Sunday, 26 December 2010

St. Stephen's Day...

Or Boxing Day as it's more commonly known in our house, will be a relaxed affair after yesterday. I actually think I was up before the children, they didn't wake up until 7am which was a pleasant surprise! I have also come up with a new trick to combat the over-indulgence (on my part) commonly associated with Christmas Day - insist on doing all the cooking! My husband loves cooking, it's his way of relaxing (which I of course advocate, but there are two sides to every coin as he is one hell of a messy cook!), but the main event of the year - Christmas Dinner is now well and truly my domain! Since having children, 3 hours alone in the kitchen, (clearing up as I go along!) with nothing but Christmas Carols on the radio to keep me company (how I love you Internet Radio) is my idea of pure bliss! By the time I have dished up I am no longer that hungry, and definitely can't manage seconds, which means more room for Christmas Pudding later...!

(yet another tree picture!)

Friday, 24 December 2010

Preparing Ahead...

I took this picture on Tuesday night. It was the lunar eclipse the night before, so the moon was incredibly bright. It's really grainy I'm afraid as my camera has more options than I have yet fathomed, but I just loved the light and the shadows cast on the ground! I have noticed that a lot of my pictures seem to be of trees at the moment, and I just wanted to point out that it's not intentional...but then I guess I have always been a bit of a tree-hugger at heart!

Just getting ready for the big day tomorrow. The bread sauce is done and is in the fridge, the chestnut stuffing is almost ready, the cranberry sauce was made at the beginning of the week (that's definitely one ofs my favourite jobs, I love it when they all burst in the pan!) and and is currently defrosting. The cake has been iced, the turkey is enjoying a long leisurely spiced bath ready for it's "sun-bed" tomorrow (my husband wanted to barbeque it, but I think the prospect of standing outside for hours in sub-zero temperatures has put him off somewhat)! The vegetables just need to be prepared and then we can just relax and enjoy these .... My grandmother's mince-pie recipe follows: (makes around 20) 200g plain flour, 50g butter, 50g lard or vegetable shortening, 1 egg yolk, a jar of decent mincemeat. Pre-heat oven to 200°C, sift flour into a bowl, slowly rub in both butter and fat until the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk plus a few drops of water to bind. Roll out pastry, cut out rounds and place in a yorkshire pudding tin (or muffin tin if you don't have a yorkshire pudding tin!). Fill with a spoonful of mincemeat, place a round on top of each one for a lid, making a tiny whole in the top of each one. Bake for around 20 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and see if you can't eat the lot before they have cooled down...

The children are hyper-excited even though they both seem under the weather. Luckily there isn't much more for us to do in the Father Christmas department. I did my most hated job (wrapping presents) weeks ago. I am not sure when I will get a chance to write next, so I do hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Now, back to the kitchen......

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The Ice Rink

The lake looks almost completely frozen now. Apparently it has to be 13cm thick to be safe to skate on and I haven't seen anyone on it yet, but there are a few tentative footprints around the edge. Last year's harsh winter meant that for the first time in around 14 or 15 years it was safe to skate on the lakes here, the police officially announced this just before New Year, when people had already been skating on it for a week or so! The window of opportunity is quite short as further snow creates pits and bumps on the surface making it not so easy to skate on, but it was beautiful to see (we weren't quite brave enough and had no skates last year!), and quite the opportunity for some people who made the most of it and skated across this vast lake instead of taking the half an hour drive or 4 hour walk around it!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Oh Christmas Tree...

We chose our tree on Sunday. In the UK we would normally drive to a garden centre and pick out a pre-prepared tree, but this year we drove to a farm where we walked through the snow until we got to the Christmas Tree forest. You didn't have to walk, if you waited for long enough, you could hop on this very festive transport . It took ages to choose the actual tree as they were all beautiful, but sadly some of them were just far too big. Once we had ceremoniously chopped it down, we dragged it back to the farm, where brave people sat around drinking glögg and eating æbleskiver after exerting themselves with seasonal lumberjacking. We were frozen so decided to go back home for glögg in front of the fire. Funny how the tree didn't look as big in it's natural environment though, poor thing had to endure a further operation at both ends so it could actually stand up in the house....

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Last week we celebrated our wedding anniversary - in the snow. The polar opposite of that hot sunny day seven years ago, in the Garden Route of South Africa. Eager to escape the big rip-off expense that is a big white English wedding, and to incorporate our love of travelling with that of each other, we decided to choose somewhere we hadn't been to before (and unfortunately haven't yet had the chance to go back to yet - maybe for our 10th wedding anniversary?!). We got married underneath a huge jacaranda tree surrounded by a few of our nearest and dearest, who had travelled halfway across the globe to be with us. The following day we rounded off the celebrations with a huge picnic in the nearby Stellenbosch vinyard. We wouldn't have done anything differently at all, and if you have ever considered going to South Africa before, but haven't yet done so, you should. The people are incredible, the country is the most beautiful we have been to so far, and both the food and wine are amazing!

This year, we somehow managed to give each other identical cards and gifts - I have to wonder whether that means we are the most intune couple ever, or whether it says a lot about the "huge" choice of products available here in Denmark!!

The snow hasn't let up really, with only a brief respite yesterday, when I thought we might be in for a thaw. But, it's back again this morning... We saw Betty Stick out walking earlier and it is seriously no exaggeration on my part when I say she's out whatever the weather!

With the cold weather come the usual colds and bugs, and as I write this looking out onto more falling snow, my small boy is feeling very sorry for himself and is currently being kept entertained by watching The Flumps (which was made when his mother was younger than he is now!).

Two weeks left at school until the holiday. I love this time of year in Denmark, it's just incredibly christmassy (especially with the white stuff) and somehow it seems a lot less plastic than at home. It's still commercial of course, and Christmas stuff starts appearing in shops as soon as Halloween is out of the way - but the decorations seem more organic, and there are candles everywhere (even more so than usual!). As we have visitors this weekend, are hoping to take them to go and chop our tree down at some point. Will update when I can.

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