A very Merry Christmas


We had a lovely day yesterday, the first Christmas we have had together without other family in 20 years! Not that the absence of other family is what made it lovely of course and modern technology meant that we could phone or Skype everyone, so we didn’t miss Dad’s Christmas tie or Hannah’s presents, which she brought to the camera one at a time! Daniel was busy working himself into a sweat with his new London 2012 Wii game – who said that kids don’t get enough exercise with those things?

After a very cold night, we even had a slight frost, but once the sun was up it was glorious. The morning was spent doing a few chores for the humans and sitting in the sun for the dog.

We had decided to make a bit of an effort, so had put up decorations and we even went posh and had a tablecloth! Lunch was a reasonable success – the lentil roast didn’t hold together very well so we had a scoop rather than a slice, but it tasted pretty good if I do say so myself. Our post-lunch walk was in warm sunshine with no jerseys required.

And the mince pies worked rather well. The campsite managers brought us some slices of a traditional Portuguese cake, so we felt obliged to reciprocate, which meant giving up two of them, but it was worth it – the cake was delicious. We spent the evening eating mince pies & truffles, drinking red wine and watching the second series of The Killing, which we bought ourselves for Christmas. A great ending to a lovely day!

For those who are curious, here is a quick tutorial on making mince pies without an oven (or mixing bowl or rolling pin).

Use a saucepan to make the pastry because you don't have a mixing bowl

The neat, organised bit, with the mincemeat I'd made earlier. When you realise that you've forgotten to soak the label off your rolling pin/wine bottle, just wrap it in cling film

The messy bit, using the glass cooker top as a pastry board. A bowl was used to cut out the larger pieces of pastry and one of the little pie tins to cut out the tops

The 'oven' - two frying pans which clip together. Heat them up for a while, pop the pies in and Bob's your uncle

Rig up a cooling rack using a cheese grater & a camping toaster - stops the pastry going soggy as they cool

Ta-da!

S

Comments;

AUSSIE DAD AND JAN
Clever innovation with the pies. Was that a bottle of BSE on the table? And, if it was the rolling pin, was that pre- or post-baking? Finally, you made me wonder what is Portuguese for “jersey”; maybe they have their own locale where knitting warm outer garments is traditional. eg “By lads, it’s a bit parky, think I need my Rossio ao Sul do Tejo.”

F A T
We have finally caught up with your Blogs since seeing you in Abingdon back in November and are impressed with your travels. Very envious of the warm temperatures and blue skies, especially as we put Tristan on a plane to India today. We look forward to keeping up with your future blogs and wish you both a very happy New Year.
F & T

BASIL
Very impressed with pies making your own pastry nothing like adding to the pressure. When will the lemon drizzle cake going to be rolled out. Good to hear you are having a Merry Christmas . Try not to get too crazy at New Year.

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