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Festive Preparations

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Messages: 151 - 185 of 185
  • Message 151

    , in reply to message 150.

    Posted by grumpykewwoman (U11102344) on Tuesday, 11th December 2012

    Dena Darling, don't worry there will be sprouts on the stalk/stem for you to munch on here at GKW Towers on CD or even CE!

    Report message1

  • Message 152

    , in reply to message 151.

    Posted by Denadar (U8017493) on Tuesday, 11th December 2012

    Looking forward to it Grumps darling.

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  • Message 153

    , in reply to message 152.

    Posted by NoFrillz (U14455049) on Wednesday, 12th December 2012

    Not done our menu yet and so haven't made the food and beverage shopping list - must get on with it.

    I think I've got all the gifts either ready to wrap, or winging their way here.
    The way the cold snap's going I shall be happy to stay in and sort out all of that.

    Meanwhile, tasteful lighting all in good working order

    Report message3

  • Message 154

    , in reply to message 153.

    Posted by grumpykewwoman (U11102344) on Wednesday, 12th December 2012

    Frillz, lovely as always but a tad understated compared with last year don't you think? What happened to Santa & his Helpers chasing each other round the roof?

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  • Message 155

    , in reply to message 154.

    Posted by Denadar (U8017493) on Wednesday, 12th December 2012

    What happened to Santa & his Helpers chasing each other round the roof? 

    They are alive and "kicking" and opposite my house - Happy Crimble!!

    Report message5

  • Message 156

    , in reply to message 154.

    Posted by NoFrillz (U14455049) on Wednesday, 12th December 2012

    Yes Q, we decided to go for chic and stylish this year, it's the back garden we've gone all out on!

    Never mind us though, am happy to see that the village house which really goes to town with a gazillion lights is now being sponsored, that'll help with the electricity bill. The donations they raise go to the British Heart Foundation.
    And luckily for the locals, opposite the house is the Church and the Primary School, so no problems with the neighbours.

    Report message6

  • Message 157

    , in reply to message 156.

    Posted by Denadar (U8017493) on Wednesday, 12th December 2012

    I wish I was clever enough to take a photo to show you all.

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  • Message 158

    , in reply to message 157.

    Posted by grumpykewwoman (U11102344) on Wednesday, 12th December 2012

    Dena Darling, I knew they had to be somewhere. Frillz, I did wonder if you'd transferred some of the larger lighting assemblies to the back acre, must have taken some doing, how long were the lighting crew with you?

    Report message8

  • Message 159

    , in reply to message 158.

    Posted by NoFrillz (U14455049) on Wednesday, 12th December 2012

    We've had a lighting crew handy now for three weeks now Q, more hard at work than handy - but that's a whole other story.

    Have come to post a link

    The Hairy Bikers aren't everyone's cup of tea, as I said on the Food Thread, but the canapes look lovely. They made pastry cases and did a bacon and egg breakfast one and then a veggie Ploughman's - visually arresting I think, with everything cut on the diagonal and using tomberries (if you can't source tomberries, use the tiniest cherry tomatoes or halve them)

    Report message9

  • Message 160

    , in reply to message 159.

    Posted by DeeKay Bee - Disenfranchised (U236881) on Wednesday, 12th December 2012

    I wonder how long the empty pasty cases would keep? They'd probably be handy to have in ready to be filled with either sweet or savoury as necessary.

    Report message10

  • Message 161

    , in reply to message 160.

    Posted by NoFrillz (U14455049) on Wednesday, 12th December 2012

    Easy to make in advance and freeze, especially as you wouldn't be keeping them too long anyway.
    I don't like to keep pastry really, I always think it goes a wee bit 'sad' iykwim, although it improves with reheating.

    Report message11

  • Message 162

    , in reply to message 161.

    Posted by My Mum is turning in her grave (U13137565) on Saturday, 15th December 2012

    Just wanted to say Thank You to GEm for the Mushroom and Ale pie receipe. I tried it out on my sons who are here for the weekend and it was pronounced delicious by both including the ardent meat eater.

    Report message12

  • Message 163

    , in reply to message 162.

    Posted by Sparticadet-fluff (U15496961) on Sunday, 16th December 2012

    Ditto....with festive bells on! One of my (new) favourite recipes of all time I've said before!


    Report message13

  • Message 164

    , in reply to message 163.

    Posted by GEm (U4356909) on Sunday, 16th December 2012

    Glad you enjoyed it. Firm fave in here too

    Report message14

  • Message 165

    , in reply to message 164.

    Posted by Rhona D aka Meen Bonkers (U219830) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    Tagging on...

    This Christmas, we'll have Christmas pudding, as per; but none of my kids or their partners actually *like* Christmas pudding. Any thoughts as to a festive dessert I could make - preferably ahead, as I'm working on Christmas Eve till after midnight and on Christmas Day, I don't expect to be home till noon. Bear in mind I don't have a freezer or a microwave...

