Tag Archives: Christmas

Songs on Saturday ~ December 1st

At Christmas, love the giver more than the gift.

The First of December is the beginning of my personal Christmas Season ~ others may begin their own Christmas earlier, or if they follow older traditions will not begin to celebrate Yule until December 21st.  The end of Yuletide is January 1st, and here in England the traditional end of Christmas is 12th Night, which falls on January 5th.

Anyone with the spirit of Christmas / Yule in their heart will have their own seasonal traditions, one of mine is that my Christmas playlist comes into force today ~ my computerised music system really only plays festive songs between now and 12th night.

This is one of my favourite festive tunes ~ it reminds me that not everyone looks forward to Christmas.

Please listen with joy and compassion in your heart.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

snow in the high desert,

New Mexico

 

Christmas Is Cancelled

He who has not Christmas in his heart will not find it under a tree.

To be more honest, my Christmas plans have been cancelled by my tour company.

I had arranged to fly out to the Algarve in Portugal on December 19th, to spend Christmas in the sun with a group of other like-minded solo travellers.  It should have been fun.

Sadly my tour company has just emailed me to say that ‘they have decided not to proceed with this group departure’.  Their reason…..  the minimum number of guests has not been achieved .

Disappointed?  You bet I am.

They have offered me 7 alternative Christmas Holidays, all of which are more expensive, and none of them to places I want to spend Christmas ~ such as Agadir in Morocco.  And, they will send me a refund for the $1300 or so I have already paid for my trip to Portugal.

So, unless I want to spend Christmas alone in my apartment again, I need to find somewhere to go at short notice.

Ah well, the spirit of Christmas still lives in my heart.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

there’s always somewhere with someone

Food on Friday ~ Christmas Extras

Christmas!!!!

For some it’s heir favourite time of the year ~ others aren’t always so fortunate, so we’ll try hard to make this a happy Christmas for the whole world.

Anyway, back to food for this Christmas.  I’ve no doubt that you’ve got all the main stuff organised ~ the Christmas Dinner I mean.  But what about all those snacks, and breakfasts, and afternoon teas that you’re going to want to provide over this festive season?

What about all those extras?  Well, this Food on Friday might just give you some good ideas.

First this week we have this really cool snowflake pull-apart monkey bread from Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest.  Loaded with butterscotch and cinnamon ~ what a great breakfast, or something extra sweet to have with your afternoon tea!

Snowflake Pull-Apart Monkey Bread

From No Plate Like Home, how about this eggnog quick bread with rum infused glaze?  What a great idea for afternoon tea, or for something to have at parties.  You know what?  I’ll bet this will go down a treat.

Eggnog Quick Bread with Rum Infused Glaze

Next from the archives of Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français we have this Christmas tarted up treacle tart with ginger and pecans.  Jeez!  This looks so rich and tasty~ I love treacle tart!

Tarted Up Treacle Tart with Ginger and Pecans

Now for something that’s a cross between sweet and savory ~ from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes we have honey hazelnut baked brie.  I really like baked brie, and this recipe looks fabulous with a sweet and sour honey sauce.

Honey Hazelnut Baked Brie

Here’s something sweet and irresistible from Averie Cooks; melt in your mouth toffee.  Averie says it’s perfect for cookie exchanges, or as a hostess gift, or for parties.  This toffee looks good to me.

Melt In Your Mouth Toffee

Well, something no drinks party should be without is a brilliant cheese board.  So Chungah at Damn Delicious offers us some tips on how to create the perfect holiday cheese board.  Looks damn delicious to me.

The Perfect Holiday Cheese Board

And, talking about drinks, Country Living has this brilliant collection of drinks recipes; 30 Christmas cocktails for a holly jolly holiday season.  Among the recipes is this cool white Christmas mojito from Half Baked Harvest.

White Christmas Mojito

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Have a very Happy Christmas

 

 

 

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Dreambook

Feeling a greater sense of meaning and purpose in Life.

An American friend has sent me a most wonderful and thoughtful Christmas gift ~ which I have already opened!

It’s a book; Rituals for Living, Dreambook and Planner.  When I say it’s a book it’s kind of a journal, and diary, and project planner.  The project in this case being My Life.

