Thursday 24 December 2009

Festive roast and punch

Today is the chaos that they call Christmas Eve. Most sane bloggers are probably too busy to even glance at the computer but I need a bit of down time. It has been a busy morning with Sylvia being a rascal: throwing every bit of food she can off the high chair, mercilessly chasing Zinc and rushing over to grab the beer every time I open the fridge door. So while she is sleeping I thought I would share a few christmas pics and simple ideas for christmas.

Last Sunday, after decorating our own tree the previous day, we headed down to my mum and dad's place to help decorate their tree. It is much bigger than ours as they have more space. At the top is a photo of both old and new decorations. The angel is one of my favourites from when I was a child. The ball with 'Sylvia' written on it is one of nine that my sister organised to be made with each of my parents' grandchildren's name written on it. What a great idea!

Of course there was lots of food. Here are some of the cute shortbreads that my sister in law Erica made. My sister Fran made some great gluten free chocolate cupcakes. I was too busy to take much down, apart from some cheese pastries that my mum had left in our freezer when she kindly stocked my kitchen for when we got home from Scotland.

I also took some juice as I had been curious to try Delia Smith's suggestion of equal amounts of red grape juice, cranberry juice and ginger ale. While waiting at Glasgow Airport, I had time to flick through her Christmas book and I happened to read that this was her favourite non-alcoholic combination. My mum had a cranberry and pomegranate mix which was nice in the punch but I have since experimented further and it is better with just cranberry.

I also had my first glimpse of the new chook house that my mum had just had put up. She will be getting chickens in the backyard once they are in stock. Did you know that even live chickens sell out at Christmas. Stay tuned for some fresh eggs on the blog! Thanks to Grace for taking this photo for me. Not bad for a 5 year old.

Mum and dad's garden is looking beautiful with lots of roses in bloom so I can't resist a photo.

Back home, I decided to try a recipe for Oat and Onion Roast from Nic at Nip it in the Bud. It is a good simple alternative to nut roast for those who have nut allergies. I have also been searching for ideas to use some of my sage while it is thriving and before the cruelty of summer's heat hits it.

The recipe called for mixed herbs and didn't specify if they should be dried or fresh. I don't think it really matters which you have, especially as the measurement is a dessert spoon which is much more flexible than tablespoons. I am sure Nic would appreciate my handful of fresh herbs straight from the backyard because she is keen on her allotment gardening.

The roast was delicious with lots of salad for dinner when we got home from decorating the tree. We were able to watch a Very Speccy Christmas. Both E and I were pleased to see a great Aussie Christmas show as we purchased the Radio Times at Glasgow Airport and E has gone over every detail of every show as he missed the British tv at this time of year. Our favourite show title is Cardigans at Christmas. How very British. I also love Santa Dalek on the cover.

Well, Sylvia is awake and creating mischief once more. E is finished work early and has been dispatched to the shops for swiss cheese and cherries, despite telling me that going to a supermarket cramps his style. The Christmas nut roast is cooked but I am avoiding making pastry for some mince pies. I should go and face them.

There will be more festive recipes after Christmas. But until then, I wish all my readers, family and friends a very merry Christmas and much fantastic festive feasting.

Oat and onion roast
adapted from Nip it in the Bud
  • 4 oz (125g) oats
  • 4 oz (125g) grated cheese (I used a smoked vintage cheese but any cheddar will do)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 onion, choppped
  • 1 handful of fresh chopped herbs (I used sage, parsley, thyme and rosemary but Nic used a dessertspoon of mixed herbs which I presume were dried)
  • 1 heaped tsp of promite (Nic used marmite - any yeast extract or stock paste will do)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Grease and line a tin. I used a slice tin 18 x 28cm which made it very thin so next time I think I will try a loaf tin - 13cm x 22cm.

Mix all the ingredients together then tip into prepared tin and smooth on the top with the back of a spoon.

Bake for about 30-45 minutes, depending on how big your tin is. I think 30 minutes was enough for the slice tin. Serve with a nice chutney or gravy.

Delia's Festive Punch (non-alcoholic)

from Delia Smith

125ml cranberry juice drink (I used Ocean Spray which has sugar in it)
125ml red grape juice (I used Extra Juicy juice)*
125ml ginger ale (I used Schweppes)

Mix and drink. It serves 1-2 people but can be scaled up depending on how many you are serving. Delia suggests serving it with lime slices. I would fancy trying this with orange slices too.

* Update: I have also found that Grapetiser or other sparkling red grape juices can be used in this punch.

On the Stereo:
A dark noel: the very best of excelsis projekt: various artists


  1. I wrote a long comment about the decorations and Radio Times and then my computor crashed!!!!!!!!
    Hope you enjoy your Christmas in the sunshine, Im quite jealous :)

  2. what a gorgeous blog! i love your angel, it looks like my brothers angel back at our mum's place! Merry Xmas!

  3. The ornaments are beautiful--and the roast looks great, too. We've done some cooking tonight and getting ready for the big meal tomorrow--here I am, too, with some down time at the computer on Christmas Eve!

    Hope your day was a happy one and that Sylvia enjoyed her first Christmas :)

  4. A big hug to you my dear Johanna. Wishing you and your family all the best in the year to come!

    "See" you shortly in melbourne :P

  5. Thanks Fleur - sorry to hear your computer is crashing - nothing so frustrating - I am jealous of your snowy christmas so we are even :-)

    Thanks lovepossum - the angel looks like my little girl - but the angel has more hair

    Thanks Ricki - isn't downtime on christmas eve a wonderful thing!

    Thanks Anh - excited to hear you will be in melbourne - that is a nice christmas present for you

  6. Hehe perhaps Sylvia was just excited about Christmas! :) How exciting that you're getting some fresh eggs too, they'll be fantastic!

  7. yay you tried it - looks so delicious I can almost taste it with all those lovely fresh herbs.
    N x

  8. Johanna I just love all the roasts you make!!


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