    (Looks at GEm hopefully, cos GEm has an answer to EVERYTHING.)

    Meen x

    Report message15

  • Message 166

    , in reply to message 165.

    Posted by DeeKay Bee - Disenfranchised (U236881) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    We always have trifle so I'm no use to you (unless you want trifle).

    I was looking at this last night social.marksandspenc... and may do them over the Christmas period but not on Christmas day.

    What about bread and butter pudding using panettone?

    Report message16

  • Message 167

    , in reply to message 165.

    Posted by Dee (U3082905) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    caramel oranges (make a coupleof days in advance)

    Mulled wine jellies

    Make some meringues, keep them in a tin & put together a Mont Blanc type dessert with chestnut pureé & whipped cream

    Forgo teh pud & have a fab cheesboarsd complete with quince jelly, apples, pears, grapes, celery etc

    Report message17

  • Message 168

    , in reply to message 165.

    Posted by GEm (U4356909) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    Oh dear Meen that's a lot to live up to!

    Depends how old your guests are but have you thought of salted chocolate caramel pots? You can do them in advance and you only need tiny portions as it's very sweet.

    Alternatively I usually make a festive fruit salad (again you can do a day or two before). Get the exotic fruits and cut the up into slices or flower shapes etc. Then put them in a bowl with orange juice mixed with some powdered ginger and cinnamon and a couple of star anise. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge till an hour before you need it then remove and bring up to room temperature. Whizz a bit of cream till softly peaked and stir in a splash of cointreau (you can omit for non-drinker) with the pulp of passion fruit. Just before serving drain off some of the orange juice (reserve for festive cocktails) and top up with just opened champagne or sparkling wine. Put a couple of sparklers in to bring to the table and hey presto a light and healthyish dessert .

    If you have an ice-cream maker how about doing ginger and champagne (or elderflower) sorbet or a lime and coconut one? Or you could make an ice-cream using the same ingredients and mix in a bit of dried fruit and a few nuts to make Christmas pudding ice-cream. You can make it at the last minute so you don't need a freezer (you can make the mix in advance and chill it in the fridge.

    Or how about a rum and chocolate truffle torte

    Any of those appeal - I can supply instructions for the salted caramel pots/torte /ice-cream if those are the ones you fancy


    Report message18

  • Message 169

    , in reply to message 168.

    Posted by Rhona D aka Meen Bonkers (U219830) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. There are some good ideas there.

    Fruit salad is a bit dodgy, GEm, as one of the non-pudding eaters is allergic to almost all uncooked fruit, apart from grapes and citrus fruits.

    The non-pudding-eating guests are aged 17.5, 20, 22 and 26.

    I don't have an ice-cream maker - my only electrical kitchen gadgets these days are kettle, toasted-sandwichmaker (because I had no cooker when I first moved), hand-mixer and stick-blender thingy. I have very little cupboard space and even less worktop space. (I just measured the latter out of interest and the two sections of worktop are 44cm and 29 cm respectively. My kitchen table, 75cm x 75 cm - attached to the wall - has become extra worktop space by default, but there is no electrical socket on that side of the kitchen.)

    May I have the instructions for the caramel pots and the torte, please?

    Report message19

  • Message 170

    , in reply to message 169.

    Posted by Dunlurkin NL (U2675855) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    Meen ...wave!

    Make a mulled wine mixture, with a little extra sugar perhaps, and poach peeled mandarins/clementines/satsumas for a longish while until thoroughly steeped in mulled wininess. Remove the fruit and turn up the heat under the mulled wine. Reduce till it becomes a sticky yummy sauce and pour over mandarins.


    Report message20

  • Message 171

    , in reply to message 167.

    Posted by Denadar (U8017493) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    If your family really don't like Christmas pudding or things like that, I second the jelly option. I made a brilliant (Heston's) Champagne jelly, in fact I often make jellies now (have bought Bompass & Parr's "Jelly" - love it - glow in the dark jelly.) A nice light finish to a heavy meal.

    This Guardian link gives some good suggestions, even the Kir Royale jelly, which is the one I made.

    It is amazing how most adults will say Jelly? Wow.

    Report message21

  • Message 172

    , in reply to message 169.

