Christmas dinner day 2014

Yesterday, I made a proper Christmas dinner for my friends, just like I do every year.

First, there was this:

Curried butternut squash and carrot soup
Curried butternut squash and carrot soup

Then there was this (with apologies for the horrible blurriness of the photo… my camera has given up the ghost and apparently I cannot use Jan’s AT ALL!)

Round 1!
Round 1!

Here, you see mashed potato, mashed sweet potato (courtesy of the lovely K), salsify in a Bechamel sauce (thnaks to my neighbour!), roast potatoes, bread sauce, turkey, pigs in blankets, spicy sausage meat stuffing and carrots roasted in cider vinegar and honey with a few chilli flakes. Aaand of course, gravy (real English Bisto!). Not pictured (because I don’t eat it!): broccoli.

Finally, there was this, made by my friend P:

Some kind of dessert made using black bread and rum (it was very nice!) and tri-coloured jelly, which I didn’t eat any of because I was just tooooo full!

Delicious! And, as usual, there are enough leftovers for Jan and I to have Christmas dinner all over again. Score!
I shall leave you with a photo of the turkey, which came out pretty well even if I do say so myself.

Christmas dinner 2014


A Photo an Hour: Christmas Dinner Day

When Jane from Is That You, Darling said she was going to be hosting her next Photo an Hour session on the sam day I was making my annual Christmas dinner for friends, I knew immediately I would have to join in. Every year I post a few photos of the turkey or the food-laden table… this year, you’ll be getting a behind-the-scense look, so to speak. I couldn’t always stop what I was doing straight away, so most of my photos were actually taken at 10 or quarter past the hour, but I’m labelling them with the full hour anyway…

8 am. Up far too early on a Saturday! But my new slippers almost make up for that 🙂

Elmo slippers

9 a.m. A large cup of tea is needed before I can face starting all the cooking!

Large tea

10 a.m. Making a list of timings and foods so I don’t forget anything! (Now you get to see my terrible handwriting…). The list says “sweet potato dip” but I ended up doing an avocadon one instead because Jan didn’t go shopping early enough.

To-do list

11 a.m. Decorating… because you can’t have Christmas dinner without making the flat look festive, too!

xmas decs

12 noon. This marks the start of a whole lot of photos taken in the kitchen. Look how sexy my apron is 😉

Apron selfie

1 p.m. Preparing the starter… could this be the biggest garlic clove EVER? (Pictured next to half a lemon for scale).

Garlic and lemon

2 p.m. Two dips down.. two more to go!

salas and bean dip

3 p.m. Chopping and peeling for the main course has commenced…


4 p.m. Time to make the stuffing. First step: Chop up the celery…

Chopped celery

5 p.m. Making progress! These pans contain potatoes, bread sauce and stuffing.


6 p.m. Time for the carrots to join the potatoes in the oven.

food in oven

7:30 p.m. (Because at 7 I was too busy taking things out of the oven and putting other things in bowls to take a photo). Most of the food is on the table… do you think I made enough? 😉

Christmas dinner

8 p.m. Dinner time! And a bonus photo for you… the actual “photo an hour” picture is the one on the right. Ten minutes earlier, I took a photo of my starter even though it wasn’t photo time yet.

… and that was the point where I stopped taking a photo and hour because I was too busy stuffing my face and chatting to my friends. I did take more photos of the evening, but most of them are of people and none of them were taken at an assigned hour.

And in case you were wondering, the verdict on my Christmas dinner was: delicious! (A special shout out goes to my friend K, who made an amazing sweet potato side dish and also provided dessert!)

Friday letters (still busy)

Aaah, FINALLY it is Friday – and let me tell you the weekend is much needed! It has been a crazily busy week. But even now the weekend is here I won’t be relaxing. Tomroow, I’m makingmy traditional English Christmas dinner for German friends – plus one Scottish girl – which means a day in the kitchen. At least that’s a fun kind of busy though. And the good news is, I’ve managed to get further than expected with my big translation job, so I shouldn’t need to work quite as many hours as feared next week…

Letter to Santa
Photo credit: moonlightbulb

Dear boyfriend. Thank you for suggesting we eat at the Irish pub on Wednesday. I know you had an ulterior motive, but it was nice of you to notice how stressed I was and say it would save me from having to cook.

