It's the first day of Advent and i thought i'd get ahead by ordering the Turkey. We usually have a Norfolk Black or a Bronze from Karen at Heathylea farm in Hollinsclough. But, disaster of disasters, Karen's decided that, after the snow of last year, not to bother with Turkeys this Christmas. Living in a small hill farm on a tiny little back road was a nightmare for them last year when the snow hit just a few days before Christmas.It's a shame as her Turkeys were beautiful amazing beasts. We went to see them when they were growing and they were having quite a rowdy party: Radio 2 was blaring out and they were tucking in to Christmas pudding along with their regular food. I swear one staggered past with a glass of wine and a paper hat on its head. Karen did offer to let me have one of their few birds, but as these are really pets i couldn't find it in me to make them hand over Charlie or Alfred in a plastic bag. Think i'll go back to the Ice Cream farm who were taking orders from a local farm at Wildboarclough.
Every family has its pre-Christmas customs. Mine usually involves hunting for all the boxes of decorations in the loft- early, as several involve the children's advent calendars. We have a lovely one with a christmas tree musical box and tiny decorations in drawers to hang on it. It belonged to my older daughter, now in her 20's, and is still intact and just as precious. This year i bought a new wreath to replace my cobweb-encrusted dried mushroom ring above the stove. This one is a ring of Brussel sprouts. And i cracked open the tiny gold perfume bottle of Chambord black Raspberry liquor.The taste is wonderfully warm and inviting. I used some in my Summer Pudding as an alternative to cassis; though i have to admit that this was one case when i chose the product entirely for its beautiful packaging.To my shame.
I see you've caught the Christmas bug, too - not the tacky, commercial affair we're all pressurized into wanting, but the magic and candlelight and distant waft of carols in the frosty night air. Meals are light, at this end too, as we prepare for a season of over-indulgence and stuffing. You offer a quick pasta dish with artichokes and flat-leaved parsley and i think we may go for something similar ourselves. Children seem universally to love pasta however fussy they are at eating and it always figures heavily on our menu.
With yuletide greetings and the sound of sleigh bells from over the hills,