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Friday, 30 December 2011

Post Christmas Recreation

Well I hope you all had a truly delightful Christmas. Ours was fantastic. 

Unfortunately I can't tell you all about it in gory detail as I was made to sign a gagging order and am only allowed to tell you: What goes on at Christmas stays at Christmas. 

Now I bet you are all intrigued! It probably sounds like we snorted coke off reindeer's heads!  

Sadly not, we save that for NYE, but it is safe to say we had a super time.

On the 27th at the crack of sparrows, Mr Rose and I headed to Bicester Village for a touch of sale shopping. 

We made it back to our London abode exhausted but happy.  We fought half of Shanghai and Tokyo for suits, coats, frocks and shoes. 

So when we got home we had a restorative slice of Christmas cake, which you may remember I made a few weeks ago.

Well it turned out blooming delish. 

Here it is before icing 

Then you have to paint it with apricot jam melted with brandy.  Mr Rose is rather precious about his one remaining bottle after our burglary. So I decided to use Amaretto and as I was feeling festive I sloshed lots onto the cake as well.  

Here it is after stage 1 - the marzipan. 

Then the final product! 

I was pleased as punch with it and I think liberally dousing it with Amaretto has made it amazingly moist. 

Do pop round for a slice if you are in the area! 

Rose xx

Take two

Ok here is the photo

(please god) 

Testing testing 123

Well this is all very new and exciting - I'm blogging from the lovely new iPad Mr Rose gave me for Christmas! 

Not exactly sure if this will work or how I post pictures so thought I'd do a little  test run. 

This is the vast amount of sale shopping we brought home from Bicester Village. 

If this works then I promise a proper post very soon. 

Rose x

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas with my family

This year we have a few Hangers On / Beloved Guests attending our family Christmas:  Mr Rose, Mr Cousin LL and Miss Cousin TL.  The poor darlings haven't been to Christmas at ours before so here is a little taster of what to expect.

The Scene:  The Twins (my mother and Aunty Mame) dislike to be parted at State Occasions, so we always have Christmas all together.  Actually none of us really like to be parted on State Occasions.  As our clan grows with fiancées and boyfriends we are bursting at the seams, someone needs to buy us our own village. 
As Aunty Mame's house has more bedrooms, my family usually rock up at theirs on Christmas Day at about 1pm and stay put for full 48 hours, before Uncle R chases us out with a broom. 
The venue is a gorgeous Queen Anne house in a stunning Cotswold village, in the constituency of The Right Hon. David Cameron.  You get the picture.  It will have been tastefully decorated with white lights outside the front door, a huge tree in the drawing room, boughs of holly and ivy over the fireplaces and a roaring fire. 
Within minutes of entering the house you will have been handed a large stiff drink (usually gin or champagne), been offered homemade canapé and had a backwards compliment about your scarf "So bold to pick mustard with your complexion!". 

The Cast:

Auntie Mame:  The Grand Dame of Christmas and Hostess with the Mostest.  She will have organised Christmas by October 22nd, complete with mental lists of what games should be played, when they should be played and who should win them.  Walks and routes will have been decreed "A brisk walk round to Chav Close to see the lights now, though you will be disappointed as it isn't nearly as vulgar as last year".  Menus will be planned carefully as it is no mean feat to feed 12 people for 3 days.  Food will be delish and plentiful.  Most likely to say: "Anyone not up for breakfast by 10am will find themselves having yoghurt and fruit, waffles will only be served to those who can rise at a godly hour!"

Uncle R:  He will welcome us all warmly to his abode, keep us all gently pissed for a few days by replenishing our gins regularly and will no doubt be wearing a jaunty pair of socks.  He will excel at Boys Against Girls Trivial Pursuits by knowing an obscure fact about baseball in 1987, and Aunty Mame will look very fondly at him muttering about how she married well.  Most likely to say "Annie has drunk all the Baileys but I think I've got another couple of litres of it in the barn.."

Grandma:  Grandma lives on her own apart from a cat who she loves like a 4th daughter.  She will talk about the cat quite a lot.  She will also talk about Hamas, Lebanon, Syria and the state of the Middle East. A strict Catholic, she is very concerned that most of her beloved grandchildren are LIVING IN SIN.  Most likely to say:  "Mr Rose, come and sit by me and tell me what you think of Ed Miliband.  Now - when are you going to marry my Granddaughter? Hmm?"

