We have never hosted a Christmas meal before, we’ve usually been honoured guests, but a new bijoux, riverside home needs new traditions. I have to admit, our nervousness has never been so robust, but we decided to bite the festive culinary bullet and invited everyone round to us for Christmas lunch. It was emotional.
Darrell took to the helm like a well oiled captain, organising a Tesco online order with a 9.00 – 10.00pm delivery slot a few nights of nights ago.
We did have a couple of substitutions, but these didn’t phase Darrell, he said he could work round them, having “normal” Smarties, when three tubes of pink ones were ordered “ …..was a disappointing, but not of life changing order” he said philosophically.
What Darrell didn’t do himself, he left to Nigel and I, and we were more than happy to go along with all he asked of us.
Laying a table and arranging serviettes and crackers and unbagging sprouts were part of Nigel’s duties and I was put in charge of keeping on top of the washing up down so that the kitchen didn’t look like an explosion in a sprout factory at the end of the day.
I have to say it all went like clockwork (Darrell, bless him, had created a festive spreadsheet for all jobs that had to be done and their exact timings) and, I have to say, watching Saturday Kitchen with Hugh during our recent stay also helped. Hugh certainly had a lot of very useful top tips, especially those involving sprouts and stuffing balls.
Reflecting at the end of the day our greatest triumph had to be our Festive Foraged Fruit Crumble, for which we could all claim some small part with happy memories of the summer when we all went foraging for blackberries and plums by the river with Darrell proudly swinging the wicker basket he had always dreamed of having for country pursuits! What is he like?
The said crumble went down very easily, accompanied by proper custard, and plans of what we can do with our foraged fruit next year, and Darrell wondering aloud if he could launch his own range of exclusive riverside chutneys and jams!
When all our guest had left, full and not a little merry, and the kitchen returned to normality we settled down with a festive tub of Celebrations to watch Love Actually, our festive film of choice, and a little bottle of something I had secreted in the fridge.