Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Snow Days and Menu Planning.

The snow is still with us and has somewhat delayed any last minute Christmas shopping as the roads are still so icy.

The food shop is my next task, the menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is done, the shopping list is written and this evening I am off to get as much of it done as possible!

On Christmas Eve we are joined by friends and family for a teatime Buffet of easy to eat food. I keep it relaxed and as stress free as possible as people drop in to share the food and Christmas wishes.

On Christmas Day we have the traditional dinner, Turkey and all the trimmings.

Once I cooked dinner for 27 people!! it was a major operation just seating everyone but 'Oh what fun we had...'

These days it is a quieter affair with 12 for lunch this year and a few more joining us in the evening.

Here's the Christmas 2010 Lunch at Shelly's Menu:

Welcome to all: Champagne, Raspberry Vodka shots and Mulled Fruit Punch.

Let's Begin: Seafood Platter or French Onion Soup or Mellon Cup.

The Main Event:
Roast Turkey, Honey Glazed Roast Gammon.

Sausage and Bacon Wraps, Apricot and Walnut Stuffing.

Roast Potato's, Buttered New Potato's.

Baked Cauliflower Cheese.

Garden Peas and Glazed Carrots.

Brussel Sprouts with bacon and walnuts.

Port Gravy, Cranberry sauce and Redcurrant jelly.

Sweet Sensations:
Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce.

Pandoro Cake with Vanilla Custard

Mince Tarts with Brandy Butter

Chocolate Yule Cake with Vanilla Ice cream.

Cheese Platter.

Port and Coffee.

Chocolate mints and truffles.

I am truly blessed to be able to celebrate in this way with my family and friends and I am truly grateful for those blessings.

Hope your plans are going well and as my niece told me today ...

"only 4 more sleeps to go"


Friday, 17 December 2010

Well Christmas has arrived at my house!

The decorations are up....

The tree is dressed....

The cozy Christmas blankets are out....

The sign's are up....

The Snowman cookie jar has taken up his place in the kitchen....

Just in case we need reminding....

Jack Frost came to call....

Mother Nature provided the finishing touch....

7 days to go....

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

It arrived in the post...

Isn't it great when lovely things arrive by post!

While I had some time off last week I caught up with lot's of things I was meaning to get round too and this included getting on line and ordering some things I had been dreaming of being the proud owner of.

These Vicky Archer books arrived and I love them, the photographs are wonderful and these books have pride of place on my coffee table.


I first came across these books on the 'my french country home' blog.
There is a link to Amazon on the side bar if you want to browse the books.

This also arrived this week.
A beautiful Christmas craft kit from Alica at Posie Gets Cozy.
And last to arrive was my order from The White Company of my favorite Christmas candle 'Winter'. I am addicted to its scent filling my home.

It's felt like Christmas every day especially as it has been so cold here and the postman has arrived each snowy and frosty morning with my wonderful parcels.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow Days

It has been snowing on and off here all week.

I have some time off work this week and it has been perfect for getting some Christmas organising done.

I have not started decorating the house yet but will make a start this weekend.

At the moment I am just enjoying the planning and making a list of the gifts still to be bought.

I made Jamie Oliver's Green Curry Sauce ( from Jamie's 30 min Meals book ) last night to go with stir fry veggies and chicken strips.

The sauce is fantastic - you use ginger, fresh chillies, fresh coriander, garlic, lemon grass, spring onions, lime juice, coconut milk and green beans (it is a greener colour than in my photo)

It is full of delicate flavour and was delicious on the chicken and veggies.

Stay Warm.


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Butternut Squash

If you love Butternut Squash try this....

Half the squash, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits, drizzle with olive oil and put in a roasting tin , cook until soft, this should take 40-50mins.

Meanwhile gently fry diced tomato, peppers, garlic and herbs of your choice till soft (you can add what ever you like to this leeks and mushrooms work well too)

Once the squash is cooked you add the veggies to basin in the squash or you can scoop out the flesh of the squash and mix it into the softened veggies before putting it back into the squash shell (this is a better presentation if your serving it to others)

Then dot with goats cheese and return to the oven till cheese has melted.

Yumm.... my friend Nicola also told me to try this, half the squash and prepare for roasting drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle with Cinnamon and some brown sugar and roast.
Have not tried that yet but it sounds lovely.

Happy Cooking.


Monday, 15 November 2010

What's a girl to do....

When you are at home with only 'Mr Nasty Virus' (don't know why it is a Mr but it is!) for company....

Eat this....

Lay on this....

Read this....

just look at the loveliness inside....

Watch this....

Well that's what 'Mr Nasty Virus' and I did.
I have had enough of Virus's company now and I wish he would leave by the nearest exit!!