Stop playing small and start seeing yourself as the magical creator that you are.  You can create anything you want.  We want to help ensure that what you’re creating reflects your highest potential and most authentic self.  ~  thedragontree

It’s about connecting with what’s really important to me; identifying my core values, gifts, and life purpose.

It’s also about developing habits and rituals to help me to realise my dreams.

At heart I am an engineer, I like planning, I need to make plans before starting any new enterprise or project. Well, this is a new project, it’s the rest of my life.  A big project that deserves some big plans.

We firmly believe that if you set out to achieve your goals while remaining steadfast on the necessity of playing, caring for yourself, connecting to family, friends, a higher power, and the natural world ~ you actually amplify your ability to succeed.  ~  thedragontree

I firmly believe that this book, the gift my American friend has sent to me, will help me achieve my fullest potential and realise my dreams.

In part it’s about self-awareness and self-actualisation, and in part it’s about developing habits and rituals which will lead towards the fullest and most congruent realisation of my desires, dreams, and goals.

You know what?  This is a wonderful gift, and I know it was sent to me with love.

One of the benefits of writing this blog is that I can publicly thank my friend for this wonderful Christmas gift.  Oh, and the kind friend concerned also has a blog.  https://therobynbirdsnest.com

There are a couple of websites which sort of go along with this life planner;

http://www.thedragontree.com   and  dreambook.vision

 

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

 

 

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10% discount on everything on saline valley if you quote code C7SYDV6B

Marmaduke home alone

Marmaduke has seen me looking at the internet ~ making plans for this year’s Christmas and New Year Holidays.

As I’m not taking him to Barcelona next week he’s worried that I won’t be taking him along this Christmas, so he’s been making his own Christmas plans.

Where ever Marmaduke is thinking of going for his Christmas Dinner, I’m thinking of a Christmas Caribbean cruise~ providing I can find the right girl to take along.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Food on Friday # 55

Occasional Dishes for Christmas.

At this time of year, when we’re busy with shopping for gifts, food shopping, visiting family and friends, it’s easy just to eat snacks on the run.  It’s also very easy to get very bored with turkey.  Here are some fairly simple dishes you can cook to make your pre and post Christmas evenings, lunchtimes, and mornings a little more interesting.

Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked harvest has given us this pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin, looks delicious, and I will be definitely making this dish for dinner on Christmas Eve.  There is some real comfort food here to take away the stresses of Yuletide.

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Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

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Chungah at Damn delicious offers us sheet pan steak and veggies.  You can’t find an easier meal than this and it looks damn delicious too.

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Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

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The lovely Averie at Averie cooks has this dead simple dish of curry coconut sweet potato fries with cucumber dill dip.  Great to snack on or as a side dish with steak or pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin.

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Curry Coconut Oil Sweet Potato Fries with Cucumber Dill Dip

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Something a little different from Cooking Without Limits; nests of meat stuffed wine vines rolls for Christmas.  I’ve had these in Greece, and I can tell you they are a fabulous dish.

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Nests of Meat Stuffed Wine Vines

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If you have a house full of guests over Christmas, just what can you make at breakfast time that doesn’t involve loads of pans and mess.  Well, thanks to Elise Baur at Simply Recipes and Sheryl Julian, you can make this ham and cheese breakfast casserole, and it will satisfy the hungriest house guest.

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Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

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I really like lamb, and although I don’t cook it often, I will be roasting a leg of lamb for this coming New Year’s Eve.  So this recipe for slow roast lamb with ancho chilli and garlic marinade from Australian Cooking Up The Pantry is very apposite today.  But beware, this dish will take around 6 hours in the oven.

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Finally for this week, and with thanks to the very uncool Readers Digest we have this cool collection of 20+ perfect Christmas appetisers, including these onion and brie tartlets.

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Onion Brie Appetisers

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new-yorka great big thank you to all the cooks featured this Christmas, and throughout 2016

have a very Merry Christmas

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Marmaduke makes a Christmas present

Christmas Carpenter Bear

My little teddy bear likes to do a bit of woodwork.  And, like me, he’d rather make a Christmas present than buy one.  There’s more love and care in something one has made, as opposed to something you’ve bought at the store.