    Posted by GEm (U4356909) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    Salted Caramel Pots. These are delicious but keep them small - this will do 2 normal size portions or 4 "taster" portions

    4 tbsp dulce de leche or canned caramel (you can use the one from Carnation)
    ½ tsp sea salt , plus extra to serve
    85g each dark and milk chocolate , broken into squares and mixed
    1-2 long, thin, plain bread sticks
    2 tbsp demerara sugar
    100ml double cream , at room temperature
    50ml milk

    Mix the caramel with the salt, divide between 2/4 small glasses and chill for an hour or more so it's quite firm.
    Melt the chocolates Snap the bread sticks into short lengths, then dip each end into the chocolate to coat a little. Sit on a wire rack for the chocolate to drip and set a little, then dip the chocolate ends into the sugar to coat. Sit in an airtight container lined with baking parchment and chill to set until ready to serve.
    Stir the double cream and milk into the remaining melted chocolate until smooth, then scrape into a jug. Slowly pour on top of the caramel, around the edges first. Chill the pots for at least 2 hrs, or up to 24 hrs.
    To serve, scatter a little more sea salt on top of each pot, then add one or two sugar-tipped breadsticks.

    This is a BBC Good Food recipe and is lovely

    Report message22

  • Message 173

    , in reply to message 172.

    Posted by GEm (U4356909) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    Chocolate Truffle Torte - this is a Delia recipe and my friend will wash up for a slice of this! This makes one cake and you need very small slices. You may want to have some pouring cream to serve with it

    75g Amaretti biscuits, crushed finely
    450 g really good dark chocolate - I sometimes use one of the Green and Black flavoured ones - the chilli one is a real grown up taste
    5 tablespoons liquid glucose which you can get from the pharmacy
    5 big tablespoons rum
    570 ml double cream

    Line a 9 inch cake tin (springform if you have one). Put the crushed biscuits over the base of the tin and pop in the fridge to "set"
    Melt the chocolate with the liquid glucose and the rum (or any other alcohol that goes with chocolate if you don't have or like rum) until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir, then take off the heat and leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes or so until it feels just warm.

    Whisk the cream until slightly thickened. Fold half into the chocolate mixture and then fold that mixture into the rest of the cream. When it is smoothly blended, spoon it into the prepared tin. Tap the tin gently to even the mixture out, cover with clingfilm and chill overnight. Just before serving, run a palette knife round the edge to loosen the torte, then give it a good shake and turn the whole thing out on to a serving plate so you have your biscuit crumbs on the top.

    If you want to make it festive then you can add some icing sugar/cocoa powder, a bit of holly or some edible gold leaf to decorate.

    If you make this a day or so in advance keep it in the fridge and it is even better on day 2!

    Tiny slices or you'll all be sick!

    Report message23

  • Message 174

    , in reply to message 172.

    Posted by Denadar (U8017493) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    Love Dulce de Leche - but oh so rich.

    Report message24

  • Message 175

    , in reply to message 173.

    Posted by GEm (U4356909) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    If your non-fruit eater is okay with it then you could add some grated orange or lemon zest to the chocolate mix and swap the rum for cointreau or Grand Marnier. You could put clementine/seeded satsuma segments in the mix or on the bottom (top of the cake tin so theyre' on the bottom when you turn out).

    Both of these can be made the day before or even on the Sunday for serving on Tuesday. Turn out the torte and decorate on the day and put the breadsticks in the caramels on the day but you can do all the messy stuff ahead of time.

    Report message25

  • Message 176

    , in reply to message 175.

    Posted by Rhona D aka Meen Bonkers (U219830) on Monday, 17th December 2012

    Tagging on... thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. (And wave to Dunlurkin!)

    As luck would have it, I happened to make dulce de leche the other week for the first time in my life; so I think it's going to be the caramel pots.

    I love the other ideas, too, and have made notes for future reference. I will definitely do the torte at some point over the festive season - and yes, citrus fruits seem to be ok for my "non-fruit-eater".

    Report message26

  • Message 177

    , in reply to message 176.

    Posted by GEm (U4356909) on Friday, 21st December 2012

    We had a chinese auction at our office party yesterday. It was brilliant fun and a great way of keeping costs down if you are with a large group/family and don't want to spend a lot but want to make present giving really fun and lots of laughs

    Each person has a set amount of money to buy a gift - you need to be as creative as possible (we had a £5 budget). Then you have to wrap it so it looks as attractive as possible, no tags and then everyone puts their gifts into a sack or under the tree. Then when you are ready to do present giving write the numbers 1 to n (n being the no of people/gifts) on bits of paper and each person takes a number out of the hat. This is the order you pick the present in.

    Then person no 1 picks a present from under the tree and opens it showing it around to the rest and people have a laugh at the creativity. Then person no 2 has a turn they can choose to either select a new present or they can "steal" the present from person 1. If they steal then person no 1 gets to select and open a new gift.

    Each subsequent person gets to choose whether to open a new present or to "steal" any of the previously opened present. If your present is stolen from you you then choose to steal (any present except the one you have just lost) or select a new one. Once the swapping around is done then the person without a package chooses, opens and you move onto the next number.

