Tuesday, 7 December 2010

There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home...

I will be posting on my weekend's pursuits soon... unfortunately little things (work, eating, sleeping, car in garage, hellish public transport, messy flat) got in the way yesterday. But bear with me, after being utterly knackered out, a little fairy lightbulb of an idea pinged into life above my head. This weekend, I shall be mostly preparing at home, for celebrating at home (well, the outlaws' outpost in the frozen north- a lovely place full of cider, cheese and bracing walks along the Lancashire coast). It fits frugal, it fits things-to-do. Plus, it's warm and I can do it in my PJs.

Formby Beach In Winter- Brr!
Celebrating at home is one of the best ways to have a fun-and-frugal time; and, because Christmas celebrations are traditionally home-based (indeed frugal and home made, or 70s/80s tacky, are the new 'good taste' if mags and Channel 4 are to be believed!).

Here are my plans:

First off, as any healthy schools co-ordinator will tell you, dehydration is a killer. Even at low levels it can affect your efficiency and effectiveness in pursuing ... well, whatever your current interest is. In this case: Christmas cheer. I lost my train of thought there - probably through dehydration. See what I mean??

For many, it's a time to crack out the vintage port. We did this a couple of years back; I must admit port isn't my forte and I rather embarassed Sir Florizel of Tweed by describing the vintage (oh yes, it was a vintage port, natch) as a cross between gin and Vimto, then referring to the bottle as the 'Ginto' for the next 48 hours. It did, however, result in Sir Florizel of Tweed's Universal Panacea: a cure-all consisting of two shots of gin (or Vodka), a shot of Vimto cordial, topped up with boiling water. It really does cure most ills! I think he just realised that he could save abot thirty quid a pop by giving me this instead of the proper stuff.

If you have slightly higher standards in beveragery than I, check out these easy-to-make recipes:

Paula Deen's hot drinks: I am a Paula Deen addict. She's an Americal celebrity chef, more of the Nigella as-much-cream-and-butter-as-you-can-muster ilk than a Jamie O (...ironically making junk food rebelliously cool to teens, rest of rant removed...). Anyway, I'm not saying Paula is in any way whatsoever healthsome- I use one maybe once a month, max because these recipes are utterly calorific, but at least it's consistently bad for you with no mixed messages (like 'other brands, too salty, my brand...errr').

Yes there is butter in those mugs.
Hots drinks like this are fabulous for a winter take on the tea-party, accompanied by some dainty 'high tea' bakes, mince pies and a cheesy movie. But after dark, it's time for something a little stronger. Oh shame, the hours of daylight are so short... as my old auntie would say 'the bar opens at twelve'...

I would go for mulled wine myself. Or some lovely cocktails - the Good To Know website might not be the most frou-frou and fashionable website, but it is fantastic for simple recipes such as:
Cheesy red and yellow pepper canapes
Smoked Salmon Blinis
Christmas Dinner canapes (oh yes!)
...but, if you are having peeps round for Christmas drinks, I have to recommed these olive penguins: so Christmassy, so camp, so perfect. While I'm at it, I thoroughly recommend Cut Out And Keep for simple craft inspiration: projects are added all the time, by users, so even complete clutzes like myself can manage most things!

OK. So I have my recipes sorted. Next up, decor... aside from the cheesy ole tree, that is.

Byedy bye...


  1. G LOATHES Paula!! I'm amused by her,that accent is too die for fabulous!
    You've mentioned some things dear to my heart,mainly port,mulled wine,gin...booze,really.What else is the silly season for?!I don't have any standards,darling,when it comes to plonk.
    Cute olive penguins!! I'm gonna do those for a garden party I'm going to on the 19th!!!

  2. Hello there.... :o) !

    THANK YOU so much for stopping by our party to help celebrate our combined 100th posts....I hope you were able to meet some 'new to you' blogs....!

    Your entries are in the tub & I have my fingers crossed for you for LUCK....!!

    Have a WONDERFUL week....!

    Cheers for now,
    Tamarah :o)

  3. I usually go for mulled wine - so easy, bung it in the microwave and it is done (yes, I know that is utmost laziness but needs must). Haven't drunk port in years but did use it to make sauce for our duck last year and it was delicious.

  4. Penny Dreadful- Ooh, a port sauce, that sounds a great idea. I have a duck in my freezer - I might well try that out. Thanks for the tip!

    Helga- a garden party at Christmas, lucky you- we can dream here in chilly Britain. :)

    & Thanks for your message Tamarah! Happy 100th!

  5. mmmm smoked salmon blinis. I could scoff a platter of those right now. Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog. x

  6. I actually haven't figured out what I'm going to do for Christmas. In the past, I've done elaborate dinners (like I prepared my own turducken last year, deboning it all myself, and not skimping on any sides to make it a really special dinner). I make silly things like the cream cheese olive penguins all the time, but this year, the request was just some enchiladas, so I may have it easy, wee!

  7. Hi there-well so far I've invested in some Rochester Dickensian Ginger from Holland and Barratt, which gives a good non alcoholic kick!! Thanks for stopping by too!!

  8. Oh I must try that, I love ginger!

  9. There may be some good news for you over at my blog tomorrow. But can you please email me as the only way I have to contact you is via your blog comments section? My email is in my blog profile. Cheers! :-)

  10. Oooh how exciting. I will email you... :)

  11. Hi Perdita, got your email, hope you got mine back? Just need to know where you want me to send your prize, congratulations! :-)


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