So he’s been making me a coffee table for Christmas.  Marmaduke may have an ulterior motive in making this little table ~ it’s just the right size for him to have a clandestine teddy bears’ picnic.

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christmas-cardsMerry Christmas Marmaduke

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Food on Friday # 54 Party Drinks

Christmas Party Booze

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

Some people like parties, and some people like drinking.  For people who like a lot of both, here are some drinks that should probably go down well at Christmas Parties.  Good Grief!

Remember, anyone can make a really strong cocktail that will get people very drunk very fast ~ but how good a party does that make?  So here are some more tastefully interesting drinks.

First up this week is a great looking cocktail I found on Jessica Merchant’s site how sweet it is we have this great recipe for rose champagne mojitos.  I would serve these to my discerning guests.

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Rose Champagne Mojitos

For a different take on the mojito, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest gives us this brilliant looking White Christmas Mojito.

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White Christmas Mojito

If your guests arrive cold and shivery, Tieghan also had a smashing recipe for hot maple apple cider in Food on Friday # 48, which was about apples.

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Maple Apple Cider

Here’s something for a Californian Christmas.  Recovering pastry chef, the bojon gourmet has these rosemary, pomegranate and grilled meyer lemon vodka sparklers.  Don’t try saying all that after drinking five or six of those things.

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Rosemary Pomegranate and Grilled Meyer Lemon Vodka Sparklers

From Chungah at Damn Delicious there’s a simple and easy strawberry pineapple mimosa, although in England we call champagne and orange juice Buck’s Fizz, and we make it a lot stronger.  Add a splash of brandy to that and you’ve got yourself a fresh juice Barbotage.  Consume that Barbotage very carefully.

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Strawberry Pinapple Mimosa

This recipe for holiday rum punch, by Tracy Shutterbean, (aka Tracy Benjamin), is straight from the San Francisco bay area.  I’ve drunk rum punch in San Francisco, and I know that if you’re not careful this punch could get you very drunk.  Nice.

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Holiday Rum Punch

At some time during your own party, you may want to retire to a quiet corner, perhaps with a special friend, and enjoy a glass of the water of life.  If you don’t know about whisky, here’s a post from Todd and Diane in LA, the White On Rice Couple, telling you all about the different types of whisk(e)y.  Back in the day I drank Laphroaig ~ too strong and too sophisticated for most ordinary men.

laphroaig-18-year

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If all that wasn’t enough, from Country Living magazine here are 28 Christmas cocktails that will make you forget all about the presents.  These are are pretty easy, including this winter wonderland cocktail, originally from Nicole at the Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie.

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Winter Wonderland Cocktail

How about some appetisers to go with all this booze?  Heather Christo has the ultimate vegan appetizer platter, Damn Delicious has cheesy garlic bread, and easy firecracker shrimp, Cooking up the Pantry has cheese and mustard puffs,  Half Baked Harvest has a cheese fondue boardor you can check out Food on Friday # 25 ~ Bar Snacks.

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Easy Firecracker Shrimp

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WAF Landscape Christmas Cards.qxdjust don’t be a crass American and serve beers in the bottle, give your guests a glass.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Marmaduke’s Christmas Bird House

Marmaduke the Teddy Bear Carpenter

He’s very skilled for a little teddy bear, and Marmaduke also loves nature, so he’s been making a rustic bird house to keep the little robin redbreasts safe over the cold winter.  And, like a good little bear, he’s finished the work well in time for Christmas.

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The snag was, when he’d finished the thing, he wanted to keep it for himself, and moved in with all his possessions, even his marmalade.

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Eventually he realised that the little birds needed it more than he does, so now it’s gone.  Marmaduke loves robyns especially.

All cool guys should be able to do a little woodwork, it’s an urban survival skill.

WAF Landscape Christmas Cards.qxdjack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Woodwork at Advent

There is something very therapeutic about working with wood.

Marmaduke and I made a stool as a Christmas gift for a close friend.  A cool guy should be able to do some carpentry.

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By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.  ~  Desiderius Erasmus

I seem to have really caught the carpentry bug again.  So, what’s next?  Build a boat in the basement?

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p1050279no little teddy bears were hurt during the making of this little cracket

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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