Monthly Archives: December 2012

STB (Stuffed to Bursting)

Christmas Cake

That’s it. Done. The cathartic moment when the turkey carcass stops leering at me from the fridge and enters its rightful place: the bin. I’m not going to bother with stock from its bones, for one thing I haven’t got a pan big enough to hold it in its entirety and I’m not spending my morning wrestling it into small pieces (have you ever tried to hack through a turkey’s back bone? No? Don’t waste your time: it will win).

So this is not a poem but a list of all the things we have picked at, eaten with relish, shoved to the back of the fridge in disgust, nibbled and spat out since Christmas Eve (not counting cups of tea and packets of Kettle Chips).

Pheasant x 2 (browned in butter, flamed with brandy and braised with apple juice and stock)

Celeriac, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes (apt)

Mashed potatoes (butter’s a main ingredient)

Chocolate Brazils

Mince pies (sweet shortcrust, home made mincemeat – thanks Delia – extra brandy)


Smoked salmon and thin thin brown bread

Champagne…for breakfast…for elevenses…for lunch…

More chocolate Brazils and a celadon green tin of Fortnum’s Explorers biscuits

Turkey, legs removed, boned, snipped of its ligaments and stuffed with….

Sausagemeat, chestnuts, lemon, sage

Butter, butter….more butter

Streaky bacon and thin sausages

Braised red cabbage (Viennese style)

Ubiquitous sprouts

Parsnips and spuds roasted in goose fat (I could just have had these alone)


The Hub’s cranberry sauce. Orangey. Sinus hurting.

Pauillac, Pinot Noir, Sauternes

Blue-flamed pudding (the one we forgot to take to Scotland last year)

Brandy sauce

No cheese..that’s tomorrow

Sloe gin, Drambuie

More crumpets

GLORIOUS LEFTOVERS (and a ham: scored, cloved, burnished and too darned big)



Fennel crackers

Thick nubbly fan shaped oat cakes

Chocolate ginger

Turmeric yellow Piccadilly Piccalilli (it must stain your insides)

And cake, cake…..Christmas Cake (the best I’ve made – thanks to Nigella and a tin of chestnut puree)

Today, 28th December. We’re having salad.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!



Filed under oddbods, writing

Little Black Dress #2

It’s not that little really, in fact, its pretty long.

Party, especially ‘party’ so close to Christmas says ‘long’ to me. I like a bit of a sweep and there are far too few occasions on which sweep is acceptable, so I grab sweep when it’s offered…I think I’ll be the only one again. I can’t help my head being stuck in an MGM extravaganza and firmly attached to Fred Astaire…a dissolute childhood: sunny day, curtains closed against the glare, long frocks and dancing…

I’ve also been having a couture moment. Heaven only knows why when I’ve got Christmas looming and I’m sleep-talking lists and having night panics about stuffing and whether half a bottle of cognac is enough to see us through….Anyhow, I decided that hand stitching the facings and belt would be a good thing, a nod to the tiny, and not always regular, elf-stitched underpinnings of couture. I do like the insides of garments, they tell a story of pricked fingers and relentless unpicking and swearing at the illogical skew-whiffedness and sheer bloody-mindedness of some fabrics….

So here it is. The frock for the sparkly party….all neat and carefree on the outside and stitched into submission on the inside. I put green glass beads on the edges of the belt…my nod to sparkle (and there was plenty of the real stuff there…). It’s made of heavy silk crepe and the braid for the belt came from India via the lovely Cloth House┬áin Soho.

Still feeling a little fragile….


Filed under dressmaking, embroidery, sewing