Cousin LL:  She will be wearing an outfit that looks like Prada, but will actually be something she picked up in Hammersmith Primark - she has a knack of making clothes look very expensive.  She will be a huge help to her mother, Auntie Mame, will leap up to help in the kitchen. Not only helpful, she is great fun and good at keeping the peace.  Most likely to say: "Rose if you don’t get off your well padded bottom and come and unload the dishwasher there will be trouble!"

Mr Cousin LL (Cousin LL's Boyf):  He hasn't been to Christmas at ours before, so it shall be interesting to see how he copes.  I've once played Articulate with him and nearly didn't live to tell the tale, so safe to say he will be excellent value in the games arena.  Most likely to say:  "I'm not watching sodding Bridesmaids, Mr Rose - shall we watch Newsnight in the kitchen with a brandy?" 

Cousin TL:  Recently back from Argentina, he will now be an authority on red wine.  Likely to sniff at the Chateauneuf du Pape and go misty eyed over a rather jolly little red they enjoyed on a ranch.  Manages to get out of most dish clearing because of him being the only child with a penis, but we forgive him because he plays the piano like and angel and will do so for hours so we can have a good sing song.  Most likely to say: "WHO HAS SEEN MY SELECTION BOX?"

Miss Cousin TL (Cousin TL's Girlf): The first Fiancée of the group, she will be goodness personified - cheerful, jolly and able to answer endless questions about her upcoming wedding without even a grimace.  Since she has joined The Clan we now receive excellent presents from TL as she is well known for her exquisite taste.  Most likely to say:  "Uh oh, was the cat?  Quick, please pass the antihistamines"

My mama:  She will be in her element, she loves nothing more than having her 'chicks' around her.  She will also have a slight air of disappointment around her, as a few years ago my Dad surpassed himself and managed to sneak a new Mini onto the driveway so when she opened the curtains on Christmas Day the yelps of joy could be heard in a 4 mile radius. Ever since then, it has been hard to go back to normal Christmas presents as she really feels, as we all do really, that presents should be so large they have to go on the driveway.  Most likely to say (to my dad) "Did you set the SKY Plus for the Christmas Strictly Special?  I left you a highlighted Radio Times - it was your only job to do this week!"

My papa:  Pops will be full of Christmas Spirit and stuffing. He used to spend his Christmas Days building Sylvanian Houses but those days are long gone.  Now he will look slightly appalled  at the dress Izzy got in her stocking and have his nose in Jenson Button's unofficial biography. He will make dreadful puns which make us all laugh.  Most likely to say: "Please could I have seconds of the apricot stuffing and the chestnut stuffing.  Oh and another slice of ham please.  Have you got any pickle, Mame?"

Rose To The Occasion:  I will be wearing a slutty frock, too much lipstick and inch long false eyelashes for the first half of the day, leisure wear from 5pm onwards.  I'll have half an eye on Mr Rose to check he isn't saying anything rude / bored / desperate to read a newspaper.  It is important to give your all on Christmas Day so I'll make sure I get pissed and tell rude jokes, pretend to empty the dishwasher while actually slyly dunking a kettle chip into cold bread sauce, and try and persuade everyone to play as many games of Scrabble as possible.  Most likely to say: "I am 100% percent sure that the Trivial Pursuit card is incorrect, Leona Lewis won X Factor in 2007 I'd state my life on it"

Mr Rose:  His first Christmas with My Clan.  He is used to a very quiet and intellectual Christmas Day, with discussions over lunch of the latest plays, novels and political situation in North Korea. So our loud, musical and jolly festivities will no doubt leave him a little quiet.  He can eat for England, so Mame and my mum go into competition as to who can feed him the most.  He will slope off the watch 24 Hour News regularly, especially when there is singing, but will be excellent at all the quizzes and will make me very proud.  Most likely to say:   "I wouldn't watch Bridesmaids if you threatened to cut off my balls with a spoon. Mr Cousin LL, shall we watch Newsnight in the kitchen with a brandy?" 

