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the forbidden C word
Tue 12-Oct-10
5:49 pm
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laurelberry

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Jamie Oliver has a great Chicken Maryland recipe, it's in the Jamie's Dinners book I think.

Not to get too far off topic... sorry Rae!

 

I love to try new crafts at Christmas although I always run out of time and have to settle for just one or two plus cooking (a goose for me, a rib of beef for him, no, not on the same day big_laugh ). So last year I tried making cinnamon decorations for the tree. I had seen so many recipes on the web, mostly from US sources, and became intrigued to try it for myself.

You basically make a 'dough' out of powdered cinnamon (yes it is extravagant - try Indian delis for a big bag- doesn't need to be S*!nsbury's Finest!), apple sauce (that icky stuff that comes in jars) and PVA glue; roll it out, cut shapes, press in cloves or star anise or whatever to decorate and dry in a cool oven.

Success? Well.. the dough turned out very sticky and difficult to handle, and adding flour to unsticky it whitened the pretty cinnamon colour a bit when they dried, but they smell  gorgeous and look ever so cute and traditional hanging on the tree - I recommend tartan ribbons. They are also supposed to last for years if you keep them dry. I have added those little dessicant sachets (you know, come in the shoebox with your new trainers) in with them so we'll see...

This year? A pretty table centrepiece with cones, cinnamon sticks and candles maybe...we have the MiL coming so must make an effort!

Tue 12-Oct-10
9:24 pm
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Shereen
Near Belfast, Northen Ireland

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Rae Mond said:

Bananas and bacon?

sometimes you scare me.


 

We got that for breakfast quite a lot in New Zealand. It was mostly nice, but it needed the smoky or salty bacon and not the sweet maple cure one. They served it with pancakes and syrup.

Tue 12-Oct-10
9:40 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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I had completely forgotten about chicken Maryland. That's a blast form the 70s. I loved it, and we still love some 70's iconic things like chicken in a basket, prawn cocktail with "Marie Curie sauce big_laugh ", gammon & pineapple, those Swiss dip-it-in-the-hot-oil affairs . . .

I would love the idea of a "proper" Christmas (spork me if you must, TA laugh big_hug ) with green and light in the house, roaring log fires, the great movies or Dickens dramas on TV, no family politics, just a simple present of a chosen book each and a small party of friends for Boxing Day brunch.

Lat year I counted myself lucky because I did not hear my favourite Christmas tune until Early Dec in the town: Fairytale of N.Y. with the Pogues and Kirsty. I love, love that song at the right time of year.

Never knowingly underfed

Tue 12-Oct-10
10:59 pm
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Rae Mond
Waalre, NL

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I love that song too!

Intolerance will not be tolerated.

Tue 12-Oct-10
11:52 pm
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danast
Argyll, Scotland

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wave  Me too

Old teachers never die, they just lose their class

Wed 13-Oct-10
10:34 am
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Rae Mond
Waalre, NL

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Since yesterday lunch time I've been whiling away my bored hours at work thinking about a trip to Dublin in december. last year me and jelfs went to Edinburgh for four days just before christmas and it was most wonderful. I paid for the plane tickets as a birthday present for him.

This year I think I could manage the plane tickets and a birthday present and the accomodation as a christmas present (which leaves the silver pocket watch I got him while I was in aber sort of surplus to requirements. It may have to be an aniversary present instead. I'm not sure).

I think a short city break just before christmas may become a tradition.

Intolerance will not be tolerated.

Wed 13-Oct-10
8:38 pm
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KateUK
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Rae- reminds me of a trip we did to Sheffield just before Christmas a couple of years ago- it snowed, there was a Christmas Market, the city centre was full of people dressed as Santa for a fun run ( even the babes in push chairs) and we saw the Human League. It was top notch.

Kateuk makes things at http://www.etsy.com/shop/finkstuff and sometimes she does this too http://www54paintings.blogspot.com/ and also this http://finkstuff.weebly.com/

Wed 13-Oct-10
8:49 pm
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Rae Mond
Waalre, NL

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i'm partial to a bit of human league.

Intolerance will not be tolerated.

Wed 13-Oct-10
9:36 pm
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KateUK
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They did the whole of Dare. It was fabbo, best I've seen them.

Kateuk makes things at http://www.etsy.com/shop/finkstuff and sometimes she does this too http://www54paintings.blogspot.com/ and also this http://finkstuff.weebly.com/

Wed 20-Oct-10
10:00 pm
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Suz
Los Angeles, California

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Bananas in bacon?????  Really????? You're all mad!

