Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Christmas dinner and not a decoration in sight!

Well, it's been a while since I posted and here we are in autumn, the season of mists they say, as the photo shows. I love the misty mornings .... but not the spiders webs that always seem to catch me out when I go for my morning walk around the garden.

This last weekend, me and The Mister had Christmas dinner, and there wasn't a flickering candle, twinkly fairy light, sprig of holly nor strand of tinsel to be seen. There were two reasons for this.... first it was his birthday so a special dinner was called for, and secondly, after the debacle of last year's Christmas dinner, when we decided to be brave and try goose and both hated it, we thought we'd have a trial run of something else, new to us. Poussin, spatchcocked to be precise from The Gressingham Duck Company. Oh it was good, served with little sausages and stuffing balls, smoky bacon rolls, crushed root veggies, crispy roasties and sprouts, and will definitely be our Christmas lunch this year. Only it will have the addition of fresh chestnuts with the sprouts, and a special gravy, not your instant granule stuff.

Yes, I admit to cheating with gravy, shame on me. I can hear my Yorkshire granny tutting. But some of it is really good, not as good as the 'real thing'  of course. And I probably wouldn't use it with a roast beef dinner, Yorkshires aren't the same with instant gravy, not compared to the yummy stuff you make with the meat juices.

And despite the drop in temperatures, and probably due to the fact that we had over a week of really warm sunshine nearly all day, there is still lots of colour in the garden, including these, which I grow as companion plants down under the sweet pea and bean wigwams, and which I thought I might play with next year, experimenting with dying wool.

  We have quite a few mature trees in the garden and underneath one of them we are slowly building up a collection of these little beauties....

And in the newly created white border, there is still one lone cosmos plant flowering its socks off, though the cleome and other flowers have all finished.

Again, this is something else, another area I want to expand on next  year. It was only a small area this year, most of the plants were confined to large raised beds having been grown for cutting flowers. I discovered that the Cleome weren't suitable, having sharp thorns and too many unflowering side shoots to suit them to my needs, but boy, do they ever last a long time in the ground. They flowered for months, never losing their colour, but I have to say, the white ones really lifted a rather dull area and so I will concentrate next year on white cleome and white cosmos in a small border, where they will flower long after surrounding plants have given up for the year.

As ever, I've been reading lots, the best books recently have been 'Burnt Paper Sky' by Gilly Macmillan, the story of every mother's nightmare. Rachel is out with her little boy Ben, walking their dog in local woods, when he vanishes. She lets him out of her sight for seconds and he has gone, not a trace. The pace really picked up towards the end of this powerful read, a brilliant debut novel. 'The Turning Point' by Freya North is about seizing the day, making the most of the moment, following your heart. When two strangers meet they have an instant connection, and even though one lives in Canada and the other in Norfolk, they know that somehow they have to make this work. Long distance love doesn't always work, but sometimes, as I know from experience, it does. And a final recommendation, 'Letters to the Lost' by Iona Grey. In 1942 a young woman, Stella, running away from an over-zealous USAF airman, meets another such airman, Dan. The odds are against them, he is a pilot with a one in five chance of surviving the war, but despite this they write to each other. Coming to the present day, a young woman, escaping a violent boyfriend, breaks into a house and discovers the letters and determines to find out more about these people. Along the way she will find love of her own.

I'm also doing lots of sketching having joined Jenny Maizels Sketchbook club, and having great fun with it too. ( I know that won't work as a link but I don't know how to do clever stuff like that so I just give you the info in case you're interested, someone who likes to draw but isn't great at it, and looking for something different, a change from the colouring books perhaps. I still like to use them, and have quite a collection now.

Anyway, this is enough for now.  I shall be back again, sometime, and meanwhile, thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. I think you did the sensible thing trying our your Christmas dinner before the day. I'm sure you will now enjoy it much more than last year.

  2. Poussin is lovely. I like them spatchcocked too. I do that with a chicken if I am feeling adventurous. I love the Cosmos. The leaves are as pretty as the flowers, so delicate. I still have roses in bud in the garden and geraniums are still blooming too. The roses were still flowering in December last year so they must be pretty hardy. I think that this year will be very cold so they will probably stop soon. Have you tried the little pots of "jelly" stock (not mentioning any brand names). I was very pleasantly surprised with them, they make lovely gravy. Your cyclamens are beautiful. Xx

    1. No, not tried the 'jelly' stocks... do you mean those advertised by a certain, once bad-boy chef? I rather like him actually.... there we go, wandering off the point again. We spatchcock chicken too, it makes it so much easier to carve and quicker to cook too of course. Thanks for visiting.

  3. lovely to see a post from you, and what a fabulous idea to have an early Christmas dinner, glad it was lovely x

  4. I love the idea of you and your husband testing out your Christmas dinner, it is very thorough! Your reads sound interesting, though I don't know if I could cope with reading about a missing child, I'm not very good with that sort of harrowing topic! x

    1. Well, to us it makes sense if we are having something new/different for Christmas dinner, we should see if we actually enjoy it first. Nothing worse than having your day spoilt by the meal.