Dear Germany. The Local tells me you are falling out of love with Lebkuchen. Are you mad? I’ll have your share if you don’t want it…

Dear Christmas gifts on order. Please hurry up and arrive! The day I need to leave for England is rapidly approaching…

Dear turkey. I know you’re huge, but please be defrosted in time to go in the oven!

Dear 2013. You haven’t been the best year of my life and I can’t wait for you to be over! Here’s hoping 2014 brings more travel and less illness…

Dear readers. Please bear with me for a few more weeks. I’m going to be very busy between now and Christmas! And while  I do have some posts for scheduled over Christmas/New Year, I’m going to be away for both so don’t be too upset if it takes me a while to get round to answering comments…

P.S. Please got to Diaries of an Essex Girl’s blog and read her post on Labels Agianst Women then leave a comment – this is something that NEEDS to be discussed by as many people (male and female) as possible.

Showing the Germans how it’s done

So, my Christmas dinner went well again. There was way too much food, of course. That’s the whole point in Christmas dinner, isn’t it? Actually, we seem to have ended up with more leftovers than usual, although I didn’t think I had made more food. Perhaps people weren’t as hungry this time?
Anyway, here’s what we ate:

Food, glorious food
Food, glorious food

For the starter, aubergine rounds and very garlicky tomato bruschetta (delicious!).
Then came the main course. You probably can’t tell what everything is from the photo, so here’s a list:

  • Turkey (obviously…)
  • Bread sauce (home made)
  • Spicy sausage meat stuffing
  • Bread stuffing with herbs (not pictured – it eventually went were the aubergines or on here – made by my friend K)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Roast potatoes
  • Broccoli (yuck! That one was for the others…)
  • Carrots
  • Honey-roasted parsnips
  • Pigs in blankets – made with Bratwurst!
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Gravy
  • And home made lemonade to drink (plus some passion fruit flavoured sparkling wine that I picked up purely because the label had a picture of a multi-cultured lizard that I thought was cute)

Here’s a picture of just the turkey. It was perfectly cooked – even if I do say so myself, which I kind of have to since there’s nobody else here to say it for me. Not too dry, but not undercooked either (every year I am paranoid about poisoning everyone!).

I swear it's not the same turkey as in my last post...Turkey 2010

Desert was an apple and raisin crumble with Amaretto, again made by K. By this stage in the proceedings, I had forgotten all about cameras, so there are no photos of it. Never mind, I’m sure you all know what crumble looks like. And for the record, it was delicious!

I’m knackered now (didn’t get to bed til around midnight!), but it was worth it. And at least I don’t need to worry about what to cook for the rest of the week. Turkey with everything it is!! Here’s how I’m making tonight’s tea…


Turkey time!

Today is the day of my annual Christmas dinner, otherwise known as showing the Germans how it’s done in the UK (and that British cooking is not actually terrible, honest) day. Except this year there will also be a Scot joining us, and she already knows how it’s done. So she’ll just have to join the ranks of the showers (that’s ones who show, not appliance that squirts water at you) rather than the showees.

Here’s my 2010 turkey for you (it seems I took no photos last year). For obvious reasons, I can’t show you this year’s outcome yet (it’s only just gone in the oven).

TurkeyI haven’t poisoned anyone yet. Let’s hope this year isn’t the first time 😉

No time for sniffles!

