December has been a busy month. I have already blogged about Christmas and have not even filled you in on December properly! Firstly and most importantly…Malcolm’s folks arrived on the 14 December. They had a very long and exhausting trip from JHB as the stop over in Madrid was a whole day. Malcolm collected them from the Dublin airport at around 18h00, after thinking that he would be late due to horrendous Dublin traffic, and he left work at 16h00!!!
I spent the day cleaning and pawing through recipe books and racking my brain as the best celebratory meal for their first night in Dublin. I was going to go for Nigellas curries in her Feast book, she has a wonderful recipe for Mughlai chicken and Lamb Maharaja plus a fantastic rice dish which I have done on numerous occasions but then I went for good old “spag boll” (or as my friend used to say…spaghetti blow your nose…) because I figured that the folks would be too exhausted to enjoy such a time consuming culinary delight, and my spice cupboard is sadly lacking as I could not bring my spice collection with me from S.A. I also BOUGHT an apple pie, well it is a fantastic one full of apples and I had also been running around changing linen and giving the house a good scrub so that I could relax for a few days when the folks arrived, so another reason not to do the aforementioned curries!
On Saturday I invited Cathy (my father-in-law’s sister) for lunch and I made a chicken corn chowder with different breads. I made a chocolate banana loaf for tea courtesy of Bill Granger which I semi massacred by cutting while it was still too hot, oops. Still tasted good though so all was not lost! It was great to see Cathy and I also felt bad because it is the first time we have seen her in Dublin and she lives 15 minutes away!!! In my defence she has been careening around the world a LOT.
Sunday and we had Derrick and Rose around for brunch, they were flying to New York on Monday and wanted to see the folks before they left. Derrick and Malcolm have been friends since they were 5 so lots of history there! I did a full breakfast sans the black and/or white puddings, sorry I have tried them and it is not going to be a repeat performance, it is not vile but also not worth an encore, but hey each to their own, LOTS of people love it.
On Monday Malcolm took the day off work so that he could fetch his aunt and uncle from Heuston station. They were coming in from Cork and Lilias (Malcolm’s moms cousin) was flying in from Scotland so the folks had gone to collect her from the airport.
I was doing a bit of cleaning up and idly going through my recipe books for inspiration when it suddenly dawned on me that as the flight and train arrived at noon lunch would be required. Luckily I had a few frozen pizzas in the freezer and earlier in the day I had bought a really nice loaf of tomato and fennel bread from a little food shop I like. I made a salad and it turned out to be a really nice lunch.
It was great having everyone around and I enjoyed all the conversations going on around the table, when the Rules get together you are never going to have only 1 person talking at a time! Later the guys went to the local for a drink and I finished off the chicken a la king for dinner. I also made a blueberry and apple shortcake, thanks Bill, although the pastry required a lot more flour than the book stated but never mind, it was delicious. We all sat around chatting until after midnight and then everyone crawled off to bed exhausted. On Tuesday Ibb and Tom set of into Dublin as they only had one day before they were going back to Cork and wanted to see the Book of Kells and do the hop on hop off bus. The folks stayed home and chatted to Lilias, she was flying back to Scotland at 15h00 so we went to a little local place for lunch. Unfortunately there were no tables inside so we ended up braving the weather and had a fab cappuccino al fresco. Then I walked home and the airport entourage headed off in the car for Dublin. Another meal to prepare, Cathy was coming back for a second round to see Ibb and Tom (aunt and uncle) Tom ALSO happens to be Cathy brother, confused?
I made chilli con carne and there was enough left over chicken a la king to provide a selection for everyone, impressive! Kirstin had been dispatched to the local shop for chocolate mousse ingredients, her dessert of choice and came back with 1 slab of 70% and 1 with 85% cocoa, I had a horrible feeling that it would be way too bitter but took a chance and made it anyway. Luckily everyone likes dark chocolate, or are very polite and the mousse all got eaten.
Wednesday was our wedding anniversary and the girls got up really early and made us pancakes with jam and cream for breakfast. They even cleaned up all the mess afterwards and made their own school lunches so that I wouldn’t have to, we are lucky, lucky parents! Then they presented us with a beautiful photo box and they had colour photo copied one of our wedding pictures and slipped it into the space in the lid for the photo. The cherry on top was the fact that the box contained a selection of Butlers chocolates, and 2 of each filling so no need for M and I to fight over the choccies!
Malcolms aunt and uncle and the folks were heading off to Cork in Malcolm’s car for a few day so I decided that a good breakfast was called for and got the egg and bacon out and fried it all up before they went on their merry way. Wow, the house was quiet. I would like to say that I spent the day madly cleaning but instead have to confess to plonking down in front of the TV with series 2 of Friends. Mmmmm.
Being the OLD married couple that we are I vetoed going out in favour of staying in, warming up the left overs and watching TV with the kids. They of course were horrified at my practical ways but I assure you that we will have our dinner, when things have calmed down and Christmas is well and truly over. At this time of year all the restaurants are jammers with office parties and the like and apparently the quality of food and service is not worth the effort of a nice dinner out. Anyway, it was great to have a quiet evening at home after all the visitors but also nice to know that the folks would be back on Friday or Saturday.