Thursday, December 25, 2008

Fall On Your Knees...

with tiredness, not anything sordid, you filthy-minded peasants! Actually we sang Oh Holy Night in the Christmas Carol Concert last weekend and it was altogether serene, given that half us us didn't have a clue so mimed Apples And Oranges until it was over!
Christmas is a time for everybody else - Hubs is working like a hoor and that means that I get stuck with all the festive prep on my tobler. I can't really whinge because his only day off is the 25th and he's back in work for 8.30am on Stephens Day/Boxing Day/Whatever you want to call it so when most people spend Christmas Night getting blottoed, he heads up the stairs for an early night and I stay down to watch crap TV & have a few more drinks.

This year, MIL & BIL joined us for dinner (same as last year) so in the eyes of my in-laws, I am way better than Nigella & Rachel. But in my parents eyes, I am the infidel traitor who dines with the enemy. Can't win, won't win. Anyway, seeing as we've no grandkids to offer up as sacrificial lambs, we are so far down on the pecking order that we're practically invisible anyway compared to my siblings. We only finished work (the seventh circle of hell) on Tuesday afternoon so my prep time was severely curtailed. Because the place that pays the bills was so stressy, I decided to go all 50's housewife on it and make edible gifts for my friends and family because beating the shite out of flour, sugar & butter is very theraputic. Three batches of shortbread, 75 truffles, a rake of Swiss hazelnut meringue bikkies, 2 lemon drizzle cakes and a truly evil chocolate truffle star cake later, I'm almost off the bad stuff... which can never be a bad thing considering my ultra curvy physique.

The day itself turned out rather well - we got up after a nice lie-in, to discover that Hubs had destroyed my beootiful painted hall table with bloody plug-in air freshener (I am sick to jaysus reminding him not to dump it on the table & Relate were nearly called in for an emergency mediation session). Eventually the red mist cleared and I opened my pressies. All I wanted were my coveted Billow FitFlops which duly arrived and I haven't taken them off me since! I also got Rachel Allen's Bake cookbook (despise her voice, but love her recipes) and a Westlife DVD. Hubs was spoiled rotten as always and I still owe him a new jacket which I'll buy in Belfast the weekend after next as sterling is fantastically shite against the Euro at the moment.
Dinner was perfection itself - it was like a shaggin' Olympic relay race - everything was timed, so as soon as the turkey & ham were done, the veg & stuffing were fecked into the oven (I even used tinfoil to double reuse a disposable tray...) and it all landed on the table on schedule which is a miracle! We were so full afterwards, the sofas were buckling under our combined weight... but it was worth it. This was the day when I thanked the lord god and all that was holy that we now have a dishwasher. No grief, no soggy teatowels and a pristine kitchen... I nearly love it as much as the Hubs!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles...

After 7 long nights of an ice-cold house (our boiler broke down & only got fixed on Wednesday), this week, I've been mostly channelling my inner Ina/Nigella/Martha/Rachel (yom!) and doing a lot of baking. It has been said before that I'm not too bad in the kitchen - planning is my middle name - so with that in mind, I was challenged to make "yummy cookies" by Babsie, one of my colleagues from a book left in the office by The Book People. She flagrantly disregarded the laws of copyright by photocopying the chosen recipe & presenting it to me. I haven't made biccies in ages, mainly because I've been disgustingly addicted to banana bread... some of which is in the freezer taunting me.

So, last night as I did my triple point shop in Tesco (got to build up those Clubcard Points for another free trip to France), I bought enough buhher, sugar & chocolate to cause a major diabetic coma and elevate my depressed colleagues to a sugar-induced high. I got stuck in (didn't soften the buhher enough and splatted most of it over my hob & coffee machine) and 20 minutes later, had the most evil chocolate cookies ever. I don't use cheap gear when I cook because I don't see the point - that's what shop bought is for! So, buoyed up by that success, I decided to tackle a batch of $250 Nieman Marcus Cookies (but cut the quantities in half because my poor food processor would have collapsed with the shock (Dear Santa, can you bring me a KitchenAid mixer in stainless steel?).

Hubs was very excited (he's only allowed to have the broken biscuits) so I made the ginormous batch of dough, froze it all in sausage shapes and chopped it up like black pudding rounds and baked it for 10 mins. It is absolutely gorgeous... even nicer than last night's Chocolate Extravaganza and is all promised. We're going to a drinks party tomorrow night at our Best Man's house - the WAGS as we are charmingly referred to, monopolise the sofa to watch the X-Factor final, and the lads skulk around the kitchen moaning about us watching crap telly and poor Hubs hovers between the two as he loves the X-Factor!!! Our gift to them is a tin of our homemade cookies. There's plenty left over for my poor sick nephew & niece who have raging conjunctivitis and are feeling very sorry for themselves (Handsome Man stayed in his PJ's all day today because he wasn't well... but will still eat biccies when I bring them over). And my goddaughter/niece Lucy Loo has demanded her fair share too.

Monday, December 8, 2008