I’m currently drinking cold tea. That is tea that’s supposed to cure colds as opposed to tea which is no longer warm. Sometimes having one word for many things can be confusing!
After 3 very busy days off, ending with a lovely day out in Bad Wimpfen (pretty but seemingly underpopulated village about an hours drive from here) and at the Heilbronn Christmas market with Jan, I woke up at 6 this morning ready for work to find my throat was sore and my nose blocked. The latter was temporarily cured with a hit shower and menthol sweet, but that didn’t stop me from feeling like death warmed up all day. So now I am driking cold-curing tea and willing this illness to disappear as quickly as it came. I do not have time for illnesses! I have a Christmas dinner to cook on Saturday, and I will not cancel! After I paid 13 euros for it the turkey that is currently defrosting in my fridge must be eaten! And next week I have the final pub quiz of the year to go to, followed by a friend’s 30th birthday party at the weekend. And on 14 December its my work Christmas meal. No illnesses allowed! In just over 2 weeks I start my Christmas holidays, then I can get a cold if I really must. But until then Lemsip and strepsils are my friends!

Struck dumb

The Christmas dinner went really well. My crackers were a resounding success, the turkey was cooked exactly on time and I actually managed to get my roast potatoes to go brown! (I have bad luck with roast potatoes). It was 6am by the time I got to bed, after the last few stragglers had left and we’d managed to wash and dry our way through the huge pile of dishes. Even after we’d filled the dishwasher with the smaller stuff every kitchen surface was still covered with things to be washed. *sigh*. We got through it eventually though, and Ess was kind enough to stay and help. All in all I’d say it was a good night.

Still haven’t managed to get rid of the evil cough/sore throat thing though. In fact, today I’m coughing more than ever and my voice is almost completely gone. Most annoying! I need to get it back in time for work tomorrow.
Anyone got any ideas on how to get your voice back fast, other than sucking strepsils and drinking warm water that is…

Take my advice…

If you ever decide you want to make Christmas dinner for 10 people make sure you a) can drive and b) have some suitable vehicle to do said driving in. Failing that find someone who does have a vehicle and is willing to ferry you and all the shopping home.

If you choose to ignore this advice remember that bags of potatoes are very heavy, as are bottles of wine.
You have been warned…

The trouble with turkeys…

Tomorrow I have to go and buy a turkey. You see, for some reason I decided it would be a really great idea if I were to make an English Christmas dinner for my friends here in Germany. So that’s what I’ll be doing on Saturday.

I went by Rewe today to look at turkeys. I found one that was 3800g. That’s 8.3 pounds. That’ll be enough to feed 12 people right? I mean, there’ll be plenty of other stuff to eat… mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, bread pudding, stuffing (home made I might add!), veg, pigs in blankets… the works. Anyway, where was I? Oh, turkey.

So, 8.3 pound turkey. Marvellous. Now, the things is, it’s absolutely impossible to buy a whole fresh turkey in Germany, unless you know a farmer and get him to personally wring it’s neck for you and make sure nobody tries to take it away and turn it into turkey breasts and legs and wings and… basically anything but a whole turkey. So I have to buy a frozen turkey. (Actually I’m quite lucky to get that – I found exactly 2 supermarkets in Karlsruhe that sell frozen turkeys and the only reason they even have them is because we’re so close to the French border! That’s right, they’re French turkeys –  Germany is not a turkey country, apparantly). The problem with the ginormous frozen turkey is that it’s, well… frozen. And a huge 3.8 pound turkey takes a long time to defrost. A very long time. Waaay longer than I was expecting. According to the internet a turkey of that size will take around 48 hours to defrost in the fridge. Yes, I said Fourty-eight. Hours. That’s madness! And brings us to problem number two…

Exactly where am I supposed to defrost this giant turkey? I do not own a whole fridge. I have one measly little shelf in a small fridge that I share with 2 other people. There’s no way on Earth I’m going to get that turkey on my shelf. Even if I had no other food in the fridge I’d probably struggle to get the turkey in there. So I’m now going with the stick the turkey in my floor’s drinks fridge option as suggested by Jan. I just hope none of the people I live with objects. Currently there are exactly 2 bottles of water in the drinks fridge so it should be ok, but knowing my luck this will be the week that everyone decides they desperately need cold beverages or else the world will come to an end.
Wish me luck?