Saturday, 2 January 2016

The Aftermath

So, it's over at last.  We've taken down the tree, put the decorations back in the loft, and emptied the chip pan.

We only had, what was it, three arguments during this morning's procedures.  And we've agreed on proposals for re-decorating upstairs in the coming months.  As you can see below, this bedroom, decorated in primary colours to our younger daughter's specification when she was eight (she's now 28) needs to be first on the list.

After they'd gone

I've cleaned the house three times, changed the beds, and we have hosted four large, festive meals totalling 33 people.

There was one major incident when our younger daughter told our elder that she "Hates Mum", provoking elder to give back her present and declare that she did not want to have anything more to do with her sister.  I think we've managed to overcome this.

I got through hosting the New Year's Eve dinner party for eight by devoting a whole day to skivvying, helping with all preparations (hub did the cooking), and by not drinking any alcohol at all.  You will see why this was necessary when I tell you that his menu plan included the following:

Two starters, for one of which he insisted on making his own mayonnaise from raw eggs.  For the other he made vegetable stock by boiling a saucepan full of fresh veg which then had to be thrown out.  (Stock cubes and mayo from a jar are anathema).

Three puddings, nothing simple like fruit salad.  Apricot frangipane tart (he made his own pastry and his own frangipane, you could just grate marzipan).  Cheesecake, (again, he made his own sponge base, you could use mashed up biscuit crumbs in butter).  And Delia's ginger sponge puddings, which involve three steps, make the sponge, grill it, and cover it with a creamy ginger sauce.

The main course I have left until last, as reading it might cause a loss of will to live. 
Pea puree (with fresh mint). Asparagus.  Lemon sauce (made by melting butter and zesting fresh lemons).  And the centrepiece - salmon fishcakes.

For this, you have to peel, boil and mash potatoes,  and bake the salmon in an aromatic bath in the oven.  Then you flake the salmon and mix with shallots and a few other flavourings.  Form into balls, dip them in raw egg, then breadcrumbs (home-made, naturally), and finally fry in a deep-fat fryer.
I spotted hubby hovering over the supposedly automatic fryer with the basket in one hand and a jam thermometer in the other, constantly monitoring their progress.

So, an eight-stage process, which ended this morning with us throwing out all the oil from the chip pan (after two arguments provoked by the difficulties), and me saying, with deep feeling, "I really, really hope you never make that dish again."

Chip Pan Dismantled in Disarray, a Defective Robot.

In his book, Gary Rhodes describes his recipe with the words, "This is simple to make."

Fortunately the neighbours seemed to really enjoy the party.  They blew whistles, balloons and pea-shooters with abandon, helped by plenty of wine.  The meal ended with indoor fireworks.

Hub had gone to the office earlier to fetch a fire extinguisher, but it was not needed.   Thank goodness.  Now we can relax.


  1. Happy New Year...wishing you all the best for 2016.x

  2. Marks and Sparks do excellent salmon fishcakes for future reference. I think I'd have taken myself off to the pictures or the pub while all that was going on. Funny how the Festive Season acts like a therapy session for some and lets them get things off their chest. Hope the air's cleared now between the sisters. Happy New Year to you too. x

  3. Thanks Nana! Interesting thought, never considered the Festive Season as therapy!

  4. I've made many a fishcake in the past, but they really are a pain, so now I just make a really big one which is basically all the filling in a big round glass dish covered with breadcrumbs and put under the grill. Tastes the same and is hugely less work!

    Happy New Year!