A plan

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Husband doesn’t cook roast dinners. Correction he doesn’t cook all of a roast dinner but he insists on making the yorkshire pudding, he sees it as “his role” – the same as when the sun comes out a lot of men consider that it is their role to cook, but only if they get to play with matches and a load of charcoal.

Husband claims he has no talent for cooking roasts, he doesn’t know how to get it all on the table at the same time (yet he can do eggs and bacon which requires the same skill on a smaller scale)…and when you ask him to make the yorkshire pudding you realise why he can’t do a roast dinner…it’s because he doesn’t understand the importance of a plan to a roast…so when I say “Darling, dinner will be at x therefore you need to have the yorkie ready to go in the oven by y” he comes into the kitchen at y to make the pudding and sends my carefully constructed plan awry.

I’ve learned to make the timings flexible…

Christmas Dinner traditionally in the family is very very laid back, partly due to the family habit of Champagne at 11am…and the other family tradition known as “sabotage the cook” (this is related to the champagne..!)

However it still helps to have a plan and thanks to insomnia at 3am this morning and a last minute decision not to go to work (due to the insomnia meaning driving would not be a good call today) I now have a plan.  I probably shouldn’t have left it so late, I probably wouldn’t have had insomnia if I’d had a plan and knew just what on earth I was going to be doing tomorrow and when…I may well have been sticking my head in the sand here and pretending that I don’t have to cook sprouts but since I now have a clean oven I have run out of excuses, I am cooking Christmas dinner…

Anyway, I now have a plan. There is no Yorkshire Pud in this Christmas dinner…so all I need to worry about is the champagne…

This year…

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My husband did pretty much all the cooking…I am a very lucky woman… I think possibly I could be pushing my luck here, you see we ordered for christmas

1) A turkey

2) A joint of beef – for the boxing day Christmas dinner number 2

3) A Gammon for turning into a ham and serving up as suppers, sandwiches and quick meals over the next week…

Now here comes the bit where I may be pushing my luck, you see I’m cooking Christmas dinner (for which I am thankful for the fact I came home today to discover he’d cleaned the oven…yes you read that right, my husband cleaned the oven. You all wish you found him first don’t you ?) AND I am cooking the boxing day meal   BUT…

To be helpful we told the lovely people at Glebe Farm (and at some point I will come back and link to their web page) we would pick the meat up on the 24th (as their busy day is the 23rd)…

It was only afterwards that I realised that actually we need to cook the gammon before christmas day…

I’m working tomorrow. Husband is off, with Spider…doing last minute things…including, yes Husband is cooking the gammon

I’ve left him with the relevent page of Nigella Lawson’s Feast, the Fully festive ham…with some amendments for how I want my ham

I have been, for over 10 years now, a very lucky woman… I married a man who sees a task and does it…even when it’s out of his comfort zone… but then he has informed me that in order to finally finish our kitchen off, I have to learn how to tile !

RIP: Keith Floyd

We are a little down here at Appetite for Cake as have recently found out that Keith Floyd has passed away.

Keith is acknowledged here as a bit of a food hero  – Although I give credit to Nigel Slater’s writing for getting me cooking on a regular basis it is Keith, who as I’ve mentioned before really inspired an interest in food.

I’m not going to say anymore, after all I never met the guy and there are no doubt loads of websites out there with tributes, not just the newspapers.

I will though, on my way home from work be stopping off and buying the best free range chicken I can find and lots of garlic and cooking the first thing I ever made from a Floyd cookbook the Chicken with Forty Cloves of garlic (apologies to work colleagues for tomorrow)  and I will sit down with my chicken supper, a good glass of red, dig out my video of Floyd on France and enjoy !

We’ll miss you Mr F, but you will live on in my family’s culinary heritage !

What on earth possessed me ?

This title can refer to 3 things equally

  • cooking a goose
  • going for a run
  • making Christmas presents

I planned to cook a goose. I was full of enthusiasm right up to the moment when Husband and Spider drove off to spend the day with Teenager and Student. The arrangement was that I would have dinner on the table by 7pm…so they drove off and I sat there looking at this flat, floppy defrosted, large goose in the kitchen and a fridge full of vegetables…I sat and looked, I made a coffee, I ate a slice of Christmas cake, I sat and looked. This went on for about an hour when I suddenly remembered I had no potatoes and I’d left the “back up chicken” (in case no one liked it) at my Mum’s…so a trip there wasted another 30 minutes. Then at 11.30 I sat down and wrote a timetable working back by 3 hours.

