Saturday 31 December 2011


Yesterday was my granddad's funeral. He died just before Christmas.

He was 90 years old, which is, by anyone's standards, a pretty good innings, so I'm not sad for him.
I'm sad for me, though, and for all of us that he's left behind.

He did a lot in his 90 years - more, probably, than I will ever know about, and almost certainly more than most of us will ever do.
When he was 15, he ran away to sea and joined the merchant navy. When I first knew him (some number of years later), he was a marine pilot. He was also, variously, a boat surveyor, a councillor, a younger brother at Trinity House, the chairman of the local health authority, the chairman of the county college and countless other things.

He knew everything - a handy skill when trawling through the myriad crosswords that my Granny used to make us all (when we were there - probably mostly him, when we weren't) do every day - I'm pretty sure I don't know anyone else with that kind of crazy general knowledge - and had been everywhere - all over the World.

He had a succession of dogs, cats and other animals that just seemed to turn up - I don't think he ever went out looking for them, but, until a few years ago, he always had at least one on the go. Even after the last of his own dogs was gone, all the others (really all) in town knew who's pockets to go rooting through for biscuits.

He and my Granny did an unbelievable amount of work for charity - between them they must have raised tens of thousands of pounds over the years.

He didn't always see eye to eye with everyone in terms of opinions and things, but would rarely have let them know it, because, fundamentally, he was someone who liked people. And they liked him. All of them. You couldn't walk down the street with him without meeting someone that he knew and without, often, making new friends as well.

Gramps used to tell us all separately, that we were his Favourite Grandchild (such troublemaking!). We all knew this, of course, but I think that, deep down, we probably all also knew that it was true - we were. Despite all the globetrotting and adventure, he was a proper family man, and really quite devoted to his mother, brothers, my Granny, my mum, us - the grandchildren and his new great grandchildren, as were we to him.

As well as all this, he was fun - so much fun - and kind, and the World will be a greyer place without him in it.

But we are lucky to have had someone like that in our lives - most people probably never even get that - and, although I will miss him loads, I know that I am a happier and better person for that.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

WB Yeats

This Coming Year...

... I resolve:

- To get good with chocolate. I pretty much know what I'm doing, but I really need to practise to become more consistent.

- To learn to use my camera to take awesome photographs. I think I might need some actual classes for this one. Or a good book, at least, if anyone can recommend one.

- To do something nice every day - some kind of good deed - it doesn't have to be huge, but it does have to be intentional and voluntary.

There are other, obvious, things that I'd like to do, but I'm a realist and I don't want to be a stereotype, so I think that I'll just do them quietly, in my own time, instead of publicly resolving them for the year.

I'd be grateful for all the support I can get, dear readers, in whatever manner possible, not least in the manner of chocolate testing/disposal.

I hope that 2012 brings you everything you wish for, all of you. Happy New Year!

Sunday 25 December 2011

Christmas Eve

In my house, when I was growing up, we always ate boiled eggs for tea on Christmas Eve. Always. Without fail. And bacon sandwiches on Chrisas morning too, but that's a separate story.
I don't know why. Most likely none of us do.
Since leaving home, we've been trying to establish our own traditions - needless to say, we're not really there yet.

Its pretty important for the Christmas Eve meal to be quick and easy to prepare - there are always far too many other things to do, I think it shouldn't be TOO extreme - after all, the following day, you have to eat enough to sink a small battleship, and it should definitely involve bubbles - I'm pretty sure that's a given.

Not sure we hit it off exactly tonight, but it was good all the same. And the wrapping is all done.

So - lobster and chips. And aioli. All washed down with a 2002 Pol Roger rose.

Now our stockings are hung and we'd better go to sleep.
Don't want to anger Father Christmas...

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Monday 19 December 2011

More Leftovers

I realise that last night's meal looks suspiciously similar to brunch...
I guess that's the way of the leftover.
Fried eggs with refried (or, actually, just fried) Christmas slaw.

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Sunday 18 December 2011


Eggs scrambled in leftover duck fat with blue cheese and Christmas slaw...

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Wednesday 14 December 2011

Slightly Drunk...

Today we went Christmas Bordeaux tasting after work. It was good, but we got home a bit late and drunk.
Husband ordered Domino pizza. I recycled the last of the weekend's leftover beef.

Beef with stirfried green beans, tomatoes, garlic and a smattering of Christmas cheese.

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I've definitely eaten too much Extreme Christmas Food recently and not enough vegetables...
It's starting to make me feel a bit grim, and I know that there's still a LONG way to go.
So last night - garlicky mushrooms and some (surprisingly good for the time of year) tomatoes.
And, because I'm not Totally Unfestive, some Christmas Cheese :-)

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Saturday 10 December 2011

Big Bird

Last night, we ate chunks of ostrich (which I found during an earlier freezer crusade) with something that was going to be ratatouille until I left out the tomatoes, so in fact just ended up being vegetables...

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Friday 9 December 2011

Squash Gratin

Chipolatas with rice and gratin butternut squash (more on this shortly). Delicious.

I also made some penguin flavoured cake pops.

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Thursday 8 December 2011

Bare Cupboards

Oh dear - what can you make very quickly when the only vegetables you have in your possession are three onions and a slightly suspect green pepper...?

This, as it turns out, with the addition of some red lentils and a tin of tomatoes... Actually tastier than it looks :-)

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Tuesday 6 December 2011

Two Kinds of Cabbage

And garlic and bacon and spring onions anna bit of mustard... Deeeelicious :-)

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Monday 5 December 2011

Solitary Tea

Husband has my bug. He is manfully dealing with it and doing a much better job than I did at eating and stuff, but the upshot is that I was cooking for myself tonight...
Since I've been ill and wanted something comforting and also since I was allowed to eat normally banned foods, I went for scrambled eggs on toast - the designated food of the recovering invalid :-)

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Friday 2 December 2011

Last Night

Duck livers with slightly chillied leek and cabbage :-)

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