Roaring fire, wrapping paper on the floor, little children running around and plenty of fizz. Yep it had to be Christmas Day ( even if it is one day late! ) To some this may have been Boxing Day, but here we'd pushed Christmas Day back and were celebrating it in full force! 

The fizz of the day was Gusbourne an English Sparkling wine that was recently mentioned on a BBC programme The Twelve Drinks of Christmas. Having never had an English 'fizz' before I jumped at grabbing a bottle or two when I saw them at Selfridges. It really is delicious and I would buy it again. A hit with the family too!

Mum got back into her element today and created an astonishing 3 course feast! The main event was a Beef Wellington! I haven't had Beef Wellington for years, so I was incredibly excited about having it on our "Christmas Day".

After a glass of bubbles it was time for prepping the Beef Wellington. John was at hand with stringing the meat before it was wrapped in puff pastry that had been spread with mum's home made chicken pate and sauté mushrooms. There is a version of my mum's pate here on the blog - FIELD MUSHROOM & FARMHOUSE PATE.

John and Lou are both both trained cordon bleu chefs and know their way around prepping meat. Which John showed his skills on one of my previous posts HERE.

But today he showed us how to string the fillet beef before searing it.

Little Josh took mum and I for a walk run to work off our delicious meal!

We returned back home, and like any other classic Christmas Day, we sat around the fire and had one of mum's mince pies with a slice of red cheshire. Trust me you have to try a mince pie or Christmas cake with red cheshire, it's delicious and I believe it stems from my mum's Lancashire roots. She informs you also have a chunk red cheshire at the side of apple pie (not crumble) with cream on top! I haven't taken it that far before which now my mum is desperate to rectify!

Merry Christmas hope you all had a great festive break! 


So yesterday Christmas Day was put on hold. There was no opening of presents, no christmas Turkey and no crackers today!!!

I hear your gasps! Why, you may ask? Well my wonderful nephew and niece weren't coming over till the evening and after a discussion with my sister we decided we thought it was important to do whole hog. Do it properly or not all! When Louise and I were kids the favourite part was the morning getting up together and opening presents together. It was very much a ritual!

As this year it is her in-laws turn to get them, we thought we'd just do two days! Why not!? So Boxing Day will be this years festive feast! More about that on the next post.

So today Dad and I released mum from her apron strings to take over the kitchen and cooking for the day. We decided that as we'd be heading on a walk to distract us from what day it was it was a good idea to do a Slow Cooker Chicken Curry. So on our return lunch would be ready.

We headed out after a brekkie of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon
 that set us up for a good two hour walk.

Monty was a little less than enthusiastic about having his photo been taken.
But after some persuasion mum and I managed to change his mind.

I found this tasty Chicken Curry on the Lemon Bowl Blog and it was a perfect recipe that very straight forward. I tweaked the recipe ever so slightly to suit the ingredients that were in my mum's pantry.


  • 500g boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 medium onion – thinly sliced
  • 1 can chickpeas – drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes – peeled and diced
 (I used white sweet potatoes ones but the standard orange ones are good too) 
  • 1 can of coconut milk or a sachet of coconut cream mixed with hot water up too 400ml
  • 200ml chicken stock – low sodium
  • 1 can of Chopped Tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon of Tomato Puree
  • 2 tablespoons Hot Curry Powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder – optional
  • 100g frozen green peas 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Coriander chopped to garnish
  1. In the bottom of the slow cooker, whisk together coconut milk, chicken stock, tomato sauce, curry powder, salt and cayenne.
  2. Add chicken breasts, onion, chickpeas and sweet potatoes. Using tongs, gently toss ingredients together to ensure evenly coated.
  3. Cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.
  4. Stir in peas and lemon juice 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Serve over brown basmati rice and with plenty of fresh coriander.

A perfect comforting meal to come home to after a bracing winter walk.


 The work Christmas meal thIs year took place at Jones and Sons in Dalston. A party of 14, meant we  managed to see every course on the menu.. well nearly. Luke, was also taking full advantage of his new camera, the LUMIX DX1, the upgrade for the camera I tend to use when out and about.

Luke was sitting opposite Ben and I. 

 And in return Adam, Luke and Francesca slightly dazed faces

Some of us went off the Christmas menu and the other went from the main menu. Either way we all decided it only seemed right to start with a few oysters and just a couple of cocktails...

I opted for a Jones Collins - Gin, Lemon Juice, Elderflower & Fizz

Whilst Graeme went for an Old Fashioned - Bourbon, Sugar and Orange Bitters

I opted for the Scallops, Cauliflower puree, Clementine's and Toasted Almonds for starter, which was deliciously zesty and the flavours really complimented each other.

The starter off the Christmas menu was the Crayfish and brown shrimp cocktail. I'm sure it tasted great but felt the presentation wasn't overly imaginative.

The Wild Boar and Hazelnut Terrine with homed piccalilli.
I believe this was good, as it was gone in seconds!

Steak with Oxtail Jus and Potato Gratin

Venison Haunch and Shallots

Roast Turkey and The Trimmings

Duck Breast and Roasted Salsify & Jus

Pan Fried Hake, Puy Lentils, Artichoke Hearts & Béarnaise Sauce

Fish fillet, Razor Clams & Greens
 (this was changed on the menu & can't remember what it was)
Kim said it was delicious 

Pudding after all that food!? Hmm well might as well get into practice for Christmas day. With a fond love of a Terry's Choc orange at this time of year I decided to go for the Choc Orange soufflé with chic orange ice cream. Incredibly rich and it really gave a good cocoa hit but was still floaty light and seemed to slip down remarkably well.

Ben, who is very partial to a fruit pub. Went for the pear tart tartin with Rum and raison ice cream

Apple and Blackberry Crumble and ice cream

I ended the meal with a classic Americano and a not very classic glass of champagne…. oh and then the owner, Andy had a surprise for us!

The the owner, Andy, popped over to our table (the only one left in the restaurant) and told us he wanted to let us into a secret….

Luke, Graeme and the owner of Jones & Sons, presenting us with access to his Grandad’s old liquor cabinet! Reserved especially for sharing a drink with excellent customers, he said… we feel very privileged.

A beautiful and indulgent end to a superb Christmas doo! Thanks Graeme ;)
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