Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Almost Ready!



Like everyone else I'm very busy at the moment and I haven't much time for either blogging or commenting. I thought I'd just post a few photos of bits and pieces around my home to show you what I've been up to. Above is my goose who sits on top of the fridge and keeps an eye on things at this time of the year.


Part of my collection of handmade rustic pottery along with the recently acquired cranberry heart. That may well stay there permenantly even though it's a Christmas decoration. Most of the pottery is made by John Leach of Muchelney Pottery in Somerset. I love his work. If you click on his name it will take you to his web site which tells a little of the history of the pottery.



I made the wreath yesterday, the one on the back door is always much simpler than the one on the front of the house. I made a ring of willow withies which usually lasts several years and it just has ivy and variegated holly from the garden wired onto it.



This is the piece of stitching that I showed in the previous post now made into a pin tuck, all hand sewn. I'd rather sit and sew by hand than use a sewing machine



Last Saturday my friend Linda and I went up to a craft fair in North Yorkshire and there was one small stand selling lovely primitive bits and pieces. I fell in love with this stocking with the little mouse peeping out of the top so it came home with me. :)



Another corner of the kitchen with lots of my bits and pieces, the horse brasses are old and genuine, the lovely heart was painted by Karen of Moonlight and Hares, clicking on her name will take you to her lovely blog.



The wreath at the front, the brick wall isn't a great background for it but I can't use either nails or a wreath hanger on the porch door so it has to hang at the side instead.



I've been cooking as well, cabbage au gratin here to go with the boeuf bourguignon that I forgot to photograph! Both are in the freezer ready for Christmas Eve dinner.
The cabbage dish makes a very ordinary vegetable into something rather special, underneath the breadcrumbs and butter is the cabbage in a bechamel sauce mixed with double
cream, mustard powder and cheese. It's simple enough but it takes a while to make the bechamel sauce.



Chocolate Crunch Christmas Pudding - rich, spicy and absolutely no cooking involved apart from melting the chocolate, butter and syrup before adding the dried fruits, spices and rum. Served with single cream this is another one that everyone loves but a little goes a long way. This is in the freezer too.



A while ago I was asked if I'd post the recipe for my lemon cream pie so here it is, very quick and easy and very popular, I've given the recipe out dozens of times over the years.

Base

Crush 12 oz digestive biscuits and mix into 6oz margerine(or butter if you are feeling like a little luxury!) Press into 2 7-8" flan rings and leave in a cool place to set.

Topping

Whip 10fl oz double cream until thick but not too stiff. Add grated rind of 3 or 4 lemons. Beat in alternately 8fl oz lemon juice (made up with water if necessary) and a 13oz can of condensed milk.
Divide between the two crumb bases and leave in a cool place, preferably a fridge, to set. Garnish with sliced kiwi fruit or strawberries.
Freezes well and takes about 11/2 hours to defrost.

25 comments:

blackbird said...

What lovely Christmasy touchs that you have around your house. I love the kitchen goose! and the holly and ivy wreaths.

The recipes look great- especially the cabbage au gratin. I'll have to try that.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I love seeing photos of your Christmassy house!! And I am so very impressed that your Christmas dinner is already done!! Good going!

Such a lovely holiday place here on your blog. So very festive, I love it!!

Happy holidays to you!

Janet said...

It's that busy time of year! Your house looks great. I think the wreath looks lovely against the brick wall.

Love the stocking with the pointy toe! And thanks for sharing the lemon cream pie recipe. It sounds simple enough that I might be able to do it!

Wanda said...

Rowan...your header photo is so beautiful. I love your Christmas goose on the fridge and your rustic pottery. I have several pieces my son-in-law has made over the years.

I can tell the guests you have for Christmas will eat very well. I'm copying your lemon cream pie recipe and may even make it tomorrow.

Have a wonderful Christmas,
Wanda

Thimbleanna said...