Have a good 'virus free' week.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Tis 'almost' the Season......

Halloween is done and dusted....

The bonfires have gone out and the firework sky's have dimmed....

It's getting forever closer....

for 'Tis almost the Season....

To wrap the presents....

I have made my Christmas present shopping list and have managed to tick off a few....

I am thinking about the food preparations and baking the mince pies....

I am dreaming about twinkling fairy lights, cozy and warm....

Plotting where to hang my treasured decorations....

I know it is a little early for some, I know how happy it makes me feel to 'feel ' organised!
I know how lucky I am to able to plan such a celebration with my family....

(all photographs from December issues of Country Homes and Interior's, House Beautiful and Homes and Antiques)

Do you know what??
It is never to early to count your blessings.


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Lemon Tarts

These are the easiest mini lemon tarts and my family love them.

I love the tin I make them in!!
A 24 hole mini muffin tin. I bought mine from Pampered Chef but Lakeland sell them as well.
They come with a wooden dibber to press the pastry into the holes (a very therapeutic exercise!!)

Take a ready made packet of shortcrust pastry (sometimes life is just to short to make the stuff)
a jar of good quality lemon curd, and an egg ,that's all you need.

Roll out your pastry on a floured surface, use a medium size cookie cutter to cut the rounds, lay them over the holes (I lightly grease the holes in the tin first) use the dibber to press the pastry rounds snugly into each hole.
Put a flat teaspoon of lemon curd into each hole, top with a pastry shape of your choice, brush with beaten egg and cook for 15 mins in a hot oven.

With this tin you can make lovely sweet and savory morsels for any occasion, I have made all kinds of sweet tarts, little mini quiches, mini muffin cakes, homemade chocolate truffles.... it uses are endless.
Happy Baking this week.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Getting Ready .....

Carving the pumpkins...

Putting out the 'witchy lady'...

Mya, Emmie and Molllie are decorating pumpkin biscuits...

Trying on their Halloween outfits...

Mollie say's...
'One more sleep till....

(Pictures 1 & 6 Country Living)

What a fun day.
Happy Halloween

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Woman to Woman.

Life moves through so quickly, time moves on so fast....

This week has been a really sad time for my family I had to say my final goodbye to my much loved Nana, she was a remarkable women, one of the last of her generation. Born in 1912 she had lived through 2 World Wars and her courage in the face of adversity, her determination to keep her family together, her kindness to strangers, her generosity and her love of life have been inspirational to me throughout my life.

Then one of my dearest girlfriends came to spend the day with me,
It was so nice to have a 'girly' day, we talked (a lot), we had a browse round the town, we had lunch out, we had a look at some of your lovely blogs, we discussed clothes, cooking, house decorating, getting ready for Christmas...and so much more in between.
My spirits were lifted, the strength of friendship - woman to woman.
Also this week I discovered 2 brilliant 'lifestyle' websites:
It is run by Emma Forbes (daughter of the talented and beautiful actress Nannette Newman)
This inspirational woman really simplified her life.
So woman to woman - call your family and friends this week, make a date to meet up because time moves on so quickly and true friendship is priceless.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

When the North Wind Doth Blow...

This morning we woke to the first frost.

I didn't want to scrape the ice off the car window.
I just wanted to sit here...
(Country Homes and Interiors)
' Or let Autumn fall on me
Where afield i linger,
Silencing the bird on tree,
Biting the blue finger.
White as meal the frosty field-
warm the fireside haven-
Not to Autumn will I yield,
Not to Winter even!
R. L. Stevenson.

It is going to be minus 3 tonight.... Boots, coats, scarfs and gloves at the ready.


Saturday, 16 October 2010

Let's Talk Books

I am a real book browser, I can spend hours in a good book shop - just looking.

There is nothing better than having time to sit and browse through your books.

( Pictures 1&2 from Country Homes and Interiors Oct 10)
This month I am browsing through:
Kirsty's Homemade Home by Kirsty Allsopp. A book following the TV series of the same name which I loved.
It is full of great crafting idea's and very stylish.

Nigella's new book, get cooking!

A follow up to the fantastic Olive Farm books by Carol Drinkwater - I love these books
they are an account of her restoration of an Olive Farm, a labour of love and a real love story all wrapped into life in Provence, France.

I am revisiting Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem.
Reading it with any 'little people' spending time with us and enjoying once again her wonderful stories and detailed drawings of the adventures of all those living in the hedge.
It is time for the Autumn wardrobe makeover.. I have been getting inspiration from this...

Not forgetting my favorite monthly Home magazines, just look at these covers for Autumn decorating inspiration.

Happy reading this weekend.