CHRISTMASES PAST AND PRESENT

Christmas as a child is without doubt one of the most magical of times. Many of us will remember waking up in the early hours, knowing Santa had been.

I remember searching through my Christmas stocking (usually a pillowcase!) and finding the inevitable orange, chocolate, and money amongst the gifts of pens, crayons, Mickey Mouse watch and board games, plus the occasional book.

Yet as an adult Christmas is still magical albeit in a different way.

The excitement of gift buying and giving is the least part of Christmas. Being with family and friends is for me the most important part. Sharing food, and, drink, fun, games and laughter.

The first Christmas Sheila and I had in our new home was a great occasion for us. 1975.

Sheila’s brother and his family came down from North Yorkshire and together with my parents-in-law we had a wonderful time.

The excitement in planning the food and drink was, and still is paramount to us. Many lists are prepared, Menus, food, shopping.

Having read an article in the Observer newspaper that year suggesting smoked salmon, scrambled egg and a glass of Buck’s Fizz (champagne & orange juice) as being the perfect Christmas Day breakfast, we just had to go down the road!

This was almost 40 years ago so you can imagine it was a relatively new innovation.

To say it went down a storm with my brother-in-law is no exaggeration! To this day it has become a family tradition.

Over the years Christmas with family has been something that both Sheila and I treasure and we have shared many in Chesterfield, North Yorkshire, Buckinghamshire and Australia.

More recently Christmases with friends has become more frequent as families expand and spread around the world. These times have brought a new delight into the festive season especially spending “quality” time with the best of friends.

This year for various reasons we have decided to stay at home. In 41 years it will be only the third occasion, but, the second one spent with our good friend Ginnete and her parents. Once again sharing with them the delights of an English Christmas Dinner, including the inevitable crackers, although it as to be said the “jokes” bad enough in English do not translate well!!!

Still the excitement of planning our menus is just as enjoyable.

We have read about the exceptional Poulet de Bresse – a French chicken that is specially reared in the former Provence of Bresse, and holds an appellation d’origine controlee. see more

Therefore we have ordered from our butcher such a bird. While I am writing we are still researching the best recipe for this VIP of chickens.

Over the years the traditional turkey, capon and occasional goose has been our preferred option. All accompanied by the enviable roast potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. For Sheila there must always be a home-made bread sauce……… and much to my chagrin “Birds” custard for the pudding!   bread sauce

A few Christmases ago, spending a fabulous time with our friends Sally and John and their family, we made a joint decision late on Christmas Eve to brine the turkey as suggested by Nigella Lawson in her Christmas cookery book.

This idea came about after a few glasses of fizz and to be truthful we had to make do with some of the ingredients. But the unanimous opinion was “It’s the best turkey ever!”. Do try it folks!

So yes, planning for the event IS important, but, then the spontaneity of such decisions make for a memorable time. see recipe

Every year we bake our own Christmas cake and puddings using the same recipes for mist of our married life.

The Christmas cake recipe has become known as Granny Wilton’s Christmas cake (although it was handed to me by an aunt & perhaps the Granny bit just happened ……….see recipe

The recipe for the pudding (or puddings as Sheila usually makes 2 or 3) is called Iris’s Christmas pudding, after a lady that Sheila worked with many years ago. see recipe

Both recipes we find perfect for our taste and therefore we would like to share them with you.

So whatever you are doing, or where ever, you, are doing it, enjoy. And, So all that remains for me to say is Merry Christmas, and a happy, and peaceful New year. 2015 lets,hope it’s a good one.

Happy blogging……

…………..if you have enjoyed my memories of Christmas, then why not visit The Wine Lady and enjoy the wine.

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