Now, those who have read the blog before know that I had been inspired by an article in the Observer by Allegra McEvedy. I did however have doubts about her timetable as it was a bit vague on times and seemed to imply that a 4.5kg goose is going to take 1 hour 45 minutes. No, as a rule you are looking at for poultry, give or take, at least 20 minutes per pound – judging by the search terms showing up on my blog this evening (allegra goose complaints) other people have been having problems with this recipe – I took the opportunity whilst at Mum’s to check with Mum and her copy of Delia and we agreed on 3 hours total cooking time.

Anyway, once I had leavered my bottom off the sofa and had a plan to follow everything was fine. OK having to pour off the fat every 30 minutes was a pain and the last 30 minutes of a roast trying to get everything on the table at the same time is always a pain and involves a lot of shouting at everyone else… there was also the problem that the oven was taken up with 3 sorts of stuffing (Nigella’s chestnut from 2 years ago which I found in the freezer, Nigella’s gingerbread stuffing specially requested by husband and the fruit and nut stuffing recommended by Allegara)

verdict : goose doesn’t do it for me anymore than turkey does. You don’t get much meat from it and I’d rather cook 3 chickens instead. But it is almost all brown meat which I love, the leftovers make great sandwiches, there is a lot of free range bones for stock and lots of fat for later roast potatoes (have stoked the freezer with it). On the stuffing front the fruit and nut stuffing from Allegra is amazing, Nigella’s gingerbread didn’t hit the spot for anyone and I am left wondering what on earth you do with left over stuffing ! Also I ended up with 4 empty plates, Spider though didn’t touch any of it but then it had been a long day…

The run – my neighbour Flapjack Queen (FQ) has a dog. The last time I volunteered to walk the dog was at the end of August when FQ was overdue on giving birth. Smiler, the dog did a runner on me and after 40 minutes fruitless searching I went home to own up to being useless only to discover she had been back for ages ! Anyway, FQ was visiting relatives and asked if I would walk Smiler. “Yes no problem I said” thinking Teenager would be back by then and could be bribed with hard cash. Nope, come 4pm I was on my own and the goose had been in for 30 minutes. I poured off the latest collection of fat and went next door to get the dog…

Because of our “history” I decided to put the dog on her lead to walk her as I couldn’t risk her running off as I had the goose in the oven and needed to be back to pour off the fat and avoid the kitchen going up in flames… Smiler, unsurprisingly was not happy and set off at a trot which quickly became a run and then a gallop dragging me along behind her…note to self a goth skirt and chelsea boots are not suitable for running in…although they did have the wonderful effect of hiding the “thunder thighs” I was accused of having at 15 (which is why I stopped running in the first place)…side note here – looking back on pictures of me when I was 18, I had a good figure, I was slim…shame that in your teens you don’t have the confidence to realise it…now I admit, if I run at my age I should have a sports bra on my legs to stop them bouncing up and down…oh oh oh to be 17 again – right nostalgic moan over !

End result, I had my first run of 2009 some 7 days early…it wasn’t too bad in fact and I may well repeat the (with proper footwear) I won’t be repeating the goose unless we get another bargain buy !

And making Christmas presents ? Well when I was younger I used to knit – I wasn’t bad. I have lost count of the number of friends whose children have had hand knits inflicted on them. Anyway, I have under the bed a teddy bear that my Mum knitted which was awaiting clothes…and had been for 4 years. So at the beginning of November I started knitting clothes for this bear but kept running out of wool and then went ill and then ran out of money (again) – and I also had a tiger hat and two dinosaurs to knit and yes I ran out of time and have decided to put the lot on ice until the children’s respective birthdays (Spider, and FQ’s 3 children)…oh yes and having 2 cats haven’t helped as my whole knitting bag is like one great big spider’s web… january-2009-062