Christmas with Big Bird

Posted in Food and Drink, London on December 26th, 2007 by Coffee

Well thanks to Rach we received an extra big bird to have for Christmas dinner…… yep, for just the 2 of us she was a big one, weighing in at 7.9kg (well probably 7kg by the time you take the giblets etc out)! We wondered if she was going to fit on our oven trays – but thankfully we found one that she managed to full up! (by the way I can’t believe I am sitting here writing about a bloody turkey).

Now we just had to stuff and cook it……….

Thankfully Jamie Oliver was on tv the night before, so we picked up a few good cooking tips, for not only stuffing but learning different ways to test to see if the bird is cooked right through. Now onto the prep, a bit of sage and lemon zest butter under the skin and some stuffing (our best yet), into the neck and a little inside the bird (enough so it can still breathe apparently – even though it’s dead…). Now into the pipping hot oven for about 3 hours.


And here she is………… all crispy! And let it stand while the vege roasts away. We also managed to make some of our best gravy yet too.


And here she is the completed meal for just the 2 of us….. (a lot of food there and yes there is a lot left over). We were ashamed of how much of Mrs bird had to be thrown away – even after we’d filled up the fridge with bits of it – there was just no way we could’ve used all of it! We’ll already be eating turkey sandwiches for breakie, lunch and tea for the next week……


All in all the best Christmas meal we have cooked together…. now we just have to try and repeat it sometime and share it with others.

Finally! The turn is nigh…

Posted in Uncategorized on December 20th, 2007 by Coffee

For about a month every year around this time I keep a close eye on the BBC weather waiting for evidence that the shortest day is finally coming.  And today was the first day I’ve seen that evidence! (Yes, I do know that it’s about the 20th of December every year here, but I just need to see some proof, in case the universe is suddenly going horribly wrong or something.)

YIPPEE!  Won’t really help with the cold, I suspect, but at least it’s the start of the trip to being able to see the sun for a decent amount of time again!


Off to see Crowded House, the sherriff, some owls, and some strange dancing folk…

Posted in Travel on December 14th, 2007 by Coffee

Once again, a late report. These are getting pretty frequent! We’ll try to keep more up to date next year. Maybe. But to make up for it, some of the small pics below are clicky for a change, in case you want a better view of them.

Anyway, a couple of weekends ago we hired a car and went to see some of the country. Well, we had a few ulterior motives like dropping off a few boxes of stuff destined in the future for NZ at friends a couple of hours north who are happy to store it for us (hence the need for the car). And the fact we had tickets for Crowded House in the Nottingham Arena on the Saturday night.

Luckily we were both able to take the Friday afternoon off, so we managed to pretty much avoid the Friday night motorway exodus from London, and the trip up was pretty smooth. And boring. Like really boring! Long boring stretches of double lane roads, with a long boring motorway stretch in the middle. Nothing much to see really. But then that all changed when we got near the destination, where the roads changed to skinny, no centre-line, dark (the sun had set by now), windy (and windy), poorly signposted (in the dark, at least) little lanes. So I guess it balanced out.

And we made it.

Despite Bec not realising that when she printed off the instructions on how to get there the right hand edge of the text was not on the printout. DOH! “turn …(missing) … at the restaurant”… “Turn into the road called B…(missing) “. You get the picture.

But amazingly we got there, with only one missed turn that we spotted at the time. Complete fluke!

Zapping over the nice dinner, conversation, sleep, yummy breakfast to the afternoon the next day… A mission to find a kitchenware shop that Bec had tracked down to a town a few miles away which was sort of but not really on the way to Nottingham, where we needed to be for the night. Ok. No kitchen shop there at all that any of the locals had heard of. Or we could find. We finally worked out that the “shop” must have actually been the distribution centre for this range, not a retail outlet.

But at least we had a nice scone in the tearooms there.

And on to Nottingham.

Dumped our stuff at the hotel and out for a few pre-concert drink and some dinner. Found a student Gothic bar after a bit of a wander that suited us just fine. Good fun sitting under a huge iron pendulum munching on a pretty reasonable tea. And finding the toilet door in a wall that looked like a bookcase.

Then on to the concert….


A superb show. As always. Crowded House always look like they’re having such fun playing, which always makes for a good gig. All the classics were heard, along with some of the newer stuff that we’d heard earlier at Hyde park, so starting to get to know. Still haven’t bought the album, but that wont’ be far off, I think.

So, as I said, a really good show, and a bit of a taste of home in the UK.


Back to the hotel. Sleep, breakfast, a bit of shopping followed. The boring stuff. Then back to our friends to pick up our car and head back to London. But a bit of a treat on the way back at one of the villages close to them. A village fair! Well, the end of one. There were two highlights there. A fairly odd dancing troop, obviously exercising a tradition, or old charter, or something…


And a trailer full of owls of all shapes and sizes. We didn’t pay to have one on our wrist though (or to take the photos…). Cool though.


And the back to collect the car and drive back to London again. Would have been a better drive if the torrential rain had stayed away, but motorway driving when you can’t see the lane markers, or the cars in front is always fun. Luckily only about half an hour of that. And we even managed to find our way back to drop off the car pretty easily in the end. Whew!

It’s always nice to get out and about for a bit. A good weekend all round.