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Seasonal stuffing


This year scheduling means our turn for hosting the big family meal falls on Christmas eve. Mrs S. did the lion's share of the cooking, facilitated by a new kitchen, more commodious than the postage stamp sized galley we've had for the past couple of years. Champagne, ice-cream,CBeebies pantomime on a loop, nut-roast, sprout and chestnut soup, mechanical penguins, musical crackers, roasted vegetables, and plenty of early presents for young Ada May to open and get over-excited about. Merry Christmas to all four of my readers!


posted Saturday, December 24, 2011 at 15:51 by cms in Ada, cooking | 4 Comments »

Holidays over

That's 2010 all done then. 2011 said alound still sounds implausibly futuristic to my ears. One more sign that you're an old man.

The 'holiday season' was surprisingly survivable. The nut roast didn't poison anybody. I doubled up the recipe quantities, and had exactly 50% left after dinner was done. The main problem I had was getting all the vegetables evenly done. There was much shuttling trays in and out of the oven, and from shelf to shelf, but everyone went away fed and uncomplaining, so I'm going to chalk that up as a success.

It turns out that having a 1 year old daughter is an excellent diversion around this time of year. Most of my time seems to have been spent chaperoning her around various relatives' houses, where she excelled in capturing the centre of attention. She's unsurprisingly done terribly well for presents. Typically, her favourite seems to be something inessential; a tiny gift teddy bear that was part of a seasonal book bundle.

I have a nice new coffee mug with a picture of Moominpapa on, of which I am already fond. Also notable, a comic strip book that frames the life and work of Bertrand Russell as an analogy to a classical greek tragedy. Better than it sounds, it's quite a fascinating piece.

2010 has been a pretty good year I'd say. Mostly full of Ada, who has grown from being a rather sickly baby whose inability to keep food onboard, or sleep to rule frazzled nerves, to a largely reflux-free, sleep-friendly and entirely enchanting toddler. I think my Ada high-point of the last year would be when I taught her to high-five people, whenever she was being carried at shoulder height. She's currently showing signs of becoming a precocious chatterbox. Other than that, there's been the career gear-change, moving to work for, which has been almost entirely awesome. The new job brought a house move to London, which took me through the stages of ambivalence, active dislike of the place, right through to my current state of mind, which is settled back into an easy enjoyment of the appeals of city living. The fly in the ointment there is the lingering unsold Bristol house, dealing with which is going to feature heavily in the new year, I suspect.

Usually, at this time of year, I'd do some sort of summary of the year in music. 2010 has been a year where I've been kept pretty out of touch, because I've simply been too busy with other things. So most of the new discoveries I've made have been anything but current. Like everyone else, I became briefly overexcited about Janelle in the middle of the year. Standouts would be finally getting around to listening to Spirit Of Eden, and falling for it predictably, discovering The Books and Field Music, and my most unusual acquisition Sia's 'Some people have real problems' album, which I wouldn't have expected to have been my thing, but really captivated me. Luckily did a chart thing of my annual listening(a subscriber-only feature).

Having an infant at home has really curtailed the gig-going, so I had to focus on quality, not quantity. I did Primavera again, and I don't seem to be tiring of that yet, I've already bought tickets for 2011. I saw an astonishing Dirty Projectors show at the Barbican, performing 'The Getty Address' completely, accompanied by Alarm Will Sound. I finally got to see the New Pornographers with Neko, which was good enough to keep a stupid grin on my face all the way through the first hour, even though I was coming down with a stupid cold. I think I'll probably get more opportunity to see things in 201, but surprisingly I'm not really complaining.

Here's to 2011. Still sounds wrong.

Suggested listening

posted Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 08:28 by cms in Ada, comics, cooking, music | Comments Off on Holidays over

Nut Roast

This Christmas, we're going to be hosting for a small subset of family. I've volunteered to do the cooking myself. I would like to ensure that Mrs S gets a chance to have a rare day off from domestic catering. I don't really trust myself in a kitchen, so I'm looking to keep things straightforward. Some of the guests are fairly strict vegetarians, and so I've opted to go for that reliable cliché, the Nut Roast. I've never made a nut roast before, at least not one that didn't come from a packet mix. So this evening I've decided to go for a trial run.

I got a recipe from DDG. The one I decided to go for was this Waitrose recipe. I think I was mostly attracted to the notion of mixing in brown rice. Although the recipe is straightforward, there has turned out to be a moderate amount of prep work, and I think I'll need to get as much of that prepared in advance of Christmas day as is plausible.

The final worry is the somewhat temperamental old oven in this rented house. I'm only really used to working with reliable, fan-assisted electric ovens. This one is gas, rather undpredicatable and worn. To date, I've never successfully managed to so much as re-heat oven chips in it.

posted Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 19:11 by cms in cooking | 3 Comments »