    It is absolutely hilarious once people start doing the stealing - you just watch stuff racing around the room. The idea is everyone ends up with what they want out of the selection (or rather nobody does). It takes ages and involves so much laughter.

    If you have an adult Christmas worth thinking about to add a bit of the fun back into present giving

    I ended up with plasticine with cutters which I shall be playing with this afternoon - once the hangover subsides!

    Report message27

  • Message 178

    , in reply to message 177.

    Posted by Dee (U3082905) on Friday, 21st December 2012

    I really like that idea. Can you steal back a gift that you have had to give away after a turn? I mean if you steal my gift & I open another then a third person steals mone, can I still what is now your gift back at that point?

    Report message28

  • Message 179

    , in reply to message 178.

    Posted by GEm (U4356909) on Friday, 21st December 2012

    I think you can steal back after that turn if you get a chance. Mind you I think you can make your own rules up so you could add it in as a rule. Just don't have too many as it gets fast and furious!!

    It was a fab way to do presents without spending a huge amount of money and everybody got interest and pleasure from every package.

    People really do have to put some thought into the gifts though otherwise no-one wants to steal. One or two of the ones yesterday were a bit naff and no-one stole at all.

    Report message29

  • Message 180

    , in reply to message 179.

    Posted by Dee (U3082905) on Friday, 21st December 2012

    And much more fun than a traditional secret Santa.

    Report message30

  • Message 181

    , in reply to message 180.

    Posted by NoFrillz (U14455049) on Friday, 21st December 2012

    I'd be mortified if I'd bought a gift that no one wanted to steal!
    but it sounds fun.

    My own personal Christmas present style is to wrap our girls' gifts early and think I'll remember what's in them.
    Come Christmas morning it's a time honoured ritual that I've forgotten and get excited to find out what's inside some of the packages. There's also the 'hilarious' moment when something has to be snatched back quickly and swapped over.

    I've bought extra tags this year but have already had to open one parcel to check what it was.

    I hope I've labelled YD's cats' presents properly, they're a boy and a girl and the presents are pink and blue >smiley thing<

    Report message31

  • Message 182

    , in reply to message 181.

    Posted by Denadar (U8017493) on Friday, 21st December 2012

    I can see sulks over the Christmas if you haven't labelled them properly Frillz. Best Boy is still sulking over the C.L. it doesn't give enough cover for him to hide behind.

    I am starting writing my Christmas cards and wrapping today. Better late? I'll think about the cooking tomorrow - doh.

    Report message32

  • Message 183

    , in reply to message 182.

    Posted by GEm (U4356909) on Friday, 21st December 2012

    Phew - I've just made an array of Festive Desserts

    Chocolate honeycomb cheesecake
    Festive Fruit pudding (a sort of summer pudding with christmassy flavours and some calvados)
    A boozy fruit salad and some passion fruit creams to freeze.

    I've got Christmas biscuit dough rolls in the fridge and my Christmas pudding & cake finaly feeds and cake is iced. I now need a lie down!l

    Report message33

  • Message 184

    , in reply to message 183.

    Posted by GEm (U4356909) on Sunday, 23rd December 2012

    Just watching Nigel Slater as I missed it on Friday and I have some questions

    - if it's Christmas how come outside in his garden all the trees and bushes are covered in lush green leaves

    - how come his fridge looks so tidy? Mine is like the cupboards when you open it you have to get ready to catch and push everything back in as it's overstuffed.

    Our Christmas day this year was due to be OH and me as all the smalls were going to be with their partners parents. One dumped g/f as she said his best friend couldn't come (He has no family and has since they were 13 been here for Christmas)so decided to ask if he could come home with best friend. His twin got to hear about it so she and boyfriend decided they just HAD to be here too. Then oldest found out and got really stroppy about being left out (???? - erm your decision old fruit) so he and girlfriend are coming. OH has just asked given we are overrun can his mate who otherwise would be on his own come too - and oh yes there is another one as well.

    I THINK therefore I have gone from cooking dinner for two to cooking dinner for 10. Not bad eh? I might just cater for an extra 2 to make sure there aren't any that no-one's mentioned.

    Hey ho. Good job my butcher is a good egg and didn't have a problem this morning when I called to ask for my venison joint to be increased in size a little (!!!) I've just been to waitrose and got all the extra veg and stuff - there'll be a lot of roasties consumed.

    Merry Christmas one and all!

    Report message34

  • Message 185

    , in reply to message 184.

    Posted by Denadar (U8017493) on Sunday, 23rd December 2012

    Merry Christmas everyone. I've got venison too GEm, but not that large a piece.

    I think Christmas is so much nicer when there is a large crowd. Much more fun.

    You evidently love food Gem, so why not drop in to the Foodie thread. Most of us on there are passionate cooks.

    Report message35

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