Friday, 27 December 2013

Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time

While I've got a few minutes between putting the turkey in the oven and preparing the veg so I thought I'd just do a quick blog update.

Yes today is actually going to be our Christmas dinner day as it is only one of two days during the Christmas period when we can all be together.

Thankfully, though some would say unhappily, my virus or whatever, rapidly improved during the week and so I was able to go to work and not have anyone cover for me. That meant, however, I spent Christmas Eve, Christmas day and Boxing day in work and to be honest it wasn't the entirely depressing time I'd imagined.

I'd barely got through the door at quarter to eight, on Christmas day, when I had a bucks fizz and a chocolate biscuit thrust into my hand. We were allowed out of uniform so everyone wore colourful Christmas jumpers and a variety of head boppers were on display. Every now and then someone would burst into song and the general atmosphere was happy and fun.

While we got on with the business of the day, much reduced I'm pleased to say, one of our supervisors was busy in the kitchen cooking us turkey with all the trimmings. I nearly fainted when I saw how much was on the plate but it was delicious so I tried my best. Unfortunately my best still left most of the meal on the plate.

The day actually went a lot quicker than I thought it would and I arrived home in time to catch the Christmas Strictly. I don't actually like the Christmas Strictly, it lacks the build up of the series and if one of the celebrities has been given a dance that doesn't suit them then there is no chance of a come back but being a true fan I couldn't not watch it.

After Strictly we sat down to an evening meal of home made meatloaf and barbecue sauce, recipe later in this blog. We shared a bottle of wine and I eventually fell into bed around ten after watching our favourite Christmas film Love Actually.

Boxing day was much the same work wise, though we all contributed to a buffet instead of having a full meal. I arrived home to a cup of tea and was swiftly followed through the door by Laurence who also worked over Christmas. We enjoyed a simple meal of spaghetti with tomato sauce and then settled down for an evening in front of the TV demolishing chocolates, biscuits and nuts.

We watched the new Open All Hours, which was very good but lacked something with the absence of Ronnie Barker. We then watched and joined in with The Big Fat Quiz of the Year on channel four. Andrew and Laurence formed one team and Peter and I the other. We won by two points, yay!

I was up around eight this morning to dress the turkey, which is now filling the house with a lovely aroma, and driving Smirnoff potty. The veg are all ready to go, as is the gravy, stuffing and bacon and sausages. I have skipped breakfast as I'm really hoping to do it justice. My eating has really gone well this week and, I haven't weighed myself yet, I'm sure I've put on a few pounds. With a bit of luck I'll have added that extra half a stone and reached my target. I'll let you know when I've plucked up courage to step on the scales.

Meatloaf with barbecue sauce

2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
1lb 8oz mincemeat
8oz sausagemeat
4oz tomato puree
black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce

Saute the onions and garlic in about 1oz (25g) butter until soft and translucent. DO NOT BROWN. Please in a bowl and allow to cool  for about 20 minutes. Add all the other ingredients with a pinch of salt and about one teaspoon of black pepper. Using your hands kneed ingredients until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a 2lb loaf tin making sure there is no air trapped. Smooth top with a palete knife until level and mixture is well packed down (if you don't do this the loaf will not slice but will fall apart). Place loaf tin on a baking tray and cook at 180 fan or 200 conventional for 45 mins - 1 hour. Lift baking tray out of oven carefully as there will be a lot of fat. Drain fat and allow loaf to stand for 5 minutes before tipping out of tin.

For the sauce
1 400g (14oz) tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon cornflower
3 tablespoons malt vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt and pinch of black pepper

Place all ingredients into a non stick saucepan and heat gently while stirring until sauce begins to bubble. Take off heat and stir for a further minute to prevent sauce burning on the bottom of the pan.

Serve both with veg of choice and a good dollop of mashed potato.

Right got to go, I've just been given another bucks fizz and it's time to baste the bird.