 

As for "the C word"....I LOVE it, LOVE it, LOVE it.....the greenery, the fairy lights, the tree, the log fire, the cards, the wreaths, the baubles, the food, good company, carols, jigsaws, gift wrapping, the baking, the crafts, good books, catching up with old friends, the snow (if lucky), the sentimental decorations...ooh I'm getting all excited *bounce bounce bounce*

 

 

Rae Mond said:

what traditions are absolutely central?


 

Decorating the tree and Mum's sage & onion sausage rolls. Just wouldn't be the C word without them! 

How about the rest of all you CSH readers?????

Life is uncertain ………… eat dessert first!

Thu 21-Oct-10
5:09 pm
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Ray and Helle
Denmark/Sweden

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Ok, look, I am the Christmas nut, friends and family think I am sad... I am proud of it.

 

  • George Michael sings last Christmas in my car Nov 1st, then continues to do so until January 1st
  • I have an absolute obsession with Christmas trees 
  • Love all foods connected to Christmas
  • Both my apartment in CPH and my cottage are decked in lights from the middle of November
  • I get seriously nostalgic, friendly and glowing from around the 1st of December (even without booze which my wife thinks is extremely suspicious)
  • I believe (in the spirit) of Father Christmas
  • I always go to at least two Carol services in Church (sadly not the case the rest of the year)
  • I really do think about what I am going to buy for the friends and family
  • On Christmas day I get a serious hankering for Sherry at 10am (Mum reaching out)
  • I can eat Turkey and stuffing every day for 31 days

Last but not least, I feel sorry for people who do not do Christmas. If you can honestly say that you are kindhearted, merry,  mellow, contented, giving, feeling, caring, warm, aware and creative the rest of the year, then maybe you can do without it. Myself, I can use all the good will I can get  my hands onsmile

You talking to me?

Thu 21-Oct-10
10:49 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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What really great posts, Suz and Ray. You have reignited a spark in me. Maybe I will make the effort to get back in the C groove this year. Only today we were wondering what to do regarding where to go for the C Day. Last year, Fiona's mum treated us to a fab lunch in a local hotel. That was a first for me.

But we are thinking of hosting her here this year. She could still stay n the same hotel (only 3 miles away because we cannot have her to stay). I am quite happy to cook all of the lunch seeing as F gets tired so quickly. And she would be welcome on Boxing Day too - in fact, that is a bit of a tradition. She adores racing, even at 91, and she and I watch it on TV with lunch on our laps served by F. we have fun competitions, like who picks the most winners for a £0.50 prize.

We did not do a tree last year for the first time ever. But I think we are due a C makeover and change of heart this year.

 

Rae & Kate - your C market comments remind me of the market in La Defence (Paris) last December, just before my eventful return on Eurostar (the stuck in the tunnel saga). It was a really nice market. Snow and ice underfoot. Totally seasonal. Good C markets are a cheerful and uplifting thing. ok

Never knowingly underfed

Fri 22-Oct-10
12:09 pm
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Rae Mond
Waalre, NL

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D a friend of mine has a tradition of going to visit C markets all round Europe each December (just one a year, it's not a month long tour or anything, though had I the time and money that could be very tempting).

This year she and her sister are going to Stockholm, as flights and four nights B&B are only £120! I'm sorely tempted to change my Dublin plan.

The German Christmas market in Edinburgh last year was lovely, hanging out it the snow over looking the ice rink with the lights all twinkly drinking gluvein (no idea how to spell that).

Ray, your C traditions sound wonderful! My family is sadly lacking in proper traditions that go back many years.

When i was little we had a big boxing day open house party, it lasted all day and friends came and dropped by for however long. In those days we lived in a wonderful Victorian semi on three floors in Clifton, Bristol. We set up games in the dinning room, including a scalextrick track and a thing with a light sensitive owl that you had to shoot at with a light gun. And a little toy train that went round the bottom of the Christmas tree and played a tune (unless you turned the tune off, fortunately it would still go even if you made it silent). And there was a lot of punch in the awesome lotus flower like punchbowl that I've now been gifted.

 

All those traditions died when we moved out to a little village outside the city, and things got even less familiar when my parents separated and my mother and sister and I moved to Bath. Christmas was rubbish then and I was so glad when I spent my first one away from home when I was 17. the only thing that survived for a while was the Christmas day service at our old church, where the children would take along their favourite gift (I think this probably started when some children refused to leave the house without their newly acquired shiny thing). It was a good blending of material and spiritual.