Annie:  Annie and Cousin LL try and compete on Best Daughter stakes, so she will also be swanning around clearing up my gin glass before the ice has had a chance to melt and handing round plates of canapés.  She will be itching for Christmas Dinner to finish so she can have a bloody good sing song around the piano and delight us all with her voice.  If I am pissed enough I will no doubt shed a tear if she does a solo.  Grandma will mutter darkly about how she is wasted in ‘the devil’s business’ (Advertising) and should have been on the stage.  Most likely to say (at regular intervals, high volume and with aplomb ) “best Christmas EVER!!”

Izzy: Izzy will wear a natty little outfit.  As she is the youngest of the clan, she still gets treated as the baby even though she is 21.  As the apple of all of our eyes, so we shall turn a blind eye if she is glued to her iPhone texting her handsome boyfriend who will be in France. Will probably sneak off at some point to watch Kristmas with The Kardashians on TV. Most likely to say: "Rose, will you give me a liquid eyeliner lesson after breakfast?"

I hope that sets the scene of what, I have no doubt, will be another joyous, raucous and hilarious Christmas.

May you all have jolly times!

Rose xx

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Particular Loveliness of Lemon Tart

So - picture the scene. 

I'm on the Northern Line, casually listening to Mariah's All I Want For Christmas Is Youuuuuuuu on a loop and very loudly, annoying the whole carriage. 

I look up and see a girl standing in front of me engrossed in a book.  The book is entitled The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. 

This struck me as rather odd, because Lemon Cake is gorgeous.  Who doesn't like a bit of Lemon Drizzle?  Even Mr Rose who is well known for announcing 'Its not pudding unless it has chocolate in' is fond of my lemon drizzle cake.  How on earth can lemon cake make you sad? 

Anyway, instead of finding out why lemon cake made the person in the book sad, I decided to use it as a tenuous link to one of the best recipes I've ever tasted - made by my lovely colleague S for a team dinner party last year.  The poor lady has offered (well, was coerced into) having us all for a team dinner party again next week - she is a wonderful cook and I have my fingers crossed she will make it again. 
It is from BBC Good Food and is a classic Lemon Tart. 

Click here to see the recipe. 

It is lovely and light and would make a great pudding over the festive season!

Rose x

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas is just around the corner

Well it has begun.  My Christmas Tickle kicked off this morning - on the Northern Line at about 8.50am.  I am now well and truly excited. 

Reasons for the Christmas Tickle:

  • I saw cousin LL last night for more than 1 glass of fizz, and we discussed how much we are looking forward to all being at her parents for Christmas.  It is unusual in a house of grown up kids that we are all there at once, but this year we have managed it.  It will be raucous.
  • I have my team Christmas Party tonight.  30 of us will be hitting the local All Bar One - the theme is Get Wiggy With it.  I shall be in a hideous ginger wig teamed with a leopard print dress, red lipstick and a medium heel, just in case I need to dance my arse off. 
  • The Michael Buble Christmas Album is the gift that keeps on giving.  His duet of White Christmas with Shania Twain not only combines 2 of the 3 best things to come out of Canada (the third is Bryan Adams who has been rudely missed off the album) but will put a very christmassy spring in your step.  Check it out here
  • Tomorrow I have the day off work.  I will be sleeping off the inevitable hangover, then popping to Waitrose to pretend I'm a North London Jewish Housewife.  I shall wear my biggest jewels for the trip, obvs.  Then in the afternoon after cooking up a storm my oldest pals, Carrie and Katia will be arriving for their Annual Christmas Trip to London and much merriment shall proceed. 
  • The Christmas Decorations box has come out from under the spare bed, the wreath is up on the front door - the tree goes up Sunday.  
  • Auntie Mame has emailed this morning with details of the finalists for The Christmas Song.  The Christmas Song is a long standing family tradition which makes us look rather odd to outsiders.  Every year after Christmas Lunch we have a little sing song when we are all as pissed as newts. Cousin TL hits the ivories and we kick off with Bohemian Rhapsody, in a rousing chorus.  The next song varies every year.  Sheet music is handed out. We have had 'You're so Vain', 'Halleluiah' and 'Don't Stop Believing' in recent years.  Watch this space to find out what we pick.
So dear readers, play this track very loudly and spread the cheer -

Rose x