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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰

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…

carrots

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.

Pans

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? πŸ˜‰

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 whileΒ  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.

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 πŸ˜‰

Post-fun blues

Do you know the book Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield? It used to be one of my favourites as a child. Anyway, at some point in the book one (or possibly two) of the girls is involved in a play and the others get to to go matinees and stuff and have special teas, then when it’s all over the two younger ones get upset because it’s all over and they feel like nothing nice will ever happen again. That’s me at the moment.

So on Friday night I went for that meal with work. The restaurant turned out to be not just pretty posh but incredibly posh. Not quite as expensive as Brenner’s Park Hotel but up definitely up there with the ones that are soo not suitable for a girl like me (I’m common as muck don’t ya know). The food was gorgeous. I had foamed chick pea soup with some mini springroll type things filled with some kind of grilled fish floating in it for my starter. For the main course I ordered Veal “served two ways” (I am translating this from the German). This consisted of one piece of veal tenderloin (perfectly cooked and absolutely gorgeous) and something that tasted to me like canelloni (as in pasta tubes). These were filled with shredded veal. This was served with carrots, pureed parsley (it lloked like bright green mashed potato!) and gravy. Dessert was passion fruit creme roll served with coconut flavoured icecream. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Last night I cooked lamb for some friends. There ended up being 6 of us (originally it should have been 7 but one ended up being unable to come). I have never roast lamb before so i was very nervous but it turned out really well. The lamb ended up being perfectly cooked. It was well done (because I detest medium meat) but still very tender and not at all dry. The mint sauce went down well, the roast potatoes were perfect – for the first time ever! And I actually managed to get the amounts almost right for a change. There was only just eneough left over for Jan and I to have them for lunch today. It was a brilliant night, full of good food, good wine and good conversation.
And now it’s all over and I just feel blah. Just like the girls in Ballet Shoes who thought nothing nice was ever going to happen to them again. Obviously I know there are things to look forward to and I will have fun nights again in the future, but right now it’s hard to remember that. Especially since all I’ve done today is sort out, wash and hang up laundry and I still haven’t had any more news about flats. So much for February bringing an end to the blues…

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 –Β  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?