Ooooh Yum! Thanks for the recipe Rowan! It looks like you're all ready for a fabulous Christmas. And I LOVE the Christmas-y blog look!

Rosie said...

You are looking very festive at the moment - I've enjoyed looking at all your decorations and lovely food. The chocolate crunch pudding looks delicious and I love the pretty wreath you made on the door - I think I too would have had to bring the mouse in a stocking home:)

laoi gaul~williams said...

lovely!!!

FireLight said...

Rowan, all aglow with Christmas! The whole presentation is a glorious Christmas card!
Peace be with you!

Derrick said...

Hello Rowan,

BIG change around here for the festive season. Looks lovely! As do all your own decorative touches. The wreaths are great. Seeing these familiar items reappear for Christmas is what helps to make the season bright! Enjoy your celebrations.

Tea with Willow said...

I'm loving the photo in your header, just beautiful! Also, I love the little stocking with the mouse peeping out - I can see why you couldn't resist it!

I wish I could be so organised and have meals ready prepared in the freezer - it must take alot of the pressure away when you have a houseful! Lovely puds too!

Willow xx

Roy said...

Hi busy Lady, great new layout to the blog, nice but cold looking header and the Christmas pud looks delicious.

Granny Sue said...

You HAVE been busy! When you get time, would you explain to the American what single cream and double cream might be? I'm mystified.

Love the wreaths, and the pudding...wow! I'd like to try that lemon pie. What is a digestive biscuit, though? Clueless again... :-)

Morning's Minion said...

Thank you for the lemon creme recipe--its one I'd like to try as an alternative to lemon meringue.
Folk art and hand-mades, new or vintage, create such a homey place. Love the goose--although the ones I've met in person can be very pinchy!
It is inspiring to catch glimpses of where others live--the interior photos as well as the landscapes..

Rowan said...

Granny Sue, single and double cream are about equivalent to your light and whipping cream. Digestive biscuits are a kind of cookie, I was forgetting that biscuit means different things to an American and an English person:) I think graham crackers would give the same sort of result.

Shirl said...

Hi Rowan, everything looks lovely including your new layout. My! You have been a busy bee ... :0)

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Glad you are keeping busy and enjoying the season Rowan. Love the Goose!
Merry Christmas! Lynda

PAT said...

Beautiful post, Rowan. The food looks wonderful! I haven't even started my cooking!

I love your goose and all the other wonderful Christmas things in your home.

Merry Christmas!

Derrick said...

Hi Rowan,

Just wanted to let you know that after seeing your new blog theme for Christmas, I popped over to the scrappinblog and chose one of the designs for my shop blog. So, thanks for the inspiration. You can see it here is you wish:

http://presentperfectinmelrose.blogspot.com/

Leanne said...

your goose is gorgeous rowan! Ive got things here from moonlight and hares too- they are stunning, and very special to me.

Leanne x

Diane said...

Thats the proper way to use a freezer - so very Good Housekeeping. I am truly impressed. Your decorations looks lovely. I'm up for a visit to Lichfield in Spring - I'm sure that Rosie would play tour guide! By the way, Kelham Island is free entry over the school Christmas holidays - but you need to call to check opening times. Have a great Christmas Rowan. xx

Bovey Belle said...

Your house looks very festive. I have left the decorating til now (when G is home). Wreath making tomorrow, and I will endeavour t make our house as pretty as yours is looking. All that baking looks FAB too.

Mary said...

Yum, those dessert recipes sound delish - I must definitely try. After all, Digestive are so healthy, aren't they!!!!?

Happy Christmas Rowan - have a wonderful time.

thesnailgarden said...

Thank you for the recipe, I love all things lemony, so I will make that one day soon. Beautiful wreaths, best wishes Pj x

ruthie said...

dear Rowan, how lovely to see all your christmas loveliness, thank you for sharing x wishing you & yours a wonderful christmas and a ll the best for the new year x

uphilldowndale said...

What beautiful wreaths, they are harder to make than any magazine would ever have you believe!