough said.

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