To Be Jolly

Now that Rhi and I are old and living on the opposite side of the world from the family, we have been forced to establish our own festive traditions. I'm not sure if the Christmas Stereo Speaker Tree will catch on or if I will get off my arse and buy a proper specimen next year.

Christmas Stereo Speaker Tree

Rhi came to Scotland bearing gifts with amusing tags. This one was for Gareth.


Here is the Christmas Coffee Table as decorated by Dr G, with casually arranged clementines as per Nigella Lawson's suggestion. She also said one should drape bunches of grapes over the table like a Roman orgy, but grapes are not in season so he substituted a stunted plastic Christmas tree, which really set off the designer plastic measuring jug/gravy boat.

Christmas style

Upon Gareth's treasured set of Australian Animal coasters we set out plates of assorted animals and vegetables. There was enough for ten people but the three of us managed to scoff most of it.

Christmas feast

We allowed a couple of hours to digest while the booze-laden sticky toffee pud glowered away in the oven.

The toffee sauce was slightly traumatic. I hate making toffee sauce; all that bloody stirring and stubborn sugar that refuses to dissolve.

hot toffee

This is the bit where I got impatient and stuck my finger into the saucepan to see if the sugar had dissolved, forgetting that molten sugar has a temperature of approximately eleventeen billion degrees.

seared finger

So I spent the next few hours with my throbbing finger in a glass of ice water while Rhiannon finished the cooking. And it all turned out bloody beautiful. That oven can perform when it wants to!

The Xmas Pud

In 1999, I deep-fried my hand while working in the fish and chip shop in Bathurst. My most-loathed daily task was filtering the oil in the massive fryers. On this occassion a stray chip was clogging the drain, so I poked it with a big metal stick to dislodge it. But my greasy hand slipped and plunged deep down into the gurgling fat, right up to my wrist.

I never thought I would do anything that stupid again, nor would I ever feel worse self-inflicted pain. Yet somehow that tiny fingertip meeting boiling caramel hurt more. I think I lost a fingerprint!

I was soothed by the sympathetic reactions of Rhiannon and Gareth:

RHI:  What the bloody hell did you do that for, you goon?


Le Pud

I am fine now. I'm still in some sort of sugar semi-coma, but that's what you get for having pudding for breakfast.

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21 thoughts on “To Be Jolly

  1. Everything looks and sounds delicious! I hope your finger recovers well…I’ve been down the burnt sugar path myself and it’s not a good one to travel on.

  2. Yum! And.. ow. I always seem to forget that hot things are hot as well. It’s a good way to get out of the cooking though ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. lucky you didnt taste a bit of molten sauce off the spoon….it’s rather hard to speak with a blistered tongue.

  4. The pain I felt after being hit by a car was NOTHING to the pain an hour or so after placing my entire palm on a hotplate.

    Yeah I’m a klutz, but I have nerves too!

  5. My OH’ll sympathise – he recently managed to do something similar to his finger on a hot saucepan handle and then burned the inside of his forearm reaching inside the grill on top of our oven… no, I don’t really know how, either, but it looked pretty painful. Arm-skin is not as thick as hand-skin.

    I haven’t injured myself for ages, but it can only be a matter of time…

  6. Sorry if this is a re-tread of advice you’ve already heard, but have you tried putting an oven thermometer in with your baked goods, and checking it every 10 minutes or so? We had a temperamental oven in our last apartment, that would actually be running at 50 degrees F under the temp we set with the oven control for the first half hour, then would start racheting up the heat incrementally about every 10 minutes. This was infuriating, but at least we could minimize the food damage once we figured out the pattern. We finally got a new oven once the apartment next door had a fire and our cheap-ass landlord let us have the old stove when he renovated. Ahhh, good times.

  7. So…. recipe please? That looks LUSH!

    It reminds me of the amazing sticky toffee pudding recipe on the back of the dried date packets you buy in Australian supermarkets – I forget the brand, but I was up in WA at the time. That totally rocked, and I’d kill for the recipe- but being 10,000 miles away makes it hard to obtain said packet of dates!

  8. scott, i LOVE that picture. genius stuff ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks so much for that link! and merry xmas to you…

    jen – i will type up the recipe for you later, no worries! it’s so easy…

    j – you’re onto a winner there, i will have to look in to buying one ๐Ÿ™‚

    cheers for the comments everyone, i’d reply properly but have to scoot to the dreaded tesco for xmas supplies. stupid online shopping was booked out… aaaaaarghhh

  9. Whenever I scald myself, instead of ice water, I put cooking oil and salt on it. The oil makes the salt stick without dissolving it. Odd, I know, but it works. Leave it for about half an hour. It’ll hurt like a bitch but you won’t get a blister and it’ll stop hurting afterwards.

  10. Umm, bit confused. So, was that just a ‘hooray, Rhi is here’ party or an actual Christmas dinner early?

    Would have asked earlier but had a finger flashback with the sugar (did that in school and had the staggering, not going to faint, but will turn white and have everyone run to me, moment. You are correct with the temperature and the fear of loss of fingerprint), plus the though of deep-fried hand will traumatise me for a long, long time.

    Completely off topic: did you not say once that you love mangoes? How the hell do you get ones that are NOT full of mad fibres? How can you get a smoothie if the damn mango has made it a ‘hairy’??

    Right, merry everything to you and all yours!

  11. Helloooo Donalda, fellow burner of finger! Merriment to you and yours too!

    Rhiannon was up last weekend for a pre-Xmas thingy, it worked out better with train fares and jobs to get together the week before. So the three of us had a nice wee gathering.

    Then yesterday on Xmas Proper, Gareth and I went over to his folks for dinner. I still feel stuffed 24 hours later…

    As for mangoes, I’ve no experience of buying one in Britain coz they’re too bloody expensive and the guilt of all those air miles is too much. Hehe. I have no idea how you get ones with0ut the mad fibres. From what I remember of the ones back home they were pretty smooth but a little bit of fibres around the seed. I can’t believe I’m forgetting what they’re like… waaaaaaahhhh

  12. Any chance I could get the recipe? That looks quite delicious. I’ve never had sticky toffee pudding (it’s not commonly available where I live), but I’ve always wanted to. Thank you.

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