Part II if the Pictorial Story of Christmas – in which we follow the food and family Christmas memories of Erik and myself.
Warm, spicy mince pies, just out of the AGA! Can anything taste more delicious, or more Christmassy, than these? (Even my designer son loves these, so I always make him a tinful to keep him going.)
It was getting nearer to lunchtime. Emily and Archie plus their Mum and Dad were still opening and piecing together their incredible array of presents that Santa had managed to drag down our chimney. Archie and Emily enjoyed each others presents, and here Archie is deciding how to furnish Emily’s dolls house – watch out Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen, here comes another designer!!
Meanwhile, the Turkey was now resting, wrapped in loose foil and two old towels, whilst we put together the last of the trimmings.
From this bowl of the defrosted dry ingredients for theForcemeat Stuffing, waiting for its eggs and turkey stock to complete it, ready for the baking tins …
… to this, 25 minutes later, crispy, crunchy and filling the kitchen with lemon, parsley, bacon and spicy aromas, and guess who just had to try one (just to make sure they were fit for the family to eat)? I can smell them now, as I write this!!
Is it just me? However much you prepare for the Christmas meal, with lists and notes and timetables torn out of Sunday supplements, and books from Delia, Mary Berry and Nigella, that last 30 minutes before the big Christmas Feast always nearly tips the chef in charge over the edge. We had a lot of help, but somehow it’s a question of keeping things warm, finishing off the gravy, (we has 2, Turkey Gravy and Red Wine Gravy for the Beef), separate sausages for the children, “Heavens, nearly forgot the Cranberry Sauce”, opening the wine, filling jugs of water (not forgetting specially nice glasses for the childrens’ orange etc) – all the time my face getting pinker and pinker!
Then, amazingly, our sumptious Feast was ready. The Dining Room was lovely and warm, I had polished everything to within an inch of its life and it sparkled. Cushions were plumped up for the children, and our tiny Angel Em was given the seat of honour, (with arms to stop her falling off). Archie sat proudly at the opposite end of the table, between his Mum and myself, and we all proceeded to open our crackers. My pink cheeks gradually returned to their normal colour, and we began our Feast.
The rest of the afternoon was spent eating, resting, eating a bit more, then, as most families do, with clearing up, sleeping (Mea Culpa, even I had a sleep!), playing, winding down, and then as the day darkened, we lit the log-burner, and settled down for Doctor Who etc. A perfect day with our gorgeous grandchildren, and their Mum and Dad. The only one missing was Jake, who had wanted to spend one Christmas Eve and Day with the little ones, but it wasn’t to be. But after Christmas he joined them, and came to spend a couple of days with Erik and myself just after New Year’s Day.
But, our Pictorial Story of Christmas wasn’t over. On Boxing Day, just for 2 hours, Erik and I had both Archie, Emily and our lovely little Twin grandaughters (plus their Mum and Dad) all together at our house. It doesn’t happen often. Amazing!
Just love the look on Emily’s face, as if she can’t believe they are real – the Twins do look very similar to Emily’s dolls. But she was so gentle with Bella and Tilly, and stroked their hands, and carefully kissed their foreheads.
And take another one quick, before they disappear off again!
So, that ends our Pictorial Story of Christmas. This year was all about the children. The food was secondary really. Although Nic’s Fish Pie and Chocolate Sponge and Ice-Cream Pudding deserved a special mention. It was a truly magical Christmas, and both Erik and myself feel really lucky to have been able to share it with our little friends (and their Mums and Dads). May there be many more good times to share together.