Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Dismantling Christmas

I have to take a break and do some blogging – I have been pottering away for hours sorting out and packing away the remains of Christmas. When we got back last night, we found the girls had done all the sensible things before they left – set the alarm, turned down the heating, and retrieved Laurence’s scarf and hat [I had imagined I would return to find them in a damp pile in the middle of the lawn where he had melted away!] but there’s still the tree, the baubles, the Christmas crockery to be dealt with. And the laundry. And the pile of post. And still more food…


I took some frozen pastry to Cornerstones with me to make mince pies  and a quiche – but forgot the mincemeat and had no need of a quiche. The pastry was thawed out this morning, so I set to and made a batch of filo mince pies, two mince tarts [filo and puff pastry] a batch of pain au chocolat, and a quiche. Most of those will go in the freezer


The little filo pies are deliciously flaky and Bob declared them “just how mince pies ought to taste” – a veritable triumph there, then [and worth all the effort of picking out the bits of peel for him]

Last year, Marion received a food hamper from Fortnum and Mason. this year she got another. Generously, she has given me one of the hampers [I am trying to think of a suitably appropriate use for it]


…not only that but she gave me a few bits and pieces to go in it – either duplicates, or things she thought they would not eat [teas, biscuits, chutneys etc] I am a little confused by these…


Now I am sure the refined people at F&M know what they are doing – but I have only come across charcoal biscuits mentioned in … errm... a medicinal context before [for those who suffer with flatulence, in case you are wondering] The pack claims they are a good base for canapés with pâté etc. But would one’s guests be offended?

Another gift was this jar of Mustard from Chris


Now this will be enjoyed, I can assure you. The intriguing thing is the label

Mediaeval Mustard –mustard with honey and cider vinegar. A smooth mustard made to an ancient rustic recipe. Ingredients; water, mustard flour, cider vinegar, honey, mustard bran, olive oil, spices, salt.

And then it says

Allergy Advice; contains Mustard

Did they think people hadn't read all the other bits of information!

Having thriftily ignored the expensive Moroccan spice when making Jamie’s Tagine, recently, it was great to find this in my stocking from Liz. I shall look forward to making more Tagines in the spring [I had some lovely dried apricots too from someone else which will be useful]


The food is all sorted now – and I wonder how one is supposed to combine all this “January Diets and Detox” which the media keeps on about, with eating up the leftover pickles, pretzels, Pringles, chocolates, and biscuits.

Back now to taking down the “greenery and reddery”. Don’t you just love this little card, made by my colleague Pam? It combines sticking and stitching.


I think I may adapt this idea and use of for a birthday card.

We are really looking forward to having friends visit tomorrow – and as the journalist Katherine Whitehorn says “inviting guests is the only empirical way I know of getting myself to tidy up the house”! I think I might be tempted to leave the tree and baubles hanging around till Lent otherwise.

Had a wonderful text message from good friend Elisabeth this morning “Have you heard? Isn’t it awful?!!”

nigel A fellow Archers Addict, she is just too thoughtful to blurt out the news in a text. But yes, Elisabeth, it is awful. RIP Nigel Pargetter.

Poor old Graham Seed, losing his job like that!

Bob keeps reminding me that Ambridge is fictional.

I shall console myself with Pringles and pretzels!


  1. I did enjoy reading your post, Angela and hope you have a good time with your guests tomorrow. Jan

  2. In the far off days when a certain tv soap was fun and I still watched it my work colleagues and I used to finish each post episode banter with "It's real life, you know". You reminded me of this happy time, thanks :)
    Loved this foodie post too.

  3. Gosh you are a busy girl, your baking looks lovely, and the hamper is great I have something like that in my kitchen and it has all my t.towels in it the are rolled not flat and they look good and it free's a drawer for other stuff. I too have listened to the Archers over the years, I am from Droitwich in Worcs. and Ambridge is actually based on Hanbury a small village nr Droitwich.

  4. The charcoal biscuits made me laugh. When my husband was a small lad (many years ago now), his parents owned a grocery shop, where, in those days, a lot of food was sold loose. There was always a large open sack of dog biscuits in the shop, and Bob used to treat himself occasionally to, yes you've guessed, the black - or charcoal - ones. I guess that explains his shiny hair and cold wet nose!

  5. I've never heard of charcoal biscuits (even for medicinal purposes) and am having a hard time wrapping my head the very notion of them.

    I'm glad you took a break to write--taking breaks from packing up the Christmas things is the only way to survive with sanity in tact!



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