Friday, 23 December 2011

December 23rd - venison and chips and chocolate

Dear Nigel,

Christmas is in full swing here and the food is flying out of the cupboards far faster than i put it in. Today we have venison casserole lovingly made earlier and frozen. But by the time it comes for dinner we are all worn out and comatose and i can't be bothered to peel lots of potatoes to make mash. So we have chips instead. Sacrilege i hear you say. But we don't care, we enjoy it anyway. Followed by a sticky toffee pudding and ice cream.

Yesterday i was making millionaire's shortbread, as requested by Tom. It's not the quickest thing to make or the cheapest, and, when it came to melting the chocolate to go on top i got complaints from my daughter that i was wasting good chocolate - two bars of lindt excellence - . I was rather taken aback. What does this say about my cooking in her eyes? or is chocolate only for eating? Should i resort to cooking chocolate or, heaven forbid, cake covering? Is the amount of time spent not worthy? Are the people likely to eat it not worthy either? It's an interesting question: what is worth enough and what is too high a price to pay (in any kind of sense). My mother has the same problem when it comes to putting good wine in a casserole, yet she will willingly pay a king's ransom for the meat. Others will lavish an inordinate amount of time on a poor quality piece of meat, or go for quantity over quality.

You've been icing your Christmas cake. The children and i did ours yesterday. I went for the ready-to-roll white marzipan and icing and was pleased with the unusually professional finish. Then i let the children loose with the decorations and they made sure it looked like a good old-fashioned homemade affair, like every year. I remember the American frosting my mum used to ice our cake with when i was a child. The idea was that you didn't have to use marzipan which we all detested. And this thick glossy coating, like whipped cream, did the trick. But as time went by it became harder and harder until you fairly needed a dentist drill to crack into the cake. It's not one of those family traditions i've been tempted to replicate.

Happy Christmas,


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