 

I™ve been trying to establish new traditions, but it hasn™t been going too well. Sam has a few that I™m very happy to adopt. Like a real tree. I always sided with my father that real trees were mostly a pain in the arse because you™ll never get the needles out of the carpet, but they do smell lovely, and with a laminate floor in the living room it™s not such an issue.

And he used to always go out on Christmas eve with his sister to drink coffee and watch other people do shopping. That didn™t happen last year, and I™m not sure if they™ll get chance this year though.

I hope the city break in December will stick. One day we™ll get round to going to New York as we™d hoped to this year.

 

I™m not such a big fan of most Christmas songs (going back to Ray™s comments). I love the fairytale of New York, and I™ve always had a softspot for Solstice Bells by Jethro Tull. I made  cds of acceptable Christmas tuneage for the shop I use to work in. they had the Gremlins theme and things from the Nightmare Before Christmas. One version had the whole of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas as a spoken word thing. I quite like santa baby (the version I put on the CD claimed to be sung by Marylin Monroe, but I™m not sure about this) too. And I always include Tom Lehrer™s Christmas Carol and Hannukah in Santa Monica (my old boss was jewish).

 

I absolutely cannot stand a spaceman came travelling by Chris DeBurgh, or all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. They drive me mad. My old boss hated Driving Home for Christmas (in one CD I made for the shop that song was featured 4 separate times. Her partner then took that cd to play in the car as they were driving to visit family. She could probably have killed me!).

 

 

Intolerance will not be tolerated.

Fri 22-Oct-10
3:37 pm
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devongarden
Devon, UK

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I love Christmas!

One recent tradition born out of cutting down trees in the garden is a bonfire on the solstice. (I don't have an open fireplace or I'd have a Yule log.) I am itching to get my Christmas cake made but can't till the kitchen is a bit more installed. When I can, I will make two, one for 2010 and one for 2011. Offspring will probably get here the 20th or 21st of Dec, so they will help with the cooking and decisions about which of the essentials we will have this year, especially which cookies. Cranberry-orange relish, the recipe which is on bags of cranberries in the US (and here), is essential. It freezes well. Cold turkey sandwiches on herb bread. Being grateful I don't ever again
have to eat chestnuts and prunes (one of my mother's recipes). Turkey with sausages underneath and bacon on top. Sweet potato casserole. (Sadly, no marshmallows on top because I have never found any here without lots of yucky pink ones in the bag, and they are usually too small too so the tradition has become no melted marshmallows.) P insists on bread sauce, so he makes it--I don't like onion-flavored glue, myself.

An easy meal on Christmas Eve, or at least one that is a contrast to Christmas dinner. Preparing the veg on Christmas Eve to the 9 lessons and carols from Kings College, Cambridge. I started doing that knowing that my mother would be listening but she doesn't remember to listen any more. After that, when the children were small, we'd go for a walk in the dusk, looking in windows and seeing everyone's trees lit. It helped with their excitement and helped wear them out and made sure jobs were done early enough.

A real tree! P will cut it for us. There is a Christmas tree grower near here who sells a few trees to locals who cut them down themselves--the rest go on larger contracts.

Lots of music, carols and classical mainly. Have you heard Here Comes Suzy Snowflake, or I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas? Both are tunes best avoided, I think. The first I must have had to learn at school and have mercifully mostly forgotten, the second I heard when I was 9 or 10 at school when we were allowed to bring in records.

Lots of time to read new books, or do a jigsaw.

Church, no. Offspring will go to the 9 lessons and carols for godless people again this year, I think. Carols, yes. Peace on earth and goodwill, yes. Rebirth of the light, yes. Warm traditional feelings, yes. Lights on the apple tree in the garden, yes.

Maybe, just maybe, this year I will have a real kitchen with a bit more storage room for a few more gadgets...now that would make it an excellent Christmas!

Power just went out on the computer and I didn't lose this post for some reason. surprised I think I'd better stop here, though.

Fri 22-Oct-10
4:01 pm
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Rae Mond
Waalre, NL

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devongarden said:

 

Power just went out on the computer and I didn't lose this post for some reason. surprised I think I'd better stop here, though.


 

It's a pre C miracle!

Intolerance will not be tolerated.

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