Thursday, December 25, 2014

Seasonal Musings.

For a brief moment I had visions of baked beans on toast for Christmas day. The turkey that we should have picked up on Monday was not ready, Tuesday evening was an alternative offered to us but that would have meant traveling to a strange place in the dark and leaving our own stock un-locked up until our return. John, the farmer then said Christmas eve would be fine during the day and to meet him at mid-day in the square by the church in his nearest town. What he failed to say was that this town, the second largest in Co. Galway has not one but three churches. It didn't turn out to be a problem thanks to Tom-tom, our satnav. Clearly this inanimate object was more familiar with the town than we were and got us through all the one way systems and chaotic traffic until we spotted a market in a square, by a church. It was then just a matter of finding a nearby place to park and a quick phone call to say where we were.
 He arrive a few minutes later with a selection of turkeys to chose from, they all looked good, firm and plump, we made our selection and then started talking.
 I had notice on the IOFGA web site that John also produced oats and we would have been interested in buying from him when we next have pigs however all his oats go to Flahavans, a very well known Irish company that produce different oat products. Flahavans has been milling since 1785 and is the oldest family run food company in Ireland. It's amazing how meeting a grower can change your whole perspective about a company. We have never bought Flahavans Organic oats, I remember when they first appeared on the market but rather discarded the notion of buying them thinking that this was probably just another company jumping on the Organic market band wagon. Now we have met John and found out about the company we will certainly be trying their porridge oats when we run out. He has also told us about a place where we can buy ready milled organic wheat barley and peas mix at a fraction of the price that we paid for the Organic pig nuts, in fact it is cheaper than conventional pig nuts. We will certainly be following this up when the time comes. It's always nice to chat to genuine Organic people, it made our Christmas. The drive was lovely, unchartered ground for us, through windy Irish country lanes, a very bright and warm  day, with virtually no traffic.
The bird is now cooking away, stuffed with herbs from the garden and homemade sausage meat, it's beginning to smell like Christmas. The veg are all picked or dug and ready for cooking, the pudding is slowly steaming away. We might not 'do' Christmas but we both like turkey and for us it's a novelty to eat something we have not known personally, we also like Brussels sprouts, Christmas pudding, brandy butter,  sherry trifle, hic.
The main preparations for tomorrows meal are done, we have friends coming for the meal, I love cooking for other people. The ensaladilla , a Spanish potato salad with a difference, always one of our favourites when we lived there just needs finishing tomorrow, the custard for the very alcoholic sherry trifle will be done tomorrow, like wise the fresh horseradish sauce.
Fresh horseradish, already shooting.
Simon was amazed to find that the horseradish is already shooting, it's been so mild, he has now covered the top of the plants, frost would probably not be good for them. He has also had to cover the rhubarb, that also thinks it's spring, normally we would not be covering the rhubarb until the end of January, will we be eating rhubarb in February next year instead of March, we will see. The next entertaining is next Sunday, a vegetarian meal this time, but time enough to start preparing for that on Saturday.
A small concession.
Eventually I conceded to a Christmas decoration, just for the dining room table, that's enough I think, even the ancient Egyptians would decorate their homes for the midwinter festival with fronds of greenery,  so we are merely upholding a four thousand year tradition.
Hope you are all having a lovely relaxing day .

13 comments:

  1. Now that is some bird. I be thinking that you might be eating a few turkey dishes this week. As always your floral arrangement is beautiful and very fitting for the occasion.
    Many blessings to you and Simon.

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    1. Thanks Lynda, I've always enjoyed doing flower arrangements even did my own bouquet when Simon and I got married. The turkey is superb, even one of our guests from yesterday who professes not to like turkey said it was wonderful, so glad you are back blogging I was about to contact rabidhippy to find out if all was well with you.

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  2. Sláinte a thabhairt duit araon!
    So pleased that you got your turkey. Am thinking about raising a couple next year, but not kept them before. Any advice.
    It is always exciting to make new contacts and meet like minded people. The many tips that I have picked up at the farmers markets and in blogland have been invaluable, both for knowledge and our pocket.
    Have a wonderful time with your friends. The decoration is just right.

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    1. Farmers markets are a wonderful place to meet people and pick up tips, ours does not re-open until the 10th, I missed our visit today. I will cover our experience of turkeys in my next post.

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  3. We have regularly had Flahavan's organic porridge here. I can recommend it. Jealous of your horse-radish, though. In Kent it grew by the side of one of the lanes where I'd walk the dogs and you'd see the local Travelers digging it up. I sneaked back and dug some myself which I grew in my allotment. It did very well - big vigorous plants. I gave up the plot (and moved here) though before we got a chance to eat any.

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  4. I am with Irene, too, on picking your brains on turkeys. Might just be our new species for 2015. Got a book as a gift with a pic or two in it and set me thinking!

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    1. Not a good idea Matt, turkeys and chicken should not mix due to blackhead disease.

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  5. I like the sound of the Spanish potato salad, any chance of putting the recipe on here? Glad you had a good day x

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    1. Will put it in the next blog Chickpea, looking forward to making your lentil bake, Simon is particularly looking forward to it, he had been a vegetarian for eighteen years until I lead him astray.

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  6. Love your floral arrangement. Please post some of your Spanish food recipes Anne!

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    1. Will do Dave, starting with the ensaladilla.

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  7. Sounds like a productive day! The Turkey looks impressive and the Christmas floral arrangement is so lovely.

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    1. The turkey was great, the rib of beef was exceptional, the horseradish was mind blowing. Glad you enjoyed your swim in the Pacific on Christmas day, that was different!. Maybe you should have saved your hang gliding trip for Xmas day.

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