Tag Archives: nobby greens

Panic, Sprouts and Parsnips

I toyed with the idea of not posting today, but it’s a difficult habit to break. The only drawback to posting on Christmas Day is that people might think I’m a miserable, anti-social misanthrope with no friends, but if you’ve read the blog before you’ll know that’s a fair description.

We’ve had a reasonable Christmas. There was a minor panic yesterday when I realised that I had mis-calculated the cooking times. We have had a fresh turkey crown for so many years that, having bought a frozen one this year, I’d completely forgotten about thawing times. Buying a frozen crown made it easier to buy everything in advance but it did mean I should have started thawing the crown several hours before I actually thought of it.

I dropped Julia off at the shops and the way to work and she rang soon after to tell me that she had been able to buy a fresh turkey crown.

Panic averted.

Today, after a late start and a bacon sandwich, we opened presents, ate chocolate and watched TV before I started on the lunch.

This was turkey, stuffing, redcurrant jelly, pigs in blankets, Hasselback potatoes (done with goose fat), roast potatoes (ditto), roast carrots and parsnips (with cumin), stir-fried sprouts with chestnuts, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. The potatoes, when cooked with goose fat, were better than with olive oil, and made a good centre-piece for the meal.

After a number of successful quizzes on the net we are now watching TV again and eating Turkish Delight. It’s one of the things that defines Christmas, the only time we have Turkish Delight.

Tomorrow we will have another of those defining moments – the only time of the year we have turkey sandwiches.

Our casual Christmas was slightly disturbed by Number Two Son ringing to wish us a Happy Christmas. He is currently the facilities supervisor in a budget Toronto hotel, and spent the night dealing with rambling junkies before returning home to microwave a leftover McMuffin. Travel, as they say, certainly broadens the mind.

Finally, the report on last night’s Brussels Sprouts in batter. After a pleasant interlude consuming the nutty-tasting knobby greens, I can confirm that nothing untoward happened and I remained socially acceptable at all times. Apart from the fact that they are breeding less sulphrous sprouts these days, it appears that their famous capacity for inducing wind occurs mostly when they are over-boiled.

Recycled photos again I’m afraid – I didn’t think of photos until I was looking at an empty gravy-stained plate…

 

Me and the Christmas Spirit

Julia, with her normal concern for my moral welfare, has decided that today is going to be spent in a flurry of activity. This, it seems, will prevent me getting into mischief and will ensure that we have an excellent family Christmas.

It involves shopping, buying things we don’t need, and arguing.

What it doesn’t involve, I’m told, is stocking up with beer so that, with the assistance of my brother-in-law, I may construct a masterly essay on brewing and beer tasting. That’s a loss to the world of literature, and if Julia takes her place in history alongside the person from Porlock she has only herself to blame.

The shops will be closed for one day. We will have a special meal. We will do a lot of sitting round eating, talking and complaining about the poor quality of TV. This pretty much describes every Sunday of my youth. Things have moved on since then but have we really lost the knack of sitting round talking about nothing and eating roast meat?

The shops used to close on Sundays, TV only had a couple of channels and we had a roast dinner – the phrase “Sunday dinner” was invented specifically to describe this.

We never had to fight people in the aisles of the supermarket or buy enough food for a week just to see us through until Monday.

I’m not going to resist, as I won’t win. As you go about your pre-Christmas tasks just spare a thought for a poor man being swept along on a tide of Christmas preparations, being elbowed by pensioners as he competes, under the orders of his wife, for the last few nobby greens.

At least my moral welfare will be impeccable, my soul will be stainless, and, after a generous portion of high-fibre brassicas, my bowels will be gleaming.

 

 

What we did on our holidays

You can tell it’s holiday time because the roads are clear, the travelling is easier and there are groups of teachers wandering about dressed as ramblers.

So what did we do on our holiday?

Well, we started by looking at the new bantams and chicks to ensure they were OK.

Sadly there was a dead lamb in the barn. It had been found last night by a group of ramblers, having stuck its head through the sheep netting and then threaded it back through an adjacent square. You couldn’t do it if you tried. In the subsequent panic it strangled itself.

No you couldn’t make it up if you tried. The Farmer had been forced to cut the fence to remove it. That was how tight it had managed to wedge itself in.

Now, I don’t like losing animals at the best of times, and I certainly don’t like losing them to accidents, but this was so random that it is hard to see what we could have done differently.

My first job was to check the incubator and then to look up what a flashing “P” meant. Twenty minutes later I established it was a warning that it had lost power at some point. To be more precise, it had lost power when I unplugged it and moved it. So that was 20 minutes well spent.

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It stands for “Power”

Once everyone had arrived we had a good handling session with the new bantams and altered the housing arrangements for the chicks.

We collected eggs, fed the chickens, did a census of the (heat stress has seen a few of the old ladies off recently) and harvested cabbages. We planted Brussels Sprouts (or nobby greens as they are known in Nottingham), made lavender decorations, twisted corn dollies, showed two groups of visitors around (I keep hoping one of them will be an eccentric and generous millionaire). Julia brought what I thought was a small and tender beetroot in from the garden (I say tender but I have no intention of ever eating beetroot). It turned out to be a radish the size of a golf ball and I suspect it will be both woody and fiery to eat.

We also added more photos to the individual pages and did quite a bit of butterfly counting. (You may already have noticed that.)

And we brought the sun-dried peppers out of the polytunnel.

I think that’s all.

Now all we need to do is get the shopping list ready for tomorrow, get set up for yoga, prepare the kitchen.

Number Two son had a broken tooth extracted this afternoon. I wouldn’t normally bring domestic trivia to the blog, but I had to after asking him what time his appointment was.

Yes, it was two-thirty (tooth hurty – the classic joke time!). I tried not to laugh when he told ┬áme.

It’s going to be a bundle of laughs tonight, me trying to suppress my mirth, Julia being motherly and him drinking